A major vulnerability in the Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) protocol known as “KRACK” has been discovered by researchers, impacting nearly all devices supporting Wi-Fi connections. In a statement released by the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), KRACK operates by “exploiting a four-way handshake that’s used to establish a key for encrypting traffic… During the third step, the key can be resent multiple times [allowing] a cryptographic nonce [to be] reused in a way that completely undermines the encryption.” (Windows Central)
While Microsoft users have been issued a patch , Android versions above 6.0 (“Marshmallow”) are particularly vulnerable: according to AndroidCentral, “a preexisting security feature was attacked… [resulting in a useless] encryption token,” allowing attackers to “decrypt every packet over the network as well as forge packets to inject nasty stuff.”
WCCFTech offers the following suggestions to remain protected on faulty Wi-Fi networks:
- Try to stick to websites offering https since data transmitted through https is mostly secure.
- Avoid public Wi-Fi networks; if you have to use them, do that through a VPN service.
- You can also opt to use VPN while at home, since data gets another layer of protection through these services – if legitimate.
- If possible, use an Ethernet cable for internet connectivity since the exploit affects 802.11 traffic between a router and a device.
- Contact your vendor to make sure your network is being protected with the flaw being patched.
At the time of publication, Microsoft, Apple, and a host of GNU/Linux distributions and router vendors have already patched the exploit, with Amazon, Dell, and Netgear currently in the review process or rolling out model-based patches. A full list of affected vendors can be found at CERT’s Vulnerability Notes Database.
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