On October 19, 2017

KRACK Wi-Fi Attack: What it is and what this means for you

KRACK Wi-Fi Attack

  • KRACK is a vulnerability in the global standard Wi-Fi encryption protocol known as WPA2.
  • Every vendor network using client and access point devices are likely to be compromised.
  • Excell are aware of the Wi-Fi network vulnerability and are working with our partners and vendors to patch vulnerable devices to ensure your exposure to security threats is minimised.

On Monday 16th October news organisations across the world reported that the Wi-Fi encryption protocol known as WPA2 had been cracked by Belgian security researchers, potentially leaving all wireless access points insecure. The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US CERT) published details regarding “Key Reinstallation Attacks: Forcing Nonce Reuse in WPA2”, more widely referred to as KRACK.

KRACK “works against all modern protected Wi-Fi networks,” according to the researcher that discovered it, Mathy Vanhoef. It does this by interrupting the third step in the 4-way “handshake” of the WPA2 protocol, using modified versions of the third step to trick devices into installing a blank encryption key. This means that if your device uses Wi-Fi, you are at risk of your internet traffic being exposed.

Please find below more information on the risks, what this threat means to you as an Excell customer and information on how to protect yourself against the recent WPA2 security breach.

The Risks

With this newly discovered weakness, there is the risk that hackers could spy, gather data and even inject malicious files onto other people’s devices, as sensitive data that was previously encrypted can now be accessed.

Any device that supports Wi-Fi is at risk, which means hackers can also access smart home devices, such as baby monitors and old webcams, that are not secure or do not use encryption. However, it is worth noting that KRACK does not attack your devices, but rather the information that is sent over Wi-Fi connections.

“The attacker would have to be physically close to the target and the potential weaknesses would not compromise connections to secure websites, such as banking services or online shopping.”

National Cyber Security Centre

National Cyber Security Centre, a part of GCHQ.

What this means for you

At Excell, Network Security is at the core of everything we do and we have worked quickly to get behind the worrying headlines to find out what’s really going on. To reassure our customers, our primary Wi-Fi manufacturer, Aerohive, wish to relay the following message regarding the KRACK attack:

“Aerohive access points and branch routers are not exposed to this EXCEPT when operating as a Wi-Fi client to another access point or operating as a mesh point.”

While our Wi-Fi access points do not operate in this fashion, we are working to implement security fixes and patch OS versions on the devices we manage to mitigate all risks.

Protect your devices and home Wi-Fi deployment

Below we have laid out some security measures you can take to increase your Wi-Fi security:

  • Update all of your devices

    Update all of your devices (laptops, smartphones, tablets or any other wireless device) with the latest security patches to prevent the KRACK vulnerability, making sure you also turn on auto-updates to protect yourself against future vulnerabilities.

  • Install the HTTPS Everywhere extension

    Alleviate risks by installing the HTTPS Everywhere extension for Firefox, Firefox for Andriod, Google Chrome and Opera to prioritize encrypted internet traffic to make your browsing more secure. The extension forces all sites that offer HTTPS encryption to use that protection.

  • Avoid websites not using HTTPS

    We strongly recommend that our customers ensure they are using applications and websites which are inherently secure (meaning that all traffic is encrypted). Ensure websites you are visiting are secured using HTTPS and that your browser shows the padlock icon indicating the website is secure. Click here to learn how to tell if a website is secure.

  • Disable WPS

    Disable WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) on your router at home, as this creates an easy entry point for hackers. You should be able to find out if you’ve got WPS enabled by looking at your router or the box it came with.

  • Use mobile data on android

    Google has said it will not be releasing a security patch for this threat until November 6. Therefore, if you use an Android phone, you should disable your Wi-Fi and use your mobile data if you are sharing sensitive information online.

We would like to reassure you that we are constantly monitoring our services to get in front of the latest threats and will keep you updated as more information becomes available. Risks to your Excell Wi-Fi deployment are minimal, however please get in touch should you have any questions and we’ll be happy to advise you on how to best protect your business.

Visit our blog for more information about cybersecurity, hacking and how you can stay safe:

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