In any residential building, there is a multitude of WPA2-protected wireless access points.

Yesterday I was at a friend's and attempted to launch aircrack-ng against their AP (with permission). I was assured that there is a linux laptop currently connected. However, I was unable to acquire the device's MAC, to pass to aircrack-ng.

I would like to acquire a list of all wireless devices inbound, with their respective MAC and IP. If this is possible. I do not have the WPA2 password.

I know that the first step is to put my network card in monitor mode.

# airmon-ng <start|stop> <interface> [channel] or airmon-ng <check|check kill> 
sudo airmon-ng start wlan0 2

As a second step, I attempted iwlist scan. However, this returned only a list of AP-s, that is, devices in Master mode.

Is there some communication between a connected device and the respective AP if no services are running, just to keep the connection alive? How do I monitor this traffic?

Can I use something line tcpdump wlan0 to do this? If yes, how can I get the MAC data out of the packets?

  • 1
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is asking for help regarding the usage and operation of specific tools in a specific case. Such information is freely available all over the Internet. Voted to close.
    – Adi
    Commented Sep 5, 2013 at 9:30
  • @Adnan, well, I am asking which tools to use. Reading manuals, while pedagogical, is very time consuming, if the manual refers to the wrong tool.
    – Vorac
    Commented Sep 5, 2013 at 11:54
  • Plus, I am asking if there exists ongoing communication between a (passive) authenticated device and the AP. If the answer is "no", then no tool would help me!
    – Vorac
    Commented Sep 5, 2013 at 11:55

2 Answers 2


You are searching for airodump-ng (interface) !

Main steps in short:

1) Put monitor mode


2) Dump (This step is what you are searching for)

airodump-ng mon0

3) Generate some traffic


Wait for the handshake.

4) Crack it with a list

Use the John the Ripper as word list to crack the WPA/WP2 password.

aircrack-ng -w /pentest/passwords/john/password.lst wpacrack-01.ivs

Here is the full description! (I assume you use BT)

backtrack wep crack

HOWTO : WPA/WPA2 cracking with Back|Track 5

  • I was using this tutorial where they assume I know the client's MAC. Will airodump-ng report a device, that is already authenticated prior to my arrival at the scene?
    – Vorac
    Commented Sep 5, 2013 at 12:05
  • According to this site link ! What's the meaning of the fields displayed by airodump-ng ? Airodump-ng will display a list of detected access points!
    – Raymond
    Commented Sep 5, 2013 at 12:17
  • Oh, I get it now - airodump listens to any packets, directed at the AP. Then, if I did not capture a valid handshake, use the listed MAC to de-authenticate the client. Got it.
    – Vorac
    Commented Sep 5, 2013 at 12:23

You can also use Kismet in order to passively scan for wireless devices, it comes with Kali Linux distribution (formerly Backtrack).

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