An Introduction to IP Spoofing (and How to Prevent It)

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Identity theft is always a threat, regardless of the medium. So-called “IP spoofing” is a common way for malicious users to gain quick credibility for their hacking attempts.

Given that every computer and server has a unique identifier (an “internet protocol” — or IP — address), almost anyone using the internet could be vulnerable. IP spoofing is a way to “fake” the appearance of a source address (such as an email address) as an impersonation technique. It can come in various forms, so you have to be on your guard.

Throughout this post, we will talk about IP spoofing, what it is, why you’re a target, and more. We’ll also talk about some of the most common IP spoofing attacks you will come up against, as well as some legitimate uses for IP spoofing.

What Is IP Spoofing?

In a general sense, IP spoofing takes a portion of the data you send over the internet and makes it seem as though it’s from a legitimate source. IP spoofing is a wide-ranging term for many different attacks:

  • IP address spoofing: This is a straightforward obfuscation of the attacker’s IP address to conduct denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, and more.
  • Domain name server (DNS) spoofing: This will modify the source IP of the DNS to redirect a domain name to a different IP.
  • Address resolution protocol (ARP) spoofing: An ARP spoofing attempt is one of the more complex attacks. It involves linking a computer’s media access control (MAC) address to a legitimate IP using spoofed ARP messages.

To get more technical, IP spoofing takes the data and changes some identifiable information at a network level. This makes spoofing almost undetectable.

For example, take a DoS attack.

This uses a collection of bots using spoofed IP addresses to send data to a particular site and server, taking it offline. Here, spoofing the IP makes the attack difficult to detect until it’s too late, and it’s similarly hard to trace after the fact.

Machine-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks also utilize IP spoofing because the MITM approach relies on faking trust between two endpoints. We’ll talk more about both of these attacks in greater detail later.

IP spoofing is a common way for malicious users to gain quick credibility, and almost anyone using the internet could be vulnerable. ? Learn more in this guide ?Click to Tweet

How IP Spoofing Happens

To better understand IP spoofing, let’s give you some context on how the internet sends and uses data.

Every computer uses an IP address, and any data you send is broken into many chunks (“packets”). Each packet travels on an individual basis. Then once they reach the end of the chain, they’re reassembled and presented as a whole. Moreover, every packet also has its identifiable information (a “header”) that will include the IP address from both the source and the destination.

In theory, this is supposed to ensure that data arrives at a destination free from tampering. However,

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This article was written by Salman Ravoof and originally published on Blog – Kinsta®.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the product, We may receive an affiliate commission.

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