Airsnarf - a rogue AP setup utility Download the DefCon XI presentation HERE.

Download the Airsnarf tarball for Red Hat Linux 9.0 HERE.

Airsnarf - A rogue AP setup utility
The Shmoo Group

Airsnarf is a simple rogue wireless access point setup utility designed to demonstrate how a rogue AP can steal usernames and passwords from public wireless hotspots.  Airsnarf was developed and released to demonstrate an inherent vulnerability of public 802.11b hotspots--snarfing usernames and passwords by confusing users with DNS and HTTP redirects from a competing AP.

Airsnarf has been tested with (i.e. probably requires) the following:

Red Hat Linux 9.0 -
kernel-2.4.20-13.9.HOSTAP.i686.rpm -
iptables - Red Hat 9.0 CD 1
httpd - Red Hat 9.0 CD 1
dhcp - Red Hat 9.0 CD 2
sendmail - Red Hat 9.0 CD 1
Net::DNS Perl module -

Install & run Airsnarf with the following commands:

tar zxvf airsnarf-0.2.tar.gz
cd ./airsnarf-0.2

How does it work?  Basically, it's just a shell script that uses the above software to create a competing hotspot complete with a captive portal.  Variables such as local network, gateway, and SSID to assume can be configured within the ./cfg/airsnarf.cfg file.  Optionally, as a command line argument to Airsnarf, you may specify a directory that contains your own airsnarf.cfg, html, and cgi-bin.  Wireless clients that associate to your Airsnarf access point receive an IP, DNS, and gateway from you--just as they would any other hotspot.  Users will have all of their DNS queries resolve to your IP, regardless of their DNS settings, so any website they attempt to visit will bring up the Airsnarf "splash page", requesting a username and password.  The username and password entered  by unsuspecting users will be mailed to root@localhost.  The reason this works is 1) legitimate access points can be impersonated and/or drowned out by rogue access points and 2) users without a means to validate the authenticity of access points will nevertheless give up their hotspot credentials when asked for them.

So what's the big deal?  Well, with a setup like Airsnarf one can obviously create a "replica website" of many popular, nationally recognized, "pay to play" hotspots.  That's as simple as replacing the index.html file Airsnarf uses with your own custom webpage that still points its form field variables to the airsnarf.cgi.  Combined with sitting at or near a real hotspot, hotspot users will associate and unknowingly give out their username and password for the hotspot provider's network.  The usernames and passwords can then be misused at will to utilize other hotspots of the same provider, possibly anywhere in the nation, leaving the original duped user to pay the bill.  Should the user be charged per minute usage, they may recognize something is terribly wrong when they get their next bill.  If the user pays a flat rate for unlimited usage, the user may never realize their credentials have been captured and are being misused.

Wireless hotspot operators should consider the following:  stronger authentication mechanisms, one-time authentication setups, monitoring the existence and creation of APs, and perhaps just giving away hotspot access for free to remove any user service theft risks.

Questions, comments, or concerns regarding Airsnarf should be directed to: