Visit complete Cyber Security roadmap

← Back to Topics List

Deauth Attack

A Deauthentication (Deauth) Attack is a type of Denial-of-Service (DoS) attack that specifically targets wireless networks. It works by exploiting how Wi-Fi devices communicate with one another, intentionally causing legitimate users to be disconnected from the access point. The attacker sends a flood of deauthentication (Deauth) frames to the targeted access point, effectively overwhelming it and forcing connected clients to disconnect.

How Does a Deauth Attack Work?

Deauth attacks take advantage of the management frames used in the 802.11 Wi-Fi standard. These control frames ensure efficient operation of communications between connected devices and include the authentication, association, and deauthentication subtypes. Since management frames are often not encrypted, attackers can easily generate and transmit fake deauthentication frames to force disconnections.

When a Deauth frame is received by a user’s device, it releases its connection to the access point, and the user must re-connect in order to reestablish data transfer with the Wi-Fi network.

Impacts and Consequences

Deauth attacks can cause the following problems:

  • Loss of connectivity: The most obvious consequence is that network connectivity is lost, disrupting any network-related activity and potentially causing loss of unsaved data.

  • Network congestion: As deauthenticated devices try to reconnect, this increased activity can cause network congestion, leading to further performance degradation.

  • Credentials theft: Deauth attacks can be used in conjunction with fake access points, allowing attackers to trick users into connecting to these malicious networks, and subsequently stealing their credentials and sensitive data.

How to Prevent Deauth Attacks

There isn’t a foolproof solution to protect against deauth attacks, particularly due to the inherent lack of encryption in management frames. However, you can take the following steps to reduce your risk:

  • Enable 802.11w (Protected Management Frames): Some routers support the 802.11w standard, which can protect deauthentication and disassociation frames through encryption.

  • Use a strong authentication method: Enabling strong methods like WPA3 and EAP-TLS on your network can help ensure that devices are more resistant to malicious disconnections.

  • Monitor your network for suspicious activity: Utilize a network monitoring tool or Wi-Fi analyzer to detect anomalies and possible deauth attack attempts.

  • Secure your access points: Regularly update your router’s firmware and configure its settings to disable remote management access, applying strong access credentials to minimize unauthorized access.

As an author of this guide, I advise you to stay diligent and follow the best practices in order to safeguard your network from deauth attacks and other security threats.

Community is the 6th most starred project on GitHub and is visited by hundreds of thousands of developers every month.

Roadmaps Best Practices Guides Videos Store YouTube by Kamran Ahmed

Community created roadmaps, articles, resources and journeys to help you choose your path and grow in your career.

© · FAQs · Terms · Privacy


The leading DevOps resource for Kubernetes, cloud-native computing, and the latest in at-scale development, deployment, and management.