WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) is a security protocol that protects wireless networks from unauthorized access. However, WPA passwords are not immune to cracking, and there are several methods that hackers can use to break into your Wi-Fi network. In this article, we will explain how WPA passwords work, how they can be cracked, and how you can protect your network from such attacks.
How WPA Passwords Work
WPA passwords are based on a secret key that is shared between the router and the devices that connect to it. This key is used to encrypt and decrypt the data that is transmitted over the wireless network. The key is also used to generate a unique code called the PMKID (Pairwise Master Key Identifier) that identifies each device on the network.
The PMKID is sent by the router to the device during the authentication process, and it is derived from the key and other information such as the network name (SSID) and the MAC address of the device. The device then uses the key to calculate its own PMKID and compare it with the one sent by the router. If they match, the device is authenticated and allowed to join the network.
How WPA Passwords Can Be Cracked
There are two main ways to crack WPA passwords: offline and online. Offline cracking involves capturing the PMKID from the router and then using a brute-force or dictionary attack to guess the key. Online cracking involves sending fake authentication requests to the router and capturing the responses that contain the PMKID.
Offline cracking requires access to a device that is already connected to the network or has been connected before. This is because Windows stores a profile of every Wi-Fi network that it connects to, including the key. To extract the key from a Windows device, you can use a command prompt with administrative privileges and type the following commands:
netsh wlan show profile
This will show you a list of all the Wi-Fi networks that you have connected to. Pick the one that you want to crack and copy its name. Then type:
netsh wlan show profile name=\"XXXXXXXX\" key=clear
Replace XXXXXXXX with the network name that you copied. This will show you various information about the network, including the key under Security Settings.
If you don't have access to a Windows device, you can use a tool like Hashcat to capture the PMKID from the router. Hashcat is a popular password cracking tool that can perform various types of attacks, including offline WPA cracking. To use Hashcat, you need a wireless adapter that supports monitor mode and packet injection, and a wordlist file that contains possible passwords.
To capture the PMKID from the router, you need to run Hashcat in monitor mode and scan for nearby networks. You can do this by typing:
hashcat -m 16800 --force -w 3 -i wlan0mon
This will put your wireless adapter in monitor mode and display a list of networks with their BSSIDs (router MAC addresses), SSIDs (network names), channels, and signal strengths. Note down the BSSID and channel of the network that you want to crack.
Replace [channel] and [BSSID] with the values that you noted down. This will start capturing PMKIDs from the router and save them in a file called hashcat.hccapx.
To crack the PMKID, you need to run Hashcat in attack mode and use a wordlist file. You can do this by typing:
hashcat -m 16800 hashcat.hccapx [wordlist]
Replace [wordlist] with the path of your wordlist file. This will start trying different passwords from your wordlist until it finds a match or exhausts all possibilities.
Online cracking does not require access to a device that is connected to the network or has been connected before. It only requires access to a wireless adapter that supports monitor mode and packet injection. However, online cracking is ec8f644aee