Discovered by researcher Mathy Vanhoef in October 2017, KRACK (or Key Reinstallation Attack) injects malware into otherwise benign websites via a security flaw in the WPA2-PSK protocol.
Why is it such big news?
WPA2-PSK is an encrypted protocol that allows users to connect to wi-fi using a password and it’s used everywhere from hotels to large enterprises. Previously deemed more secure, KRACK proves that password protected wi-fi is now just as risky as using a free wi-fi hotspot.
What makes KRACK extra-worrying is because it is an issue with a protocol that is so widely used; it isn’t just a vulnerability in a piece of software. Those of us who pride ourselves in being wise to dodgy attachments and other scams have unknowingly been at risk. If your device supports wi-fi, then it is more than likely you’ve been infected.
And the good news is?
It is easily fixed with a backwards-compatible patch and Vanhoef alerted developers months before allowing his discovery to go public. Most of the repair work has already been done. A fix is included in Apple’s iOS11 update, for example.
So things aren’t as bad as we thought?
No, they’re not. However getting everyone fixed poses a problem because it relies on each of us applying updates, which frequently include patches like this. At Ziptech, every device we support is subject to a weekly maintenance review. On a dedicated night each week, we systematically check for and install updates and security fixes to every user’s machine so you don’t have to rely on your staff to do it.
Our general advice on using wi-fi still stands and the discovery of KRACK supports it:
- Never use public wi-fi, even if it’s password protected.
- Only use private wi-fi that you are 100% sure of.
- Use 4G whenever you can (and it is generally faster).
- Go through the process of obtaining the UK Government’s Cyber Essentials Accreditation for your business. It massively improves your security and it is relatively inexpensive. Our clients will tell you it works!
Call us to find out how to make big improvements to your IT security on 0845 123 3942.