WPA2 WiFi encryption compromised in KRACK crack

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The attack is catastrophically broad in scope, with Vanhoef noting that it "works against all modern protected Wi-Fi networks", and that "if your device supports Wi-Fi, it is most likely affected".

Any correct implementation of WPA2 is likely affected. This exploit only affects 802.11 traffic between a Wi-Fi router and a connected device.

A severe flaw in the encryption protocols used by almost all modern Wi-Fi networks could let attackers hijack encrypted traffic, steal passwords and even inject malware into smartphones and laptops. Android and Linux devices are particularly vulnerable, he added, because their encryption keys can be rewritten to all zeros.

All these vulnerabilities can be seen in action in the form of a proof-of-concept exploit dubbed KRACK, which is the short form for Key Reinstallation Attacks.

After the handshake has been given, an encryption key is issued which is used for all traffic between the two devices.

But that assumes each of the four messages in the handshake process is successfully received. Through it, hackers are able to access and decrypt everything that a person is doing on the internet. If an attacker sends a copy of this message, the client device will be tricked into reverting back to the original encryption key and initialization vector used at the start of the session.

The problem is that that one-time key can be transmitted more than one time. IP packet headers, in turn, provide exactly that.

Wi-Fi security has evolved to the extent that most modern routers are set up to be secure with strong encryption methods, built-in firewalls and other security measures devised to protect you from malicious attacks. The problem is made worse by Android and Linux, which don't force the client to demand a dedicated certificate.

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In total, the KRACK Attacks include 10 different vulnerabilities, 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 and CVE-2017-13088.

Vanhoef ended his write up by saying he believes more flaws in Wi-Fi will be discovered. Apple, Android and Windows software are all susceptible to some version of the vulnerability, which is not fixed by changing Wi-Fi passwords. It was also discovered that hackers could, at times, see information that was being transmitted to the device, meaning they could basically eavesdrop on the user's internet activity.

Vanhoef said knowledge of the weakness was disseminated to vendors the researchers had tested in July of this year, while CERT sent out a broad notification to vendors on 28 August. OpenBSD has already patched their WPA implementation, and Aruba, Mikrotik and Ubiquiti are among the vendors reported to have fixes ready or already deployed.

"Research has been published today (16 October) into potential global weaknesses to Wi-Fi systems", the spokesperson said. They should also update the firmware of their router.

"Wi-Fi Alliance now requires testing for this vulnerability within our global certification lab network and has provided a vulnerability detection tool for use by any Wi-Fi Alliance member", the statement said.

Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) was introduced shortly after TKIP in 2004 as WPA2, the new and improved WPA standard.

This is also not the first widespread security flaw affecting common network infrastructure to have been disclosed recently.

Use a wired network if your router and computer both have a spot to plug in an Ethernet cable.

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