A major security WiFi security weakness has been detected. The flaw belongs to the WPA2 protocol, the authentication process that secures all modern protected WiFi networks. So, chances are, you’re affected – the bug affects any WiFi enabled device: your smartphone, laptop, smart TV and even your eBook reader.
What Is The “Krack” WiFi Weakness
The reason this discovery is so concerning is because it is a problem with WiFi itself, not a specific piece of hardware or network. The flaw is found in the connection between a router and a device. If this process is compromised, attackers can exploit it. Specifically, attackers use a technique known as Key Reinstallation Attacks (KRACKS) to read information that was assumed to be safely encrypted.
What Attackers Can and Can’t Do
So what can an attacker actually do? Using this technique, an attacker can steal sensitive data. This includes everything from credit card numbers, passwords, emails, to photos and chat messages. Attackers can even put your device at risk through slipping malware into legitimate websites, depending on the network configuration.
How Can I Protect Myself?
The good news is that an attacker needs to be within range of your WiFi connection, meaning an attack would likely need to be pre-planned and specifically targeted. This significantly reduces the chance of your data being stolen, as attackers from other parts of the world are not able to intercept your connection.
Most devices can be protected with a simple software update. Microsoft has already released a patch for Windows that will fix the WPA2 flaw. And Apple will be releasing an update in the next few weeks. If you’re still concerned about the issue, check out our E-Safety Guide which gives more information about internet security.
If you’re really worried, you may want to consider using an ethernet cable for your essential devices. Using an ethernet cable turns off the wireless function, therefore protecting your connection from being intercepted.
Using Public WiFi
It is important to be aware that public WiFi connections might not be protected. The IT departments of major companies and local governments will already be working to fix this issue. However, smaller establishments may not be there yet. So, keep this in mind when connecting to public WiFi networks. You may prefer to use your data allowance.
The WiFi Alliance
The Wi-Fi Alliance is a non-profit organisation that defines the standards of WiFi technologies, including security. They have stated that computer users should not panic. There is no evidence to suggest this vulnerability has been exploited maliciously, and steps are being taken to ensure users can rely on their WiFi connection’s strong security protections.
Ever wondered how WiFi actually works? Check out our recent article – WiFi: How Does It Work? And Is It Dangerous? – to find out!