What is MIC
This is the second part of one of our readers, valuable comment for making the series more easily understandable and as this is valuable command I am publishing it in front page for all of you.
This is second part of the previous article I posted. Consider is the next page of the same article.
TKIP Message Integrity Check (MIC)
Similar to TKIP, the Message Integrity Check (MIC) had also many versions before 802.11i defined it as a single standard. Once this was done, MIC became known as Michael although the acronym MIC still remains. Today with 802.11i, ratified MIC is Michael and vice versa. The protocol itself was created to help fight against the many message modification attacks that were prevalent in the WEP protocol. The IEEE 802.11i standard describes the need for MIC in the following quote: “Flaws in the IEEE 802.11 WEP design cause it to fail to meet its goal of protecting data traffic content from casual eavesdroppers. Among the most significant WEP flaws is the lack of a mechanism to defeat message forgeries and other active attacks. To defend against active attacks, TKIP includes a MIC, named Michael.” The MIC was created as a more secure method of handling integrity checking compared to the IVC in WEP.
The MIC is a hash that is calculated on a per-packet basis. This means a single MIC hash could span multiple frames and handle fragmentation. The MIC is also on a per-sender, per-receiver basis. This means that any given conversation has a MIC flowing from sender A to receiver B and a separate MIC flowing from sender B to receiver A.
The MIC is based on seed value, destination MAC, source MAC, priority, and payload. Unlike IC, MIC uses a hashing algorithm to stamp the packet, giving an attacker a much smaller chance to modify a packet and have it still pass the MIC. The seed value is similar to the WEP protocol’s IV. TKIP and MIC use the same IV space, although they have added an additional four octets to it. This was done to make the threat of using the same IV twice in a short time period less likely.
The MIC is also encrypted inside the data portion, which means it is not obtainable through a hacker’s wireless sniffer. To add to this, the TKIP also left the WEP IVC process, which then adds a second, less secure method of integrity checking on the entire frame. To combat message modification attacks, the TKIP and MIC went a step further and introduced the TKIP countermeasures procedures. This is a mechanism designed to protect against modification attacks. It works by having an access point shut down its communications if two MIC failures occur in 60 seconds. In this event, the access point would shut down for 60 seconds. When it comes back up, it would require that all clients trying to reconnect change their keys and undergo a re-keying. Some vendors allow one to define these thresholds, although the MIC standard calls out these values.
To prevent noise from triggering a TKIP countermeasure procedure, the MIC validation process is performed after a number of other validations. The validations performed before the MIC countermeasure validation are the frame check sum (FCS), integrity check sum (ICV), and TKIP sequence counter (TSC). If noise was to interfere with the packet and modify it, one of these other checks would be able to find it first, thus preventing the frame from incrementing the MIC countermeasure counter.
Pl keep in touch for more interesting articles on this topic.