Researchers have identified a serious security flaw in the IEEE 802.11 WiFi protocol standard, which can be exploited by hackers to trick access points into leaking network frames in plaintext form. Frames are data containers that hold important information such as source and destination MAC addresses, control and management data.
The flaw affects various devices and operating systems, including Linux, FreeBSD, iOS, and Android, and can be used for client spoofing, frame redirection, and capturing. The flaw arises due to power-saving mechanisms that allow WiFi devices to conserve power by buffering or queuing frames destined for sleeping devices. The researchers have created custom tools that can intercept traffic destined for other clients at the MAC layer. Cisco has acknowledged the issue, admitting that it may be successful against its Wireless Access Point and Meraki products. However, the company believes that the acquired data is of minimal value in a securely configured network. There are currently no known cases of malicious use of the flaw.