If two access points are within close proximity of each other, and running on the same channel as one another, can data be captured from access point A by an attacker on access point B?

I know if A and B are both close and on the same channel it causes interference, almost like an entanglement of the two networks. If this interference occurred would someone be able to capture the network traffic from the opposing networks machines?

I know its a weird question but a friend had an issue where his neighbors network was on the same channel as his and he was able to see his neighbors devices from his network. He thought he was hacked at first, but after doing some tests he realized his neighbors router was broadcasting on the same channel. He switched channels and the unknown devices dissappeared. Could an attacker exploit this?

  • 2
    Since you are talking about WiFi networks, you do realize that all WiFi data is broadcast? That is, I could configure wireless card into promiscuous mode and capture all wireless traffic within ~20 meters? If you configure your WiFi to use WEP or have weak WPA2 passphrase you are not protected. That is - don't leave your router with default settings and act surprised when everyone can get in. – Kirill Sinitski Oct 25 '16 at 15:11
  • Yeah I know you can set your wifi card in prem mode, but not all wifi cards have that functionality. At least I don't believe they all do, I could be wrong on that though. If I am wrong please feel free to correct me, and ofc use strong pass phrases, and switch the default settings and disable the default backdoor. I just wasn't sure about being able to interact with visible devices from other networks. Thanks for the reply :) – JohnAnon Oct 25 '16 at 16:58
  • was the neighbor's network open? – dandavis Oct 25 '16 at 17:13
  • Honestly I'm not sure. It was my friend mike who had the issue, by the time I got back to him about it he had said he figured it out, and said it was caused by interference from his neighbors router. I'm not sure how that's possible, I've never heard of that so I wanted to check and see if it was at all possible, but as everyone here has stated its not possible. My first thought was a worm updating itself over the network, then applying the update to his machines which would explain the unusual traffic he seen, and the mysterious downloads that he seen. That was my original thoughts. – JohnAnon Oct 25 '16 at 19:20

No. What you describe is not a weakness and also the channels don't matter in terms of security. With airodump-ng you can immediately see all access points in your proximity and also the devices connected to them. This requires absolutely no technical skills (I might be wrong. Some people don't manage to set their network device into promiscous mode ;-)). The point is simply that on OSI layer 2 (802.11) the header information is not encrypted so you can easily see which MAC address belongs to which AP. This is not a matter of concern. I believe using the same channel as another AP in your environment might affect the availability or reliability of your network, but security is not a problem.

  • Ip header is inside Mac payload . Which is encrypted . Dot11 header goes unencrypted so Mac are visible – Arjun sharma Oct 25 '16 at 13:34
  • yes, sorry, I meant the mac information that allows to see the associations between stations and APs is not encrypted. Editing the answer. – kaidentity Oct 25 '16 at 17:48

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