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What is a Spoofing Attack?

A spoofing attack is a type of cyber-attack where the attacker conceals the original identity and pretends to be a trusted and authorized one to gain access to a computer or network. Attackers use spoofing attacks usually to steal data, spread malware, and access the control system.

Spoofing attacks could happen using phone, email, or website. However, an advanced spoof attack could steal your IP address, Domain Name System (DNS), Media Access Control Address (MAC), and Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) and disguise itself as an authorized identity.

However, spoofing may be used to obtain access to the victim's sensitive data, distribute malware via malicious links or attachments, circumvent internet connectivity restrictions, or distribute traffic in order to launch a Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack. It is common for cyber attackers to acquire access to the system required to bring out an enormous cyber strike like an advanced persistent or a man-in-the-middle attack.

What does spoofing Mean?

Spoofing is a cybersecurity term, especially a term that belongs to network security. It means falsifying any individual identity to gain trust and then motivating acquiring system access, stealing data, and spreading malware.

Successful attacks on businesses may result in compromised computers and networks, security breaches, or lost profits, both of which can harm the company's brand image. Furthermore, spoofing that causes internet activity to be rerouted may cause networks to become overburdened or redirect clients to fraudulent websites that steal data or distribute malware.

Consider a Denial of service (DoS) attack in which faked packets are sent via botnets or networks of hacked machines. IP spoofing attacks may be difficult to track since botnets, including thousands of machines, organize them.

Spoofing History

The first person who marks spoofing as a cyber security threat is the computer networking and security researcher Steve Bellovin. He discovered how the famous Morris Worm inventor Robert Morris made his first experiment of IP spoofing.

Morris deduced how Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) generated sequence numbers and created a fake TCP sequence packet. He was able to obtain system root access to the victim network without the need for a username or password by intercepting this packet, which contained the defendant's destination address.

What Does a Spoofing Attack Do?

Spoofing is often used to get access to personal data, commit fraud, bypass internet connectivity restrictions, or distribute malware via infected files or links. Attackers attempt to utilize spoofing to steal your sensitive data and assets using any kind of digital communication.

Spoofing usually consists of several segments: the spoofing itself, such as a fake website or email, and the social engineering element, which encourages victims to act. Spoofers may write an email posing as a trusted coworker or boss, requesting to move to funds online and giving a plausible reason for the request.

Spoofing may be used on a variety of communication routes and requires varying degrees of technical expertise. The spoofing attack must include some degree of social engineering to be effective. This implies that the techniques used by fraudsters are successful in convincing their victims to provide personal information.

How Does Spoofing Work?

Spoofing uses data packets, a fundamental feature of the internet, including both the recipient and receiver internet addresses exchanged among users. The identification of data packets would be the start of a series of interactions across networks. These simple exchanges form the basis for spoofing attacks.

The target network sees a different IP than the recipient's actual IP address. Whenever the target network makes a response to the sender, it flows to the IP the sender supplied. Despite flowing to the sender's actual target, the data packet is sent to the fake return that has been spoofed.

The attack may overload its target if more and more packets arrive at the same time from enough faked addresses. A Denial of Service (DoS) attack occurs when a large amount of data floods the target's network, rendering it unable to serve the internet.

Blind spoofing is yet another method through which this attempt may be carried out. This is a far more complex and sophisticated approach to a spoofing attack. The offender does not stay on the same local subnet when the attack is conducted this way. This implies that many of the bits of information needed for the attacker to succeed aren't accessible. These crucial characteristics must be estimated. Because most contemporary operating systems utilize very random sequence values, this kind of attack is difficult to carry out.

What are Types of Spoofing?

There are several types of spoofing attacks. Depending on the attack surface, cybercriminals initiate a variety of levels of spoofing attacks to gain unauthorized access and steal data. In a Spoofing Attack, several components are involved. Besides internet traffic packets, IP address spoofing attack works differently in DNS, Email, and website spoofing.

1. Caller ID Spoofing

The practice of altering the Caller ID toward any number besides the actual caller ID is known as Caller ID spoofing. Whenever the cybercriminal deliberately misrepresents information sent to conceal the number they call, it occurs.

To mislead you towards taking the call, the phone shown on your Caller ID may seem to be from a trusted source like a government organization, a company, or someone you know. If the caller's goal is to scam, hurt, or trick you into giving information, you wouldn't typically disclose it over the cellphone.

Scammers may use a variety of techniques to generate false caller IDs. Scammers utilize VoIP to create phony numbers, which is by far the most frequent and popular method (VoIP). Scammers may use open-source VoIP software or register an account with a VoIP service that enables them to replace their initial phone number with whatever number they choose.

Caller ID Spoofing attack

Figure 1. Caller ID Spoofing attack

How to avoid caller id spoofing attacks?

Identifying and filtering spam calls is the very first step towards protecting spoof calls. This may be done by checking your phone provider ser.

Many phone carrier companies give spam filtering and fraud alerts, but you may need to pay out additional money each month for these.

You may also use third-party applications to filter incoming calls, but you should remain aware of not disclosing personal information to these companies in the process.

2. IP Spoofing

IP spoofing is the technique of generating an internet packet with a changed source address to cover up or impersonate another target network. The ultimate aim would always be getting access to steal data like personal or business information. However, attackers have been known to exploit people's online identities to conduct crimes or to launch massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

IP spoofing attack

Figure 2. IP spoofing attack

What is Involved in an IP Address Spoofing Attack?

In networking technology, packets are the unit that combines internet traffic and contains an IP header. Usually, IP headers have two types of data: the source IP address and the packet request's destination.

In an IP Spoofing attack, the attacker makes a packet with a modified source IP address. In this way, the receiver sees the packet is from a known or important source.

How to Prevent IP Address Spoofing Attack?

To start, make sure that firewalls and routers are set correctly, stop fake internet data, and do not allow it to get through. Firewall providers have included a customizable anti-spoofing defense system to prevent the use of private addresses on the external interface for many days in network security.

Furthermore, the external interface should not accept any addresses used for the internal network range, even as the source. You should also prohibit source IP addresses from transmitting spoofed data to any network beyond your legitimate public network range.

3. DNS Server Spoofing

DNS spoofing, widely known as DNS cache poisoning, is an attack where the attacker modifies DNS records to redirect internet traffic to a fake website that looks exactly like the original destination.

Usually, two standard methods are used for DNS server spoofing attacks. They are-

i. Man in the middle

Where the attacker finds the attack surface between the browser and DNS server. Accordingly, he gets the opportunity to penetrate both the browser and the server.

ii. DNS hijacking

Where the attacker directly modifies the credentials in the domain name system (DNS). A successful DNS hijacking attack results showing a fake website for a domain.

DNS hijacking

Figure 3. DNS hijacking

How to avoid DNS Server Spoofing attacks?

There are many DNS security standard procedures available to assist in fending off attackers and keeping your systems safe and protected. Because DNS server is constantly communicating with each other, the more businesses that follow the best practices, the better the overall IT security.

It's critical to keep a watch on DNS data and look for new trends that may signal the existence of an attacker, such as the emergence of a new outbound host.

DNS servers, on the other hand, have security flaws. Keeping up with the latest updates may help protect you against attackers who are trying to take advantage of well-known flaws.

4. Email Spoofing

Email spoofing is the type of cyber attack where fake sender information appears as the original entity. It is primarily used in phishing, spear-phishing, and spam attacks because people willingly open the email from their known source.

Email spoofing has become a problem since the 1970s, considering the way email protocols operate. After the 1990s, the problem got increasingly widespread, and after the 2000s, it turned into a worldwide cybersecurity concern.

Protecting measures against email spoofing has developed in 2014. Email service providers could detect spam and phishing links better than previously. They directly send the suspicious email into the spam folder or reject it to be delivered.

How to Prevent Email Spoofing?

Uses of Implement Small form-factor pluggable transceiver (SFP), DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), and Domain Message Authentication Reporting (DMARC) protocols is a useful to stay protected from email spoofing.

However, the Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME) email signing certificate is used to encrypt the email and to keep it hidden from the attacker.

Check and verify the senders' information before you reply, take any action, or download any attachment. Keep aware of network security best practices and do not let the attacker manipulate to share any information over email.

5. Website Spoofing

Website spoofing is the construction of a fake version of a legitimate website to divert users to a phishing or malicious website. Making the spoofing site seem genuine, the attacker uses a similar logo, font, color to fool the visitors. Anyone with access to web page tools may quickly construct a phony website with a faked domain URL.

Phishing emails may be sent individually or in bulk with spoofed website addresses. The objective, in any instance, is to persuade a target to click on a malicious link or file.

Hackers may use website spoofing to obtain access to personal identifying information of protected health information, distribute malware, or circumvent network access protocol.

Website spoofing attack

Figure 4. Website spoofing attack

How to prevent Website Spoofing?

To prevent website spoofing, anti-spoofing software works detecting and blocking the spoofed URL. Firewalls are also used to detect and avoid spoofing websites. The next-generation firewalls can detect and block spoofing websites effectively. However, security concerns are still growing.

According to Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) data, most phishing attempts utilize URLs rather than domain names; thus, there would be a lot of webpage spoofing that OpenDNS wouldn't be able to detect.

Moreover, DNS filtering could also protect you from website spoofing attacks. When a person tries to visit one of these malicious websites, their DNS gets banned.

6. ARP Spoofing

ARP spoofing includes sending false Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) messages to the local area network.

Cybercriminals use ARP spoofing effectively to take control of every file on the system. You may be observed, or the traffic might come to a stop until you pay off the attacker's demand.

The Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) operates in the data link layer (layer 2) of the networking Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model. As it connects the physical networking interface, spoofing the ARP misles the traffic to another destination.

To gain control of a LAN, hackers follow a set of procedures. They transmit a fake ARP packet, a query that links towards the spoof, then take control.

Arp spoofing attack

Figure 5. Arp spoofing attack

How to prevent ARP Spoofing attacks?

As described earlier, an ARP spoofing attack works with the MAC and the IP address. So, initially, keeping them secure and hard to penetrate could save you from an ARP spoofing attack.

Network hubs, switches, routers, all the equipment dealing with MAC, and IP addresses should remain free from vulnerabilities. Based on the attack surface, the ARP spoofing attack could penetrate any of your network components when certain security is lacking.

Preventing ARP Spoofing is more likely overall thinking of the secure digital experience. However, identifying the most common security vulnerabilities and the patch could protect you from a wide range of ARP spoofing attacks.

What are Spoofing Features?

Spoofing attacks are among the most diverse vulnerabilities that contemporary businesses are facing. While many cyberattacks follow a similar pattern, spoof attacks occur in a variety of shapes and sizes, each with its own set of risks and objectives. Sometimes when the attacker is looking for more information, while other times, the hacker is trying to take down your critical services.

While you won't be able to prevent every attack from succeeding, becoming aware of the dangers and taking measures to reduce the chances of an attacker succeeding can help keep the network access.

DNS traceroute tools are used to identify a spoofing attack. The attacker must fake the DNS response to launch a DNS spoofing attack.

You can check in which the DNS request was responded to by using DNS traceroute tools. You'll be able to view the DNS server destination and check whether the DNS response has been faked.

How is Spoofing Done?

In the oldest form, spoofing is the act of pretending to be someone else over the phone or the internet. Phone spoofing occurs when a caller pretends to be from your bank or credit card company and requests personal information, such as account credentials or credit card numbers. Phone number spoofing, the practice of falsifying caller ID information, has become popular among spoofers as a way to pass as the real thing.

Spoofing that occurs on the internet, on the other hand, may be very complex. Fraudulent emails are the most common method, although other techniques such as spoofing devices and addresses are also used. Most spoofing attempts, irrespective of the kind, are destructive. Cyberattackers who are with these malicious activities are generally looking to obtain access to the victim's private information, spread malware, break into the victim's network, or inflict financial damage on the victim via cybersecurity threats.

An unidentified hacker group launched the first-ever large-scale DNS spoofing assault on three Florida-based community banks in 2006. All three websites had their servers compromised, and traffic was redirected to bogus login pages where sensitive data was stolen from unsuspecting users.

To secure your privacy, you may need to use a spoof phone number, IP address, or even a false identity. However, using spoofing to commit fraud or other criminal conduct is against the law.

How to Protect Against Spoofing Attacks?

Protecting against spoofing attacks is not something isolated that any single patch could keep the system secure. Ratchet is a combined aspect of keeping the whole internal and external IT infrastructure safe.

Often spoofing attacks are used to steal information to design another even more drastic cyber attack. Aside from the networking interface, the following practice will help you to protect against spoofing attacks.

1. Minimize trust agreements

Businesses should establish procedures that depend as few as practicable on interpersonal trust. Because the attacker solely utilizes the relationship of trust to steal IP addresses for authentication.

It's better to rely on constructive communication other than believing or relying on one's statement. As it is an abstract emotion, the chances of being exploited are high. Minimizing such an agreement could prevent you as well as your business from spoofing attacks.

2. Filtering of the packet

As packets are sent over a network, packet filters examine them to identify any unusual packet transportation. It helps prevent IP address spoofing attacks because they may filter out and reject packets that do not have access to enter the network.

In most cases, packet filtering is the firewall process common in the advanced firewall features.

3. Use spoofing detection tools

There are many security tools available to detect and prevent spoofing attacks. Using the right security tool with spoofing detecting features or a dedicated spoofing detecting technology could protect from the common spoofing attacks.

Aside from the firewalls and other network security tools, dedicated spoofing detection tools are available to protect your computer or network from a variety of spoofing attacks.


You may use the Zenarmor Security Control feature for detecting and preventing spoofing attacks. You can get near-real-time commercial-grade threat tracking and protection with Sunny Valley's Advanced Threat Protection feed.

4. Use Cryptographic protocol

Traditional networking protocols often struggle to prevent a spoofing attack. The cryptographic protocol could encrypt network packet requests to avoid cyberattacks like the man in the middle of the machine in the middle.

Transport Layer Security (TLS), Secure Shell (SSH), HTTP Secure (HTTPS) are used to encrypt the data before transmitting it to the destination.

5. Train the employee

Tools or software can not prevent your organization without the proper training of your employee on cyber security best practices and fundamentals. They should be taught how spoofing attacks work and how to detect conventional cyber attacks like spoofing, phishing, and social engineering.

Train them to avoid suspicious websites and emails and not to do any action before verifying the sender's identity. Besides, strictly notify them not to respond to any email that requests the password, personal information, or even financial data.