By Nate Lewis
Cue the feature images of shady people in hoodies. Researchers have reported that the WPA2 security protocol at the heart of nearly every modern wireless device has been broken. In summary, this means that almost every wireless-enabled device is at risk of attack.
This bug refers to “KRACK” for Key Reinstallation Attack and exposes a fundamental flaw in WPA2, a common security protocol used in security a majority of wireless networks. The flaw was found by Mathy Vanhoef, a computer security academic. Vanhoef says the weakness lies in the protocol’s four-way handshake, which securely allows new devices with a pre-shared password to join the network.
At worst, this weakness can allow attackers to decrypt network traffic from a WPA2-enabled device , take over connections, and inject content into the traffic stream. For the layperson, this means that your wireless devices are exposed to eavesdropping.
News of the vulnerability was later confirmed on Monday by US Homeland Security’s cyber-emergency unit US-CERT, which about two months ago had confidentially warned vendors and experts of the bug,
At its heart, the flaw is found in the cryptographic nonce, a randomly generated number used to prevent attacks. In this particular case, an attacker can trick a victim into reinstalling a key that’s already in use. Reusing the nonce number can allow an attacker the encryption by replaying, decrypting, or forging packets.
The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team issued the following warning in response to the exploit:
US-CERT has become aware of several key management vulnerabilities in the 4-way handshake of the Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) security protocol. The impact of exploiting these vulnerabilities includes decryption, packet replay, TCP connection hijacking, HTTP content injection, and others. Note that as protocol-level issues, most or all correct implementations of the standard will be affected. The CERT/CC and the reporting researcher KU Leuven, will be publicly disclosing these vulnerabilities on 16 October 2017.
For more on the WPA2 break, check out krackattacks.com
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