Saturday, June 15, 2024

Wireless Penetration Testing Checklist – A Detailed Cheat Sheet

Wireless Penetration testing actively examines the process of Information security Measures which is Placed in WiFi Networks and also analyses the Weakness, technical flows, and Critical wireless Vulnerabilities.

The most important countermeasures we should focus on are Threat Assessment, Data theft Detection, security control auditing, Risk prevention and Detection, information system Management, and Upgrade infrastructure and a Detailed report should be prepared.

Wireless penetration testing, also called “Wi-Fi pen testing,” is a systematic way to find flaws in wireless networks and access points. The goal is to create situations that attackers might try to take advantage of.

This practice is not only a way to prevent cyber breaches, but it is also a way to follow industry rules and regulations, protect private data, and keep the trust of clients and stakeholders.

Testing for authentication and encryption are important parts of the process. Security experts try to find ways to break weak passwords and test how well security systems work.

In the same way, encryption testing checks how secure encryption methods are against known flaws. Exploitation is the next step. This is where possible weaknesses are used to get illegal access, simulating real cyber threats.

Table of Contents

What is Wireless penetration testing?
Common Wireless Network Vulnerabilities
Wireless Penetration Testing Checklist
Framework for Wireless Penetration Testing
Wireless Pentesting with WEP Encrypted WLAN
Wireless Penetration Testing with WPA/WPA2 Encrypted WLAN
LEAP Encrypted WLAN
Wireless Penetration Testing with Unencrypted WLAN

What is Wireless penetration testing?

Wireless Penetration Testing, also called “Wi-Fi Pen Testing,” is a form of protection that involves testing the security of wireless networks and looking for holes that hackers could use.

The main goal of wireless penetration testing is to see how well the security measures in place to protect wireless networks are working and to find any flaws that could lead to unauthorized access, data breaches, or other cyber threats.

Key aspects of wireless penetration testing include:

Network Discovery: Identifying all wireless access points (APs), routers, and other network devices within the target environment.

Vulnerability Assessment: Identifying and assessing potential vulnerabilities in the wireless network infrastructure, such as outdated firmware, weak encryption protocols, default credentials, and misconfigured settings.

Authentication and Encryption: Evaluating the strength of authentication mechanisms and encryption protocols used in the wireless network to ensure they are resistant to attacks like brute force and eavesdropping.

Traffic Analysis: Analyzing network traffic to detect anomalies, rogue devices, and potential unauthorized access attempts.

Exploitation: Attempting to exploit discovered vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access to the network, simulate potential attack scenarios, and assess the impact of successful attacks.

Mitigation Recommendations: Providing recommendations and actionable steps to address identified vulnerabilities and improve the overall security posture of the wireless network.

Compliance and Regulation: Ensuring that the wireless network complies with relevant industry standards and regulations, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) for networks handling payment card data.

Wireless penetration testing helps organizations proactively identify and address security weaknesses before malicious hackers can exploit them.

It can be conducted by internal security teams or by external cybersecurity experts who specialize in assessing the security of wireless networks. Regular wireless penetration testing is essential to maintaining a strong security posture in an increasingly connected and wireless-dependent world.


1. What are the steps of wireless penetration testing?

Wireless penetration testing is a methodical way to check how secure wireless networks are and find any possible weaknesses.

Planning, Reconnaissance, Scanning, Enumeration, Vulnerability Assessment, Authentication Testing, Encryption Testing, Exploitation, Post-Exploitation, Reporting, and Documentation are the steps in the wireless penetration testing process.

2. Which tool is used for wireless penetration testing?

Wireless penetration testing can be done with a variety of tools, each of which serves a different purpose at different points in the testing process.

Tools like Aircrack-ng, Kismet, Wireshark, Reaver, Hashcat, Fern Wifi Cracker, Airgeddon, NetStumbler, and Wifite are often used for wireless security testing.

3. What are the three 3 types of penetration tests?

Penetration testing, also known as pen testing, involves various approaches to assess the security of systems, networks, and applications. Each type of penetration test is used for a different reason and shows different things about how secure a company is.

Most of the time, organizations choose the right type of test based on their goals, assets, and possible risks.

Combining these tests helps make sure that a thorough security review is done and helps organizations find and fix vulnerabilities before bad people can use them.

4. Why wireless penetration testing is important?

Since wireless networks are the main way people communicate and share information, their security is very important. This testing method is important for finding weaknesses that cybercriminals could use to gain unauthorized access, steal data, or disrupt networks.

By simulating real-world attack scenarios, organizations can figure out how well their security measures work, figure out where they are weak, and make changes right away.

Common Wireless Network Vulnerabilities

  • Deployment of Vulnerable WEP Protocol
  • Man-in-the-Middle Attacks
  • Default SSIDs and Passwords
  • Misconfigured Firewalls
  • WPA2 Krack Vulnerability
  • NetSpectre – Remote Spectre Exploit
  • Worshipping
  • Packet Sniffing
  • Worshipping

Wireless Penetration Testing Checklist:

The wireless penetration testing checklist is like a map that shows security professionals, ethical hackers, and businesses how to evaluate the security of their wireless networks.

This checklist has a set of well-defined steps, each of which looks at a different part of network security to make sure that a full review is done.

The order of steps gives a logical framework that starts with the pre-engagement phase, where permission and scope are set and ends with documentation and reporting of results.

In the first parts of the checklist, the attention is on gathering information and analyzing the network. This includes reconnaissance, where details like SSIDs and access points about the target network are gathered.

The next step is scanning, which tries to find live access points, the strength of the signal, and the encryption protocols being used.

Enumeration and analysis go into more depth, giving information about MAC IDs, encryption settings, and possible mistakes. The known weaknesses in access points and the network infrastructure are then found by doing a vulnerability review.

wireless penetration

Let’s take a detailed look at the Wireless Penetration Testing Checklist and the steps to be followed.

Framework for Wireless Penetration Testing

  1. Discover the Devices connected with Wireless Networks.
  2. Document all the findings if Wireless Device is Found.
  3. If a wireless Device is found using Wifi Networks, then perform common wifi Attacks and check the devices using WEP Encryption.
  4. If you found WLAN using WEP Encryption then Perform WEP Encryption Pentesting.
  5. Check whether WLAN Using WPA/WPA2 Encryption. If yes then perform WPA/WPA2 pen-testing.
  6. Check Whether WLAN using LEAP Encryption. If yes then perform LEAP Pentesting.
  7. No other Encryption Method was used which I mentioned above, Then Check whether WLAN using unencrypted.
  8. If WLAN is unencrypted then perform common wifi network attacks, check the vulnerability which is placed in the unencrypted method, and generate a report.
  9. Before generating a Report make sure no damage has been caused to the pen-testing assets.

Wireless Pentesting with WEP Encrypted WLAN

  1. Check the SSID and analyze whether SSID is Visible or Hidden.
  2. Check for networks using WEP encryption.
  3. If you find the SSID as visible mode then try to sniff the traffic and check the packet capturing status.
  4. If the packet has been successfully captured and injected then it’s time to break the WEP  key by using a WiFi cracking tool such as Aircrack-ng, or WEPcrack.
  5. If packets are not reliably captured then sniff the traffic again and capture the Packet.
  6. If you find SSID is the Hidden mode, then do Deauthentication for the target client by using some deauthentication tools such as Commview and Airplay-ng.
  7. Once successfully Authenticated with the client and Discovered the SSID is, then again follow the Above Procedure which is already used for discovering SSID in earlier steps.
  8. Check if the Authentication method used is OPN (Open Authentication) or SKA (Shared Key Authentication). If SKA is used, then bypassing mechanism needs to be performed.
  9. Check if the STA (stations/clients) are connected to AP (Access Point) or not. This information is necessary to perform the attack accordingly.

If clients are connected to the AP, an Interactive packet replay or ARP replay attack needs to be performed to gather IV packets which can be then used to crack the WEP key.

If there’s no client connected to the AP, Fragmentation Attack or Korex Chop Chop attack needs to be performed to generate the keystream which will be further used to reply to ARP packets.

10. Once the WEP key is cracked, try to connect to the network using WPA-supplicant and check if the AP is allotting any IP address or not.”EAPOL handshake”.

Wireless Penetration Testing with WPA/WPA2 Encrypted WLAN

  1. Start and Deauthenticate with WPA/WPA2 Protected WLAN client by using WLAN tools Such as Hotspotter, Airsnarf, Karma, etc.
  2. If the Client is Deaauthenticated, then sniff the traffic and check the status of captured EAPOL Handshake.
  3. If the client is not Deauthenticate then do it again.
  4. Check whether the EAPOL handshake is captured or Not.
  5. Once you captured the EAPOL handshake, then perform a PSK Dictionary attack using coWPAtty, Aircrack-ng to gain confidential information.
  6. Add Time-memory trade-off method (Rainbow tables) also known as WPA-PSK Precomputation attack for cracking WPA/2 passphrase. Genpmk can be used to generate pre-computed hashes.
  7. If it’s Failed then Deauthenticate again and try to capture again and redo the above steps.

LEAP Encrypted WLAN

  1. Check and Confirm whether WLAN is protected by LEAP Encryption or not.
  2. De-authenticate the LEAP Protected Client using tools such as karma, hotspotter, etc.
  3. If the client is De authenticated then break the LEAP Encryption using a tool such as asleap to steal the confidential information
  4. If the process dropped then de-authenticate again

Wireless Penetration Testing with Unencrypted WLAN

  1. Check whether SSID is Visible or not
  2. Sniff for IP range if SSID is visible then check the status of MAC Filtering.
  3. If MAC filtering is enabled then spoof the MAC Address by using tools such as SMAC
  4. Try to connect to AP using IP within the discovered range.
  5. If SSID is hidden then discover the SSID using Aircrack-ng and follow the procedure of visible SSID which I Declared above.

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BALAJI is an Ex-Security Researcher (Threat Research Labs) at Comodo Cybersecurity. Editor-in-Chief & Co-Founder - Cyber Security News & GBHackers On Security.

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