The tech news has been rife with stories about the WPA2 hack this week, and rightly so as the more we are all aware of any potential security threats the better we are able to deal with them.
But what is this particular security issue, and perhaps more importantly, what do you need to do about it?
Belgium security experts have broken the WPA2 Wi-Fi security protocol – the wireless security standard used by most consumer and business routers. They have reported that this means that pretty much anything transmitted over Wi-Fi including, "credit card numbers, passwords, chat messages, emails, photos" could be hacked.
Dubbed, "Key Reinstallation Attacks," or "Krack Attacks," these flaws are in the WiFi standard and not specific products. That means that just about every router, smartphone and PC out there could be impacted. Should your network be breached the hackers will make an exact copy, impersonate the MAC address, then change your WiFi channel. This new, fake network acts as a "man in the middle," so when a device attempts to connect to the original network, it can be forced to bypass it and connect to the rogue one.
“What Can I Do About This?”
Whilst these vulnerabilities have been uncovered there have been no attacks made yet, but nonetheless you can still put measures in place to help keep your own network protected.
We know that we are supposed to update our computers – as annoying as it is when you get the message “do not switch off or unplug your computer….”, usually at the most inconvenient time possible, those updates are essential for maintaining the security of your computer systems. The same applies to your smart phones and tablets.
However…..updating your computer and your phone may not keep you safe from this particular hack. Why? Because the backdoor entry to your connected devices is through your router. If your router still has the generic access details it had when issued to you and if you have never thought (or known) to update it, this is where you leave yourself vulnerable.
We are pretty confident in claiming that this particular vulnerability won’t be the last. In addition to updating your computers, laptops, phone and tablets, you need to update any other device that is connected to the internet AND you need to update your router.
Updates are time consuming but they are essential in our collective fight against our systems being hacked.