A man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack is a highly effective type of cyber attack that involves a hacker infiltrating a private network by impersonating a rogue access point and acquiring login credentials.
The attacker sets up hardware pretending to be a trusted wireless network in order to trick unsuspecting victims into connecting to it and sending over their credentials. MITM attacks can happen anywhere, as many devices automatically connect to the network with the strongest signal, or will connect to a SSID name they remember.
To defend your network against MITM attacks, it’s important to understand the methods you have at your disposal. In this article, we will outline examples of the tools you can use to better understand and test for MITM attacks.
The WiFi Pineapple is a device used to perform targeted MITM attacks, it was originally invented to allow IT professionals to find weaknesses in their wireless networks. The device works by acting as an access point with the same SSID as a public wireless network. A user will actually connect to the Pineapple instead of the real wireless network, which allows the pineapple user to infiltrate the users data.
For a hacker, a Pineapple can be used to collect sensitive personal information from unsuspecting users on public Wi-Fi networks. However it can also be used to easily execute sophisticated attacks on Wi-Fi networks to see how the attacks work and therefore learn how to protect the network from those attacks.
Password Stealing Software
There are a lot of tools that can be used to steal information and passwords online; luckily, many of these tools can be used to test your network’s security.
Most of these tools are available through an operating system known as Kali Linux. Kali Linux was created for distribution aimed at advanced penetration testing (pen testing) and security auditing. It comes with hundreds of different tools and is completely free to use.
MITMf comes with Kali Linux and is designed to test against man-in-the-middle attacks. MITMf aims to provide a one-stop-shop for MITM and network penetration tests, consistently updating and improving existing attacks and techniques, allowing you to always be up to date on what the latest threats are.
ARP spoofing is a type of attack in which a malicious actor sends falsified ARP (Address Resolution Protocol) messages over a local area network. The result is a link between the attacker’s MAC address and the IP address of a legitimate computer or server on the network. The attacker can then spread false information through the link and gain access to private data as well.
Wireshark is an award-winning network analyzer with 600 authors. It allows you to see what’s happening on your network at a micro level. Wireshark intercepts traffic and converts that binary traffic into human-readable format. This makes it easy to identify what traffic is crossing your network.
Cain and Abel
Cain & Abel is ideal for procurement of network keys and passwords through penetration methods. The tool makes use of network sniffing, dictionary attacks, brute force and cryptanalysis attacks to find susceptibilities in your network.
Dictionaries / Decryption Software
Passwords are one of the most prominent vulnerabilities for a network. Bad actors have an assortment of tools to obtain passwords and access secure networks and systems. One of the most effective attacks is a dictionary attack. This kind of attack uses dictionaries which are large lists of data, often cleartext strings, that can be used to crack passwords. These lists can include words in the form of dictionary words, common passwords, iterations of common passwords, and exposed passwords. This combined with decryption software, which substantially expedites the process, allows hackers to essentially reveal your passwords through trial and error.
John The Ripper
John the Ripper is the essential tool for password cracking and provides a range of systems for this purpose. The pen testing tool is a free, open-source software that can be used to automatically identify different password hashes, discover passwords weaknesses, and explore and customize a password cracker.
Nessus has been used as a security pen testing tool for 20 years. 27,000 companies utilize the application worldwide. The software scans your network for open ports, weak passwords, and misconfiguration errors.
Hydra is a password cracking software from Kali Linux. This tool makes it possible for researchers and security consultants to find potential vulnerabilities that could allow threats to gain unauthorized access to a system remotely. It is very fast and flexible, with new modules being very easy to add.
These tools are all incredibly useful for preventing MITM attacks; however, an often overlooked tool is the use of certificates to remove the risks of passwords. Digital certificates eliminate human error and cannot be decrypted because of public key cryptography.
In order to deploy certificates, enterprises need to implement a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), which can be costly and require a lot of manpower. Luckily, SecureW2 provides a complete PKI that can be run with no on-premise servers required. Furthermore, SecureW2’s Managed PKI is a turnkey solution designed to be set-and-forget. It eases the workload for IT admins and doesn’t require a team to manage.
Find out if your organization could benefit from the certificate solutions SecureW2 provides at an affordable price.