Wifi security fault makes hacking easier

Many devices risk being hacked due to Wi-Fi security fault

A crucial flaw has been discovered in Wi-Fi connections, putting connections all over the world at risk.

Researchers have found that part of the information exchange between routers and devices, known as a handshake, can be accessed by hackers and rebroadcasted.

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If a device allows the rebroadcast message, the encryption used to send data to and from the router is weakened, meaning it is less difficult for a hacker to decrypt the data.

Specialists have said this could be a risk to “the majority” of connections until fixed.

The researchers, led by Mathy Vanhoef of KU Leuven in Belgium, wrote that this type of hacking could be extremely damaging to Android 6.0 or above devices and Linux.

A representative from Google stated:  "We're aware of the issue, and we will be patching any affected devices in the coming weeks."

A warning has been sent out from the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT). "US-Cert has become aware of several key management vulnerabilities in the four-way handshake of Wi-Fi protected access II (WPA2) security protocol," it said." Most or all correct implementations of the standard will be affected." Prof Alan Woodward, a computer security specialist at the University of Surrey says: "This is a flaw in the standard, so potentially there is a high risk to every single Wi-Fi connection out there, corporate and domestic.” The risk will depend on a number of factors including the time it takes to launch an attack and whether you need to be connected to the network to launch one, but the paper suggests that an attack is relatively easy to launch. "It will leave the majority of Wi-Fi connections at risk until vendors of routers can issue patches." The Wi-Fi Alliance has said it is working with providers to patch the security fault using software updates. "This issue can be resolved through straightforward software updates and the Wi-Fi industry, including major platform providers, has already started deploying patches to Wi-Fi users. "Users can expect all their Wi-Fi devices, whether patched or unpatched, to continue working well together." Microsoft has said it has already sent out a new security software update.

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