Types of Attacks

For years, the focus on security has been at the network edge or the IP level (Open System Interconnection [OSI] Layer 3). As the popularity of Ethernet switching and wireless LANs grow, however, the emphasis on Layer 2 security has become more important. Yet, less public information is available regarding security risks in a Layer 2 environment and mitigating strategies of these risks. In addition, switches and wireless access points are susceptible to many of the same Layer 3 attacks as routers.

The most common types of Layer 2 attacks are as follows:

• CAM table overflow

• Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) manipulation

• MAC address spoofing

• DHCP "starvation"

The following sections discuss the most common Layer 2 attacks and recommended methods to reduce the effects of these attacks.

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