ARP Spoofing Attacks: Why Are They Dangerous And How To Prevent Them


ARP spoofing attacks have been around for a long time. Also known as ARP poisoning, it is a type of attack that focuses on the local network. It involves sending out malicious ARP packets targeted at the default LAN gateway. If the attack is successful (as is often the case due to its hard-to-detect nature), the attackers can access one of the devices connected to the network.

That being said, there is something you can do to protect yourself, and you’ll learn about it today. But first, the basics.

The Basic Premise of ARP Spoofing

It’s important to understand the process a bit better before you discern the optimal way to protect yourself from ARP spoofing. So if there’s one thing to keep in mind, it’s this: once an attacker connects to your network, they can be the one to receive data that was intended to be sent to another (legitimate) destination.

There is no simple way to detect these attacks. Your best bet is to look for traces of abnormal activity on your computer. The good news is that every ARP spoofing attack tends to follow a similar pattern. Once you are familiar with different versions of these attacks, you stand a better chance of spotting them.

3 Types of ARP Spoofing Attacks

  • Session hijacking. Once the attacker steals your session ID, it grants them direct access to your data. Unless you’ve already asked yourself, “know what is my IP” and figured how to conceal it by using a VPN, it’s best to avoid potentially insecure Wi-Fi networks like the ones at a random coffee shop or airport.
  • Denial-of-service-attacks. The end goal of these attacks is to mess with your resources and interrupt what you are doing. A typical scenario is when a hacker targets your server by overwhelming it with useless data. It renders your server or website inaccessible to your audience for the duration of the attack.
  • Man-in-the-middle attacks. These attacks use ARP spoofing to gain access to the session via intercepting legitimate user traffic.

Things You Can Do To Protect Yourself

1. VPN
Your data stays safe from most ARP spoofing attacks if you connect to the internet through a virtual private network (VPN). By doing so, everything you send and receive goes through an encrypted tunnel. That way, your activity stays hidden from the prying eyes of those who don’t have your best intentions at heart.

2. Static ARP
Keep in mind that it’s not a bulletproof method. But you’ll be a lot safer when overriding your server’s default settings and creating a static ARP entry. It serves as an additional layer of protection. If you exchange data between the same two servers on a regular basis, it makes sense to have it in place.

3. ARP detection tools
Due to how refined hackers are becoming at executing their attacks, being able to detect them is not always a given. Although your focus should lie on prevention, it’s important to invest a bit of that time and energy into detection. Many third-party ARP detection tools on the market can help you achieve that.

4. Avoid IP trust relationships
In a way, ARP spoofing relies on taking advantage of your trust. When connecting to other devices, it’s a good idea to set things manually, even more so if you intend to run a business network. Alternatively, set up a login system that requires passwords should also work fine.

5. Packet filtering is your friend
ARP spoofing involves sending ARP packets containing the hacker’s MAC address that pretends to be something else. Knowing that you should set up packet filtering. By checking that all packets contain zero traces of poisoning before they reach their intended destination, you can keep the network clean. It prevents hackers from doing their ill-intentioned deeds and launching any consequent attacks.

The Bottom Line

Besides everything said above, check whether antivirus tools you already have installed come with some built-in ARP spoofing protection. To learn more about how this attack works, you could even set up a dummy machine with protection measures to see if you can compromise its security. As long as the device is something you own, nothing illegal will be taking place. And you will learn a great deal about whether your anti-ARP spoofing measures stand or cave in under pressure.


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