#CyberSecurityPulse: The Attack Against the WPA2 Encryption that Poses a Threat to Our Wireless Security

ElevenPaths    17 October, 2017

On October 16, a research has been published about an attack to the current recommended encryption standard for WiFi networks, WPA2. Although the risks to these networks are not new and attacks against WEP or WPA have already proliferated, making these protocols unsafe, the current scheme was considered robust. Until now.

The scope of the attack, proposed by Mathy Vanhoef and Frank Piessens and known as Key Reinstallation Attack (KRACK), exploits a severe weakness that would allow an adversary phisically located in the range of the wireless connection to have access to previously assumed information as safe. Once reviewed the information that has just been released, the consequences are serious if the attack is confirmed and would involve up to 10 different CVE whose content has not been published yet. However, that does not mean that all our connections are affected. The attack affects the WPA2 Wi-Fi networks and the most dangerous scenarios would assume the physical proximity of the attacker to the networks and would always affect the confidentiality of the communications within that WiFi network that would be potentially readable if they did not include another layer of additional encryption as HTTPS does for example. Under certain circumstances, the researchers have also been able to not only decrypt, but also inject packets into the network. In any case, the problem is still serious, because it would be expanding the range of attacks that have traditionally been implemented on public networks to a number of environments that we have assumed to be reliable.

Sharing the concern of the community while the full details are explained, the usual recommendations are still valid in this case. For those who are really concerned about the potential impact it has on their own wireless networks, they can always reinforce the security measures for home networks by considering them as public networks, for example by forcing connections through VPN and, overall, keeping up to date all the usual security elements to benefit from the security updates as soon as they are published. Being concerned is healthy and is well justified, but, at the same time, we have the obligation to face events that are happening live like this one with the appropriate serenity too.

» More information at KRACK Attacks

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