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Open Wireless Networks

In the realm of ethical hacking and penetration testing, one of the critical areas of focus is the examination of open wireless networks. These networks, devoid of encryption, lay bare their traffic to anyone equipped with a wireless sniffer. This vulnerability is particularly evident in public hotspots and older mesh networks.

Understanding the intricacies of the connection process is pivotal for ethical hackers seeking to uncover potential weaknesses. The sequence of events unfolds as follows:

  1. Authentication Request from Client to Access Point (AP): The initial step in establishing a connection involves the client sending an authentication request to the Access Point. This pivotal interaction sets the stage for the subsequent phases.

  2. Authentication Response from AP: Upon receiving the authentication request, the Access Point promptly responds with an authentication status. A successful response signals the green light for the connection to proceed.

  3. Association Request from Station (STA) to Access Point: Following successful authentication, the Station initiates the connection by sending an association request to the Access Point. This step solidifies the client's intent to join the network.

  4. Association Response from Access Point: The Access Point, acting as the gatekeeper, evaluates the capabilities of the client against its own. If the client's capabilities align with those of the Access Point, an association response is dispatched, formalizing the connection.