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Free tool automates phishing attacks for Wi-Fi passwords

Lucian Constantin | Jan. 6, 2015
A new open-source tool can be used to launch phishing attacks against users of wireless networks in order to steal their Wi-Fi access keys.

A new open-source tool can be used to launch phishing attacks against users of wireless networks in order to steal their Wi-Fi access keys.

Gaining access to a WPA-protected Wi-Fi network can be extremely valuable for attackers because it puts them behind the firewall, in what is generally a high-trust zone. This allows them to mount man-in-the-middle attacks against the network's users to steal sensitive data and authentication cookies from unencrypted traffic.

A common method of breaking into wireless networks that use the WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access II) security protocol is to set up a rogue access point that mimics the real one — this is known as an evil twin — and capture a client's handshake when they attempt to authenticate to it. The handshake can then be fed to a brute-force cracking program or service to recover the WPA2 pre-shared key, but this is not always successful, especially if the password is long and complex.

Wifiphisher, a new tool created by an IT security engineer identified as George Chatzisofroniou and published on GitHub, takes a different approach — one that historically has had a high rate of success: social engineering.

"Wifiphisher is a security tool that mounts fast automated phishing attacks against WPA networks in order to obtain the secret passphrase," Chatzisofroniou said in the tool's description. "It is a social engineering attack that unlike other methods it does not include any brute forcing."

Like many other freely available security tools, Wifiphisher can be used by both security professionals — for example during penetration testing engagements — and by malicious attackers. The tool does not exploit any new vulnerabilities; it combines known methods to automate a Wi-Fi attack.

The attack launched with the tool, which was designed to work on Kali Linux — a Linux distribution for security enthusiasts and penetration testers — has three phases.

First the tool jams the traffic between the target access point and its clients by flooding both the AP and clients with de-authentication packets. It then sets up a rogue AP that mimics the real one.

"Consequently, because of the jamming, clients will start connecting to the rogue access point," Chatzisofroniou said.

In the third phase, when a user connected to the rogue access point tries to open a website, the AP will display a phishing page instead asking the user for their wireless password.

The default phishing page provided by the tool masquerades as a router configuration page that claims a firmware upgrade is available for the device and that the WPA password is required to initiate the update process.

The page can easily be customized for a particular attack. In many cases it is possible to find out a wireless router's model without being connected to the Wi-Fi network by using various device fingerprinting techniques. That information can be included on the page to increase its credibility.

 

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