WiFi phishing attack

WiFi phishing attack – You can be the next target?

Wifi phishing attack is the next level attack even though the wifi in modern days are secured with wifi Protected Access II (WPA2) a security protocol which has a strong cryptographic hash function to protect the pre-shared key (PSK).

During a penetration testing it is quite a tough task to break into WPA-2 network. A modern GPU that is able to calculate an average of 80,000 hashes per second will require maximum 30 days to crack an 8 character PSK. This kind of situation WiFI phishing attack comes in handy.


WiFi Phishing can be conducted in two simple steps

  • The first step involves the process of associating with Wi-Fi clients unknowingly
  • The second step involves presenting to the victim user a familiar authentication interface.


Making the authentication interface look legitimate will greatly increase the success rate of the attack.

In this respect, the interface should be generated on the basis of something that is appropriate for a certain user (e.g. an interface that is similar to the one used by the legitimate Access Point (AP)). This, of course, involves gathering information from the target environment and victim user.


Even with no knowledge of the technologies or services used by the user, it is possible to collect the required information from:


Beacon frame (physical layer): One of the management frames in IEEE 802.11 that is transmitted periodically by the AP. It contains all the information about the network, such as i) the ESSID, ii) the encryption type, and iii) the BSSID (MAC address) of the AP.

User-Agent header (application layer): An HTTP header that contains a characteristic string with details regarding the network peer. By redirecting the victim’s HTTP requests to a website controlled by us, we are able to retrieve useful information from this header, such as i) the web browser and ii) the operating system of the victim.

The interesting thing about the BSSID (found in the beacon frame) is that it can be used to determine the router manufacturer. For example, if the first digits of the MAC address are “00:12:17”, we can be pretty confident that the beacon frame was broadcasted by a Linksys router.


By knowing the router manufacturer, we can craft fake router configuration pages accordingly as illustrated in the image below.

wifi phishing

In this image, both the BSSID of the victim’s AP and the encryption type of the target network are used to craft a victim-customized phishing page asking for the PSK. This trick became quite popular in the past few years, surpassing the traditional brute-forcing of the 4-way handshake.


However, this attack raises suspicion and advanced users will hardly fall for this.


But look at the following image.

Wifi Phishing

In this phishing attack, we first make the victim believe he is not having any connectivity to the Internet by showing the “No Internet Connection” page in his browser. We display Google Chrome’s “Unable to Connect to the Internet” page because the HTTP User-Agent header assured us that the victim is using that specific browser.


The same header told us that the victim is running Windows, giving us the chance to display a web-based imitation of Windows network manager. We make this much more realistic by showing the valid networks that are in the victim’s neigh borhood.


In this case, the victim can hardly tell if the network manager is part of the Operating System UI or the web page he is visiting. In the following image, we compare the Mac OS network manager with an HTML-lookalike of ours. At the top is the fake network manager while the one displayed at the bottom is the real one.

wifi phishing

Phishing attacks like the above can be performed using the latest version of Wifi phisher (v1.2) that was released a month ago. Wifi phisher is an open-source project, and all this functionality wouldn’t be possible without the contributions of the community.


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