Given that the devices connect to the same Access Point, obviously share the same password, and are in range to pick up each other's radio, could malicious software on one of my laptops, given sufficient low-level access to the WiFi hardware, decrypt the traffic from my other laptop?


1 Answer 1


Let me tackle the first part of the question with the basics. Each node in the network has it's own encryption key with the access point. This makes it not possible to simply decrypt everyone's traffic just by sharing the network.

But, is it possible to get the other node's traffic? Yes. There are a variety of ways. For instance, I could mimic the AP and force the other nodes to connect through my laptop. Then I see everyone's traffic in the clear.

I'm making some assumptions as to what your core question is, though.

  • 1
    You're right but to be pedantic, a client can decrypt others' traffic if it's encrypted with a group key. There was a semi-recent but interesting paper on this: usenix.org/system/files/conference/usenixsecurity16/…
    – lorenzog
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 22:16
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    @lorenzog agreed, but to also be pedantic, I said that it is not possible to decrypt other nodes simply by sharing the network, you need a malicious method.
    – schroeder
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 7:24
  • True. I was making assumptions on the OP's question and implying there are hostile clients on the same network.
    – lorenzog
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 10:32

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