What you need to know and do about the WPA2 KRACK vulnerability

Today, we take Wi-Fi for granted. We expect to be able to access the Internet easily and without problems, regardless of where we are and which device we are using.

However, millions of users are at risk due to a previously unknown fault in the software that Wi-Fi devices rely on, that affects the security protocols that were designed to keep us safe from malicious intrusion.


This fault is now known by the acronym KRACK, and you need to know about it!

Are we safe?

As our expectations of the Internet have grown, the technology connecting us to this ever-expanding frontier, has had to advance with it. But the scary thing is, the vast majority of consumers do not take into account what is going on technologically, for them to connect their device to a network. Most don't even care!

Fortunately,  the IT sector knows too well the security risks involved. Some experts in the industry say that USB sticks are the biggest security flaw of recent times, but with good reason, it could be said that Wi-Fi is now just as worrying..

That being said, most Internet providers do a very good job at protecting their users from the malicious entities within the technical world, that we are all at risk from. Firewalls and increasing levels of encryption provide military-grade protection keep us safe.... or so we thought.


Old Faithful

In recent weeks, information has come to light that there is a fundamental flaw with the implementation of the Wi-Fi protocol, WPA2. Designed by the Wi-Fi Alliance (sadly, not a group of superheroes) and coming into effect in 2004, WPA2 was created anticipating the rapid advancement of tech with its ravenous desire for Internet access, and the privacy and security that is required.

This protocol has been keeping our Internet safe for over 10 years. With the new information that WPA2 is 'hackable', devices are vulnerable and a quick response is needed.


Who is at risk?

So, what exactly is it, that has suddenly rendered A LOT of tech at risk?

Well, it's something you've probably never heard of ...Key Reinstallation Attacks, or as it’s more commonly known, KRACK. These attacks work against unpatched WPA2 protected Wi-Fi networks. Depending on the network configuration and the device, it is possible to inject and manipulate data, as well as eavesdrop on communications over the air. The only main limitation is that an attacker needs to be within connectivity range of a victim to exploit those weaknesses.

With alarm bells ringing many large tech corporations have pushed out software upgrades to mitigate threats on their devices, and thus  their users from being at risk. This newly discovered fault exists not only on Access Points that users connect to, but also on their end devices (e.g.) mobile phones, and tablets. So not only does the Access Point software need to be patched, but the end device software also needs updating, to ensure that there are no potential vulnerabilities in the network chain. You should be aware that although the network provider will patch their equipment, updating devices like your mobile needs to be updated by yourself (if the manufacturer hasn't done it already that is). To be extra safe, the best advice here is to update the device, even if it has been updated recently.

There is one software eco-system that is a worry. Android's open-source business model leaves users that have purchased an Android handset, at the highest level of risk. This is due to how the 'pushing' of software updates are administered. Sadly this differs very much manufacturer by manufacturer, the device being used and if they are still releasing updates. Android users do not all fall in one big pot, so if something like this happens, there is no quick fix. With that in mind, if you are reading this and you are an Android user, update your software, quickly!


What to do

As with the larger tech companies, Vostron has followed the same (sensible) approach of pushing out software updates to all of our tech devices, in this case Access Points, at the same time, decreasing the risk for patched client devices and any other potential risk factors, with immediate effect.

So to summarise, if you have not recently updated any of your Internet-facing tech, then we would strongly recommend doing so, especially if it is Android. But if you're reading this and you're a Vostron customer and your Wi-Fi hardware is managed by us, don't worry, you're covered. But remember, you still need to update your other Wi-Fi capable devices to reduce the security threat further.

We hope you have found this blog helpful. If you have any questions, are particularly worried or just want to find out more about the WPA2 protocol flaw, then get in touch and we will be of as much help as possible.


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