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USENIX, The Advanced Computing Systems Association

15th USENIX Security Symposium Abstract

Pp. 167–178 of the Proceedings

Passive Data Link Layer 802.11 Wireless Device Driver Fingerprinting

Jason Franklin, Carnegie Mellon University; Damon McCoy, University of Colorado, Boulder; Parisa Tabriz, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Vicentiu Neagoe, University of California, Davis; Jamie Van Randwyk, Sandia National Laboratories; Douglas Sicker, University of Colorado, Boulder


Motivated by the proliferation of wireless-enabled devices and the suspect nature of device driver code, we develop a passive fingerprinting technique that identifies the wireless device driver running on an IEEE 802.11 compliant device. This technique is valuable to an attacker wishing to conduct reconnaissance against a potential target so that he may launch a driver-specific exploit.

In particular, we develop a unique fingerprinting technique that accurately and efficiently identifies the wireless driver without modification to or cooperation from a wireless device. We perform an evaluation of this fingerprinting technique that shows it both quickly and accurately fingerprints wireless device drivers in real world wireless network conditions. Finally, we discuss ways to prevent fingerprinting that will aid in improving the security of wireless communication for devices that employ 802.11 networking.

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Last changed: 20 Sept. 2006 ch