Krack is a security vulnerability recently discovered by Security Researcher – Mathy Vanhoef. This security vulnerability can potentially compromise billions of users on Wi-Fi network using the WPA and WPA2 protocol. Today’s article will shed light on KRACK in great detail and offer tips on how to protect yourself against this latest security vulnerability.
KRACK, which stands for Key Reinstallation Attack, is the latest security flaw that left billions of devices exposed to hackers, giving them complete access to the user’s network traffic. This vulnerability is not just another type of weakness in cybersecurity, as the vulnerability exists in the Wi-Fi network itself and not because of any flaw in the product or technical implementations.
The extent of its massive impact still remains to be known in the coming weeks, with Internet of things (IoT) devices identified as the most vulnerable of them all. This is because IoT manufacturers often neglect to adopt security standards and/or update their systems, leading more unpatched IoT devices exposed to security vulnerabilities.
How does KRACK Work?
Any devices based on iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, and Linux are likely to be vulnerable to this attack, just as long as it is connected to Wi-Fi. So how does it work? It starts with the hacker setting up a Wi-Fi network identical to the SSID assigned to a wireless network used by a specific user.
Once the hacker detects that the user tries to connect to either wireless networks, it will intercept the network by sending special packets that divert the device to another network where they can decrypt the traffic–paving a way for malicious activities to take place.
The hacker does not need to connect to the wireless network at all. They only need to snoop on the decrypted data transmitted through Wi-Fi, regardless if it’s protected by a password. Essentially, this vulnerability does not try to break the WI-Fi password. Instead, it changes the encryption key to decrypt the network traffic, allowing it access to the user’s data like credit card numbers, emails, and password.
Luckily, KRACK is not as simple to implement, since hackers need to be within the Wi-Fi network range. You can’t perform it remotely, unlike with previous security vulnerabilities like Heartbleed. Therefore, reducing the risk of an average person to be a likely target of KRACK.
How to Protect Yourself from KRACK?
Most of the devices running on iOs, Android, Windows, and Linux have already started issuing new security patches. Make sure that you keep your devices always up-to-date. Here are other tips to keep your data from KRACK:
A Virtual Private Network adds another layer of security, which works like a concealed tunnel that encrypts data transmitted from your device. Huge corporations generally use VPNs as a method to secure communication when connecting remotely to their data centers.
More and more individual users are increasingly adopting it especially when accessing WIFI from an insecure environment (coffee shop, airport or hotel Wi-Fi). It uses a combination of encryption protocols and dedicated connections to create a P2P connection. So, even if someone was able to funnel some of the data, they still can’t access them due to encryption.
Check for HTTPS
See if the website you’re browsing from has a green lock icon on the address bar. This indicates that the website runs on HTTPS (a secure HTTP version), a protocol used to transmit data between the browser and the website. It indicates that the connection is secure.
It combines ordinary HTTP and SSL (Secure Socket Layer) and/or TSL protocol. Both SSL and TSL runs an asymmetric Public Key Infrastructure System that allows the identification and distribution of public encryption keys. SSL encrypts the data exchanged between computers and servers, making it hard for hackers to intercept.
Keep devices always updated
Check if your device has firmware updates and make sure to install them as soon as it’s available. While products and technology may continue to evolve, they are still far from perfect. More often than not, there will be some loopholes in the software system. It’s just a matter of time before third parties can discover and exploit them.
Tech giants like Google and Apple will often ask their employees to hack into their system with a goal to uncover and resolve any flaws that malicious hackers can use to their advantage. Even if a mobile app may not offer any new features besides bug fixes, it’s still worth the update as this prevents your device from being hacked in the future.
Related Post: How to Stay Safe when Using Public Wi-Fi
Stay Safe with HTTPS
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