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IP Spoofing

Definition: IP Spoofing is a technique used in cyber security to disguise a malicious actor's identity by manipulating the Internet Protocol (IP) address information contained in network packets. This practice allows the attacker to masquerade as a trusted user by using an IP address that is not associated with their actual location or computing device.

IP spoofing is frequently employed to conceal the origins of cyber attacks such as Denial of Service (DoS) or Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, making it harder to trace the attacks back to the actual source. It can also be utilised to gain unauthorised access to networks by ‘trusted’ IPs and to engage in session hijacking, where an attacker takes over a legitimate session between a client and a server.

Mitigation strategies against IP spoofing include implementing network security measures that verify the identity of senders and ensure that data packets are coming from legitimate and expected sources. Packet filtering, robust authentication protocols, and anti-spoofing technologies are commonly used to guard against this threat.

Key Characteristics:

  • Deceptive Identity: The primary goal of IP spoofing is deception, hiding the attacker’s true location and identity.
  • Network Traffic Manipulation: This involves altering the packet headers to contain a forged IP address.
  • Facilitating Additional Attacks: Often used as a stepping stone for more significant attacks, such as session hijacking and man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks.
  • Difficult to Trace: Makes it challenging for cyber security defenses to determine the origin of the attack or malicious traffic.


  • Real-World Example: During a DDoS attack, multiple systems might use IP spoofing to flood a target server with traffic, appearing to come from many different sources, overwhelming the server.
  • Hypothetical Scenario: An attacker spoofs the IP address of a device inside a corporate network to bypass the network firewall that allows traffic from known internal IPs.

Related Terms:

  • Denial of Service (DoS): A type of attack that floods a system with data, making it unavailable to legitimate users.
  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS): A more extensive form of DoS attack that uses multiple compromised systems to flood a target with excessive internet traffic.
  • Man in the Middle attack (MITM): A cyberattack where the attacker secretly intercepts and relays messages between two parties who believe they are directly communicating with each other.

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