Wi-Fi Flaw Leaves An Ever-Larger Internet Of Things Vulnerable

Short for Wi-Fi Protected Access II, WPA2 is the security protocol used by most wireless networks today. According to a report by Ars Technica, the researchers have indexed the security flaws as, "CVE-2017-13077, CVE-2017-13078, CVE-2017-13079, CVE-2017-13080, CVE-2017-13081, CVE-2017-13082, CVE-2017-13084, CVE-2017-13086, CVE-2017-13087, CVE-2017-13088".

Practically any device capable of sending or receiving a Wi-Fi signal is affected.

Android 6.0 and Linux have been considered most vulnerable to KRACK attacks, with nobody able to be confident of security until providers issue patches that tackle the problem.

Researchers this week published information about a newfound, serious weakness in WPA2 - the security standard that protects all modern Wi-Fi networks.

"Adversaries can use this attack to decrypt packets sent by clients, allowing them to intercept sensitive information such as passwords or cookies", he wrote.

"Additionally, it's likely that you don't have too many protocols relying on WPA2 security". But the key itself cannot be broken or forged, so the attacker can't forge a key and join the network-instead, they have to use a "cloned" access point that uses the same MAC address as the access point of the targeted network, on a different Wi-Fi channel.

The researcher goes on to say that WPA2 implementations can be patched in a backwards-compatible manner, meaning that a patched client can communicate with an unpatched access point, and vice versa.

Vanhoef first warned users about this kind of attack at the Black Hat conference, where he discussed "networking protocols, with a focus on the Wi-Fi handshake that authenticates a user joining a network".

The US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), part of the US Department of Homeland Security, on Sunday issued a public advisory ahead of detailed disclosure of the bug, warning the issue could allow "decryption, packet replay, TCP connection hijacking, HTTP content injection, and others".

Mathy Vanhoef, a postdoctoral student at KU Leuven in Belgium who helped develop KRACK, says that "depending on the network configuration, it is also possible to inject and manipulate data".

Ideally, all manufacturers and developers will patch their products to fix this issue.

Applying all these practices may not guarantee protection from Krack, but it will reduce your chances of getting hacked.

The website krackattacks.com is now live and provides details on the recently known WPA2 exploit proof-of-concept known as KRACK (Key Reinstallation Attack).

On a positive note, remote attacks using this exploit alone are impossible as the hacker would need to be in physical proximity to the router Alan Woodward, encryption expert from the University of Surrey explained that the attack is not scalable: "It's a very targeted attack". Changing passwords, for example, is not a sufficient step. This results in the encryption key being rewritten to all-zeros, which makes it trivial to hack.

If you're anxious about your security, various solutions can help you mitigate the problem while you wait for hardware companies to update router firmware.

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