You must be aware of impersonations in Hollywood movies wherein you find out that a certain villain was pretending to be a good guy until he realizes that time has come to fulfill his nefarious aspirations and bring out who he truly is.
Similarly, in the cyber world, there are a lot of fringe elements that pretend to be authentic to trick you into believing them so that they can snoop and steal your sensitive data.
By now, you must have got a little bit of idea about what ARP spoofing is.
But, before understating how it works, let us look at what the term ARP means.
What is ARP?
In a simple world, ARP or Address Resolution Protocol helps connect a device to the internet by enabling the network to reach a particular device.
ARP’s work is to translate a device’s IP or Internet Protocol address to a MAC or Media Access Control address so that the router can identify and enable the device to connect to the internet.
Without using ARP, no device can contact a router.
Now, you must be wondering, how does it protect your network?
The device maintains an ARP cache that is used to map the IP and MAC addresses. When a device cannot figure out the router’s MAC address, it sends out a request packet where it asks all other devices on the network for the correct MAC address. After getting the response, they can finally connect to the internet.
But, where does spoofing comes in all of the processes?
Well, let us talk about it.
How does spoofing happen?
We just talked about how a device sends out an ARP request packet and then receives a third-party response in return, right?
Well, ARP is not a security protocol, so it cannot verify whether the response is coming from an authorized party or not.
The worst part about this process is that even if a device never sent out a request packet, it could still accept the response from any random party without verification.
Therefore, this weak link in the ARP protocol is exploited by cybercriminals as they administer spoofing or MITM (Man-in-the-middle) attacks.
So, what exactly is spoofing?
What is ARP spoofing?
Spoofing is the act of intercepting network communication between two parties.
In other words, hackers gain access to the IP addresses of at least two devices operating on a network. They then deploy a spoofing tool like driftnet to send customized ARP responses to both parties.
The responses impersonate themselves as MAC addresses to both IP addresses, therefore, tripping both the devices into believing that the hacker’s MAC address is the real one. Moreover, the device ARP cache entries get updated according to the hacker’s MAC addresses.
Thus, instead of communicating with each other’s MAC addresses, the devices end up communicating with the hacker’s MAC addresses. As a result, a hacker can sit in between the communicating parties and spoof them.
How to Prevent Spoofing Attacks?
After having talked about the meaning and process of spoofing, let us see how you can prevent these attacks.
1. Use a Virtual Private Network
A VPN creates a secure tunnel through which a device can connect to the internet in an encrypted form. It renders ARP spoofing attacks useless by not displaying the information transferred between the two parties. However, VPN won’t be a feasible choice for over-stretched networks.
2. Use static ARP entries
Suppose you connect your device to the same router each time. In that case, there is no need for other devices to listen to your responses. Therefore, you can let the ARP protocol define your IP address as a static entry. This way, you can prevent the intervention of other parties between your device and the router.
3. Enable pocket filtration
Generally, information is allowed to pass without verifying its source. That is why spoofing attacks happen. But a pocket filter can identify whether the information source is authentic or conflicting. Therefore, it can break the connection between the network and the device.
4. Impersonate a spoofing attack
If you are confused about your connection security, it is best to run a spoofing attack yourself. You can call your IT team to run a random attack and figure out your filter pockets and VPN responses. If things don’t pan out the way you expected, you can work on the vulnerabilities accordingly.
With businesses adopting the hybrid culture, learning about ARP is imperative. Today, employees are working from their homes, connecting to their private internet networks; therefore, they should know what to do if an ARP attack happens.
After reading this article, you must have a clear idea about what an ARP attack is, how it works, and all measures you can take to repel it. So, follow the four tips we shared to make your network spoofing-proof today.
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