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16 Octubre 2017, 05:22 | Bibiana Flor
Severe flaw in WPA2 protocol leaves Wi-Fi traffic open to eavesdropping
The KRACK (key reinstallation attacks) research claims this weakness could not only be used to intercept data travelling between your phone and the wi-fi access point, such as passwords and credit card numbers, but also to inject malicious software into websites. According to a security researcher who spoke to Ars Technica, hackers can compromise encryption around Wi-Fi traffic by establishing a key for encrypting such traffic in certain ways.
In order to prevent your device from the cybercriminals, you need to update your system as and when the latest security updates are available. This means that, while routers may be vulnerable, the priority for users will be to update clients, such as laptops, smartphones, IoT devices and the like.
"The impact of exploiting these vulnerabilities includes decryption, packet replay, TCP connection hijacking, HTTP content injection, and others", US-CERT warned vendors on August 28.
To minimize connection problems, the WPA and WPA2 standards let the router transmit the one-time key as many as three times if it does not receive an acknowledgement from the client device that the one-time key was received.
As a quick WPA refresher, the password you type in to connect to an access point using WPA2 is not directly used as the encryption key for the network traffic your device exchanges with the access point. The user needs to be within Wi-Fi range of a smartphone or laptop to attack it.
While this encryption key is meant to be unique the WPA2 protocol allows an attacker to manipulate the handshake and reuse a key as Vanhoef discovered.
Vanhoef wrote: "The attack works against all modern protected Wi-Fi networks". The key reinstallation attack against is "exceptionally devastating" Linux and Android 6.0, he notes.
A staggering number of devices across the globe are likely to be exposed to attack due to WPA2 breach, which occurred at 7 a.m. EDT Sunday.
This morning everyone is waking up to discover their Wi-Fi security is vulnerable to attack. Multiple vendors have already issued patches to fix the issues.
Vanhoef says his findings center on 10 specific flaws, each of which has been assigned a Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures identifier and help track affected products.
Furthermore, this is primarily an attack against clients; devices connected to a network, not routers. So, nearly every Wi-Fi network could have been compromised.
Although Vanhoef suggests that the attack is most impactful against the four-way handshake, the same exploit can also be employed against the group key, PeerKey, TDLS and Fast BSS Transition handshakes as well.
"Until the issue is fixed via a router firmware update - if possible - or WPA2 is superseded, everyone should adopt an additional level of caution when sending sensitive information to online servers", he said. On Sunday, the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US CERT) issued a warning that the organization has stumbled upon various management issues in the 4-way handshake of the Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) security protocol.
However, it may be hard to update some older Wi-Fi routers. "This creates an encrypted tunnel between your device and a VPN server which then routes you onto whatever website or app you are trying to access".
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