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Types of Wireless Attacks

Submitted by on June 13, 2010 – 10:58 PM

Standard wireless communication occurs when the end user and the wireless access point are able to communication on a point-to-point basis without interruptions. There are many attack variations in existence against wireless networks that breaks the standard communication format. These attacks includes the denial of service attacks, the man in the middle attacks and the WEP key-cracking attack to name a few and are described below.

Denial of Service (DoS) attacks
The objective of a Denial of Service (DoS) attack is to prevent authorized users access to legitimate network resources by denying them service. A DoS occurs when the malicious attacker sends an abundant of garbage data to the wireless access point choking all other communications to legitimate users.

Man-in-the-middle attacks
A man-in-the-middle attack consists of a malicious user (hacker) inserting themselves into the data path between the client and the AP. In such a position, the malicious attacker can delete, add, or modify data. The man-in-the middle attack also enables the malicious attacker access to sensitive information about legitimate users such as username and passwords, credit card numbers and social security.

War driving
Wardriving is the mapping of wireless access points (WAP) by driving or walking through populated areas carrying wireless equipment such as a laptop or a PDA to detect active wireless access points. The tools used for this are available freely off the Internet in the form of Netstumbler and Ministumbler (http://www.netstumbler.com/). Once the malicious attacker located vulnerable wireless access points, they are able to mount attacks to other locations under the cover the compromised network.

Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP)
The Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) authentication consists of each frame being encrypted as it is transmitted to the wireless access point. WEP possess many deficiencies such as the ability to be compromised within a short period of time. Hackers can fairly easily decode WEP-encrypted information after monitoring an active network for less than one day. An application such as WEPCrack (wepcrack.sourceforge.net/) is a freely available tool often used to implement such an attack.

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