Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2021/763

Fragment and Forge: Breaking Wi-Fi Through Frame Aggregation and Fragmentation

Mathy Vanhoef

Abstract: In this paper, we present three design flaws in the 802.11 standard that underpins Wi-Fi. One design flaw is in the frame aggregation functionality, and another two are in the frame fragmentation functionality. These design flaws enable an adversary to forge encrypted frames in various ways, which in turn enables exfiltration of sensitive data. We also discovered common implementation flaws related to aggregation and fragmentation, which further worsen the impact of our attacks. Our results affect all protected Wi-Fi networks, ranging from WEP all the way to WPA3, meaning the discovered flaws have been part of Wi-Fi since its release in 1997. In our experiments, all devices were vulnerable to one or more of our attacks, confirming that all Wi-Fi devices are likely affected. Finally, we present a tool to test whether devices are affected by any of the vulnerabilities, and we discuss countermeasures to prevent our attacks.

Category / Keywords: implementation / cryptographic protocols, wifi, wpa2, wpa3, 802.11

Original Publication (in the same form): USENIX Security'21

Date: received 7 Jun 2021

Contact author: mathy vanhoef at nyu edu

Available format(s): PDF | BibTeX Citation

Version: 20210609:062110 (All versions of this report)

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