A mobile ad hoc network (MANET) is a collection of mobile nodes which are able to communicate with each other without relying on predefined infrastructures or central administration. Due to their flexibilities and easy deployment, MANET can be applied in situation where network infrastructures are not available. However, due to their unique characteristics such as open medium and the lack of central administration, they are much more vulnerable to malicious attacks than a conventional infrastructured wireless network. MANET employs routing to provide connectivity for mobile nodes that are not within direct wireless transmission range. Existing routing protocols in MANET assume a trusted and cooperative environment. However, in hostile environment, mobile nodes are susceptible to various kinds of routing attacks. In this paper, we show that an OLSR MANET node is prone to be isolated by malicious attack called Node Isolation attack. After analysing the attack in detail, we present a technique to mitigate the impact of the attack and improve the performance of the network when the attack is launched. The results of our implementations illustrate that the proposed solution can mitigate the attack efficiently. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.