ARP Spoofing

What is ARP Spoofing ?

ARP Spoofing, also known as ARP Poisoning, is a type of cyber attack in which an attacker manipulates the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) to intercept, redirect, or modify network traffic. ARP spoofing attack can lead to various malicious activities, including:

How it Works ?

ARP spoofing occurs when an attacker sends falsified ARP messages onto a local network. By impersonating another device, the attacker can associate their own MAC address with the IP address of the legitimate device in the ARP tables of other devices on the network.

ARP spoofing attacks typically involve the following steps:

  1. Discovery: The attacker scans the local network to identify potential targets, such as devices or routers, by sending ARP requests. This allows them to gather information about the IP-MAC address mappings of the devices on the network.
  2. ARP Cache Poisoning: The attacker sends falsified ARP messages onto the network, claiming to be another device. They associate their own MAC address with the IP address of the target device in the ARP tables of other devices on the network. This can be achieved by sending ARP replies with spoofed source IP and MAC addresses.
  3. ARP Table Modification: As the falsified ARP messages propagate through the network, devices update their ARP tables with the manipulated mappings. This causes legitimate devices to send network traffic intended for the target device to the attacker's MAC address instead.
  4. Intercepting or Modifying Traffic: With the ARP cache successfully poisoned, the attacker can intercept or modify the network traffic flowing between the legitimate devices. This enables them to perform various malicious activities, such as eavesdropping on sensitive data, injecting malicious packets, or altering the contents of the communication.
  5. Stealth and Persistence: To maintain their control over the network, attackers may employ stealth techniques to avoid detection. This can include periodically re-sending falsified ARP messages to ensure their mappings stay active in the ARP tables of the targeted devices.

Why it Works ?

ARP spoofing works due to several inherent weaknesses and limitations in the design and operation of the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) and local area networks (LANs). These weaknesses include:

  1. Lack of Authentication: ARP does not provide any authentication mechanism to verify the legitimacy of ARP requests and responses. It relies solely on the IP-MAC address mappings provided in the ARP tables. This lack of authentication allows attackers to easily manipulate and spoof ARP messages.
  2. Trusting ARP Responses: Devices on a network inherently trust ARP responses received from other devices. When an ARP reply is received, devices update their ARP tables based on the information provided. Attackers exploit this trust by sending falsified ARP replies, tricking devices into associating their own MAC address with a target IP address.
  3. Broadcast Nature of ARP: ARP messages are broadcasted on the local network, allowing all devices to receive and process them. However, this also means that ARP messages can be intercepted and manipulated by any device within the broadcast domain, including attackers.
  4. Lack of ARP Table Validation: Devices typically do not validate the information received in ARP messages. They blindly update their ARP tables based on the latest received ARP replies, without checking the consistency or authenticity of the mappings.
  5. Stateless Protocol: ARP is a stateless protocol, meaning it does not maintain any session or ongoing verification of IP-MAC address mappings. Once an ARP reply is received and an entry is added to the ARP table, devices do not continuously validate or verify the mappings.
  6. Limited ARP Cache Timeout: ARP entries in the cache of devices have a limited timeout period. This means that the mappings can expire and be refreshed based on new ARP messages. Attackers can take advantage of this limited timeout to repeatedly send falsified ARP messages and maintain control over the ARP cache.
  7. Lack of Network Segmentation: In flat LAN architectures, where all devices are part of the same broadcast domain, ARP spoofing becomes more effective. It allows attackers to target and manipulate ARP tables across the entire network, increasing the potential impact of the attack.


To mitigate the risks posed by ARP spoofing attacks, here are effective preventive measures:

  1. Network Segmentation: Implement network segmentation or VLANs to isolate critical devices from less trusted parts of the network. This limits the impact of an ARP spoofing attack.
  2. Port Security: Configure port security features on network switches to bind MAC addresses to specific switch ports, preventing unauthorized devices from connecting and spoofing ARP.
  3. Static ARP Entries: Manually configure static ARP entries on critical devices, ensuring that IP-MAC address mappings are not easily manipulated.
  4. ARP Spoofing Detection and Prevention: Deploy network monitoring tools or intrusion detection systems (IDS) that can detect and alert on ARP spoofing attempts. Additionally, utilize dedicated software that actively identifies and blocks spoofed ARP packets.
  5. Regular Updates and Patching: Keep network devices, routers, and operating systems up to date with the latest security patches to mitigate known vulnerabilities that could be exploited in ARP spoofing attacks.

ARP spoofing attacks pose significant risks to network security, potentially leading to unauthorized access, data manipulation, and privacy breaches. Understanding the techniques employed by attackers and implementing robust preventive measures are crucial steps towards safeguarding your network.

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