• Jonah White

Types of Wi-Fi attacks

Either starting up an evil twin or brute-forcing the login page of a Wireless network, wi-fi is commonly the first thing hackers will attack because of the low bar set for attacking wi-fi networks. Here’s a showcase of different ways attackers get into Non/Public wi-fi.


Evil Twin

This attack is made by means of setting up a network mirroring the same network that someone would connect to, using features like:

· SSID

· Type of wi-fi security

· MAC address of the original wi-fi their impersonating

Even going so far to use the same password as the public wi-fi may use, and yes, it’s still public wi-fi if they’re handing out the password at a coffee shop or user id and password at the college.


Physical access

I’m just mentioning this for grins but if a user has physical access to the wi-fi network, they could place a device or reset it making it default but not alerting the router or firewall management. Unless you have a dedicated insider doing the job, these attacks are less common. Try changing the location of the AP or router in the office or somewhere on the ceiling.


War Driving

If you ever want to see if your wi-fi has been mapped online, there’s a great site called wigle.net.

This site allows people to look up where free wi-fi is located. This is nothing to be afraid of except to occasionally change your wi-fi SSID. That’ll confuse them, but passwords, type of security, and not broadcasting can help.








War Shipping

This is more efficient than War Driving where you must constantly be in the range of the wi-fi you’re attacking. War Shipping adds the ability to strike a wi-fi you’re not in range of remotely. This is sophisticated, but it’s placing a small device with the capability of wi-fi and cellular. Things like these are interesting and I believe only a really determined hacker would attempt to do, but still keep an eye out for items that weren’t there before or something’s heavier than usual.


Mac spoofing

Hackers could change their mac address to a device that’s connected to the network their targeting. It tells the wi-fi network to allow them to connect to the network without typing in your hotel room number and last name.

I did however forget to mention that Mac filtering can thwart this for Private or Business wi-fi networks, but this doesn’t work for public networks.


IV attacks

There are also attacks like IV attacks or Initialization Vector attacks. It causes some modifications in the initialization vector of a wireless packet that is encrypted during transmission. If one packet is captured by the attacker and it’s unencrypted, the attacker can then generate another encryption key to decrypt the other packets they didn’t catch. These packets turn into a table for the attacker, used to decrypt anything on the wi-fi network.



There are many ways to attack wi-fi; how can we defend against these attacks? Well, the same steps for home wi-fi you can take to defend your public network are minimal. This is the trade-off with Public wi-fi, I believe it should exist, but everyone should be wearing their floaties when it comes to swimming in the giant sea of everyone else’s data. Take precautions when joining public wi-fi. Even if it’s just checking Twitter, do you know all the time what you’re transmitting across the network? Then don’t risk it.

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