Measuring impact of Wi-Fi denial-of-service attacks

By John Cox – “In a Wi-Fi network, the Denial of Service attacks are usually generated by so called ‘backoff misbehavior,'” Wenye Wang, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, North Carolina State University (NCSU), says. Based on the Wi-Fi protocols, client radios “listen” to see if the radio channel is being used. If it is, it “backs off” and waits for a set period, and then listens again. If the channel is clear, it can claim it, and send or receive data.

But an attacker can manipulate this process, changing the rules, Wang says. “[W]hen attacks change the rules of backoff time, it is similar to crashing a queue and occupying it forever,” she says. “Of course, [the] other users do not know what happened and would assume the entire network is down.”

The authors looked at two broad Wi-Fi DoS attacks: one a continuous attack, the other intermittent. The research compared how different attack strategies performed under different variables, such as varying the number of users trying to connect. more>

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