Wireless exploitation is the practice of footprinting (sniffing), analyzing and manipulating wireless data. This section describes some tips, resources and references to help solve wireless exploitation challenges.

Key Concepts (WiFi):

  • SSIDservice set identifier is the name for a Wi-Fi network
  • MAC Address –  Media Access Control address is the factory assigned physical address.
  • Access Point – device that acts as a communication hub for wireless users connecting to the network
  • IP Address Internet Protocol (IPaddress is an identifier for a device on a TCP/IP network.
  • Wireless Encryption:
    • WEP Wired Equivalent Privacy is a security protocol for wifi networks using the 802.11b standard.
    • WPAWi-Fi Protected Access improves security features of WEP through the temporal key integrity protocol (TKIP) key scrambling, integrity-checking and user authentication.
  • Wireless Standards – Determines the modulation, speed and security available (e.g., 802-11, 802-11a, 802-11g, etc.)

Security Standards:

  • Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) – Old security algorithm for IEEE 802.11 wireless confidentiality using a 10 or 26 hex digits. Vulnerable to attacks on packet integrity.
  • Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) – Uses a 64 or 128-bit encryption key (TKIP) that dynamically generates a new keys for each packet and a Message Integrity Check (MIC) to address WEP weaknesess.
  • WPA-2 Includes mandatory support for CCMP, an AES-based encryption mode.
  • WPA-3 – uses a 192-bit cryptographic strength in WPA3-Enterprise mode (AES-256 in GCM mode with SHA-384 as HMAC), uses of CCMP-128 (AES-128 in CCM mode).

Recommended Steps for Vulnerability Assessments:

  1. Footprint – Scan the wireless landscape and identify network resources for exploitation.
    • Wigle.net – If you have the SSID of the access point to get physical location information.
    • Packet Capture – Use tools like Wireshark to capture and analyze packets (includes SSID , MAC addresses (OmniPeek maps MAC addresses) and Encryption Mode).
  2. Analysis – Based on footprint data, search for known vulnerabilities (e.g., plain text passwords, weak encryption, CVEs, etc.) to determine the exploit.
  3. Crack Wifi Access Passwords – Use Aircrack-ng (recommended) or hashcat to crack the access point WEP and WPA PWs (link)
  4. Investigate Potential Exploits:

Recommended Tools:

  1. ToolBench:
    • Kali Linux – Linux suite of cybersecurity tools
    • Wireshark – packet analysis for network card in promiscous mode.
    • Aircrack- ng – recommended tool to assess WiFi security and crack WEP, WPA and WPA2 passwords
    • hashcat – password cracking utility for WPA (if aircack-ng does not work)
    • Ifconfig –   ‘ ifconfig wlan0 down’ shutdown interface
  2. Footprinting:
    • Wigle.net – Wifi info database for hotspots from around the world
    • NetStumbler  (set SSID to ANY) active mode (Windows)
    • Kismet : both war-drive and sniffer. Uses passive mode (Linux)
    • GPSMap : comes with Kismet and plots AP locations in maps, using ImageMagick,
  3. Packet Capture:


  1. Crack WPA/WPA2 Wi-Fi Routers with Aircrack-ng and Hashcat
  2. Youtube: Why is Free WiFi Dangerous? Simply Explained. (8:21)
  3. Youtube: Wireless Network Technologies – CompTIA Network+ N10-007 – 1.6 (10:46)
  4. Youtube: Wireless Standards – CompTIA Network+ N10-007 – 1.6 (06.22)
  5. Youtube: Wireless Encryption – CompTIA Network+ N10-007 – 4.3 (04:01)
  6. Youtube: Wireless Authentication and Security – CompTIA Network+ N10-007 – 4.3 (05:13)
  7. Youtube: Rogue Access Points – CompTIA Network+ N10-007 – 4.4 (00:00) 
  8. Youtube: Wireless Deauthentication – CompTIA Network+ N10-007 – 4.4 (05: 08)
  9. Youtube: NMap 101: Scanning Networks For Open Ports To Access, HakTip 94 (11:14)
  10. Youtube: HakTip – WiFi 101: 802.11 Protocols (10:xx)
  11. Youtube: HakTip – WiFi 101: Frame Analyzing (10:03)
  12. Wireless Network Tools
  13. What is SSID
  14. Explore & Map Nearby Wireless Networks with WiGLE [Tutorial] (13:14)