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What is Spoofing in Cyber Security?

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  • Difficulty Level : Easy
  • Last Updated : 08 Mar, 2022
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Spoofing is a completely new beast created by merging age-old deception strategies with modern technology. Spoofing is a sort of fraud in which someone or something forges the sender’s identity and poses as a reputable source, business, colleague, or other trusted contact in order to obtain personal information, acquire money, spread malware, or steal data.

Types of Spoofing:

  • IP Spoofing
  • ARP Spoofing
  • Email Spoofing
  • Website Spoofing Attack
  • DNS Spoofing

IP Spoofing:

IP is a network protocol that allows you to send and receive messages over the internet. The sender’s IP address is included in the message header of every email message sent (source address). By altering the source address, hackers and scammers alter the header details to hide their original identity. The emails then look to have come from a reliable source. IP spoofing can be divided into two categories.

  • Man in the Middle Attacks: Communication between the original sender of the message and the intended recipient is intercepted, as the term implies. The message’s content is then changed without the knowledge of either party. The attacker inserts his own message into the packet. 
  • Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks: In this technique, the sender and recipient’s message packets are intercepted, and the source address is spoofed. The connection has been seized. The recipient is thus flooded with packets in excess of their bandwidth or resources. This overloads the victim’s system, effectively shutting it down.


In a Man-in-the-middle attack, even the receiver doesn’t know where the connection got originated. This is completely a blind attack. To successfully carry out his attack, he will require a great deal of experience and understanding of what to expect from the target’s responses.

Preventive measures:

Disabling source-routed packets and all external incoming packets with the same source address as a local host are two of the most frequent strategies to avoid this type of attack.

ARP Spoofing: 

ARP spoofing is a hacking method that causes network traffic to be redirected to a hacker. Sniffing out LAN addresses on both wired and wireless LAN networks is known as spoofing. The idea behind this sort of spoofing is to transmit false ARP communications to Ethernet LANs, which can cause traffic to be modified or blocked entirely.

The basic work of ARP is to match the IP address to the MAC address. Attackers will transmit spoofed messages across the local network. Here the response will map the user’s MAC address with his IP address. Thus attacker will gain all information from the victim machine.  

Preventive measures:

To avoid ARP poisoning, you can employ a variety of ways, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. Static ARP entries, encryption, VPNs, and packet sniffing are just a few examples.

  • Static ARP entries: It entails creating an ARP entry in each computer for each machine on the network. Because the machines can ignore ARP replies, mapping them with sets of static IP and MAC addresses helps to prevent spoofing attempts. Regrettably, this approach can only defend you from some of the most basic attacks.
  • Encryption: Protocols like HTTPS and SSH can also help to reduce the probability of an ARP poisoning attempt succeeding. When traffic is encrypted, the attacker must go through the extra effort of convincing the target’s browser to accept an invalid certificate. Any data sent outside of these standards, however, will remain vulnerable.
  • VPN: Individuals may find a VPN to be reasonable protection, but they are rarely suitable for larger enterprises. A VPN will encrypt all data that flows between the client and the exit server if it is only one person making a potentially unsafe connection, such as accessing public wifi at an airport. Since an attacker will only be able to see the ciphertext, this helps to keep them safe.
  • Packet filters: Each packet delivered across a network is inspected by these filters. They can detect and prevent malicious transmissions as well as those with suspected IP addresses.

For more detail regarding MITM attacks using ARP spoofing please refer to the MITM (Man in The Middle) Attack using ARP Poisoning.

Email Spoofing: 

The most common type of identity theft on the Internet is email spoofing. Phishers, send emails to many addresses and pose as representatives of banks, companies, and law enforcement agencies by using official logos and headers. Links to dangerous or otherwise fraudulent websites, as well as attachments loaded with malicious software, are included in the emails they send.

Attackers may also utilize social engineering techniques to persuade the target to voluntarily reveal information. Fake banking or digital wallet websites are frequently created and linked to in emails.  When an unknowing victim clicks on that link, they are brought to a false site where they must log in with their information, which is then forwarded to the fake user behind the fake email.

Manual Detection Method:

  • Even though the display name appears to be real, if it does not match the “From” address, it is an indication of email spoofing.
  • Mail is most likely fake if the “Reply-to” address does not match the original sender’s address or domain.
  • Unexpected messages (such as a request for sensitive information or an unwanted attachment) should be opened with caution or reported immediately to your IT department, even if the email appears to come from a trustworthy source.

Preventive measures:

Implement additional checks like Sender Policy Framework, DomainKeys Identified Mail, Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting & Conformance, and Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions.

Website Spoofing Attack: 

Attackers employ website/URL spoofing, also known as cybersquatting, to steal credentials and other information from unwary end-users by creating a website that seems almost identical to the actual trustworthy site. This is frequently done with sites that receive a lot of traffic online. The cloning of Facebook is a good example.  

DNS Spoofing: 

Each machine has a unique IP address. This address is not the same as the usual “www” internet address that you use to access websites. When you type a web address into your browser and press enter, the Domain Name System (DNS) immediately locates and sends you to the IP address that matches the domain name you provided. Hackers have discovered a technique to infiltrate this system and redirect your traffic to harmful sites. This is known as DNS Spoofing.

Preventive measures:

  • DNSSEC or Domain Name System Security Extension Protocol is the most widely used DNS Spoofing prevention solution since it secures the DNS by adding layers of authentication and verification. However, it takes time to verify that the DNS records are not forged, this slows down the DNS response.
  • Make use of SSL/TLS encryption to minimize or mitigate the risk of a website being hacked via DNS spoofing. This allows a user to determine whether the server is real and belongs to the website’s original owner.
  • Only trust URLs that begin with “HTTPS,” which signifies that a website is legitimate. Consider the risk of a DNS Spoofing Attack if the indicator of “HTTPS” looks to be in flux.
  • The security strategy or proactive approach to preventing a DNS attack is active monitoring. It’s important to keep an eye on DNS data and be proactive about noticing unusual patterns of behavior, such as the appearance of a new external host that could be an attacker.

Spoofing is the most popular strategy utilized by advertisers these days. It is quite simple for them to utilize because it includes a range of ways to perform it. The above are a few instances of spoofing and preventative steps that will make our organization safer.

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