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I have heard a lot of people mention that wireless networks are far more vulnerable to ARP poisoning attacks. Why would this be so? Why could you not employ similar protections as for a switched network on an AP?

Are there any other attacks layer 2 specific to wireless networks?

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3 Answers 3

My understanding has always been that, once you're on the network, ARP-cache poisoning is equally easy on either kind of network. But to get onto a wireline network, you have to get to the switch and connect to it; to get on a wireless network, you need only be within range of the AP (for unencrypted networks), and quickly crack the key (for WEP-secured networks). The opportunity for attack is much greater on (under-encrypted) wireless than on wireline.

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I thought it was more than just the physical ease of being able to join the network. On a switched network you can actually configure the switch to be resistant to ARP singing...why can't you do this for a wireless AP? – user47587 Nov 13 '10 at 8:22
Well for a start, a wireless AP is more akin to a hub than a switch. – RobM Nov 13 '10 at 8:47
@Jacob Robert is completely right, it's harder to make non-bridged networked ARP-poisoning resistant since peers see traffic at the same time as the gateway/AP. In switched networks all traffic has to pass through the switch first so you have a chance of preventing evil. – sysadmin1138 Nov 13 '10 at 16:55

Basically a Replay Attack can be used..

1.) Capture other peoples packets..

2.) Edit them..

3.) Send them to the wireless AP

4.) Ignore the response ...

Effectively confusing the router to where packet originated..
Its very simple to do even on secured WLANs.. and as mentioned, much easier to get access too as you dont need "physical access"

Hope this makes things much clearer

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arp attacks work very well on boardcast media like wireless and old hub ethernet networks. with switched networks the attackes do not work as well because the switch learns arp and smart switches can mitigate these attackes.

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