I accidentally ran this arp -a on a public wifi network(because it is in my terminal history). I killed the process almost immediately. I want to know if this would raise an alert for the network administrator as I do not want any trouble. Will this be considered as arp spoofing? Will this be regarded as a malicious attempt?

2 Answers 2


You have nothing to worry about. The arp -a command you ran would simply list the ARP cache tables on your local machine's interface(s) as explained on Microsoft's documentation site.

In order for your machine to communicate with other hosts on the same, internal network, MAC addresses are needed. Each interface should have an IP and MAC address. An ARP table is used to convert a machine's IP to its MAC address.

ARP Spoofing would require a bit more work to do, and by just running arp -a you are not sending anything onto the network that would put you into trouble.

  • Thank you for your detailed reply. Just out of curiosity: When I ran this command on my home network, the table was displayed instantaneously, but this time nothing had shown up before I killed it. Is this due to the large size of the table in a public wifi network?
    – charmsky
    Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 9:58
  • @user30673 My pleasure. That is interesting... I never experience such a delay. I guess depending on your machine's speed and the amount of entries on the cache this could create a slight delay, depending on how long it took you to kill the process. Nothing stops you from flushing the cache and have a new list being built from the scratch. The way to do this depends on your Operating System, though.
    – Lex
    Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 10:25
  • Seeing the delay also furthered my fear. I was afraid that my OS was sending out a barrage of network requests, raising flags.
    – charmsky
    Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 10:46
  • @user30673 I feel you fear, and I believe you do well in asking. It is good to know that more people are becoming security-aware.
    – Lex
    Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 10:49

arp -a is merely printing the contents of your existing ARP table in a "BSD style" output. That most definitely will not raise any flags.

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