WPA2 security flaw risks every Wi-Fi device to hijack and eavesdropping

A security protocol at the heart of most modern Wi-Fi devices, including computers, phones, and routers, has been broken, putting almost every wireless-enabled device at risk of attack.

The bug, known as “KRACK” for Key Reinstallation Attack, exposes a fundamental flaw in WPA2, a common protocol used in securing most modern wireless networks. Mathy Vanhoef, a computer security academic, who found the flaw, said the weakness lies in the protocol’s four-way handshake, which securely allows new devices with a pre-shared password to join the network.

That weakness can, at its worst, allow an attacker to decrypt network traffic from a WPA2-enabled device, hijack connections, and inject content into the traffic stream.

In other words: This flaw, if exploited, gives an attacker a skeleton key to access any WPA2 network without a password. Once they’re in, they can eavesdrop on your network traffic.

The bug represents a complete breakdown of the WPA2 protocol, for both personal and enterprise devices — putting every supported device at risk.

“If your device supports Wi-Fi, it is most likely affected,” said Vanhoef, on his website.

But because Vanhoef hasn’t released any proof-of-concept exploit code, there’s little risk of immediate or widespread attacks.

News of the vulnerability was later confirmed on Monday by US Homeland Security’s cyber-emergency unit US-CERT

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