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Vendors Race to Fight KRACK Wi-Fi Attacks

Technology companies worldwide have released or are working on releasing patches to address the dangerous Wi-Fi vulnerabilities publicly disclosed this week.

Technology companies worldwide have released or are working on releasing patches to address the dangerous Wi-Fi vulnerabilities publicly disclosed this week.

Setting the stage for a new attack method called Key Reinstallation Attack, or KRACK, these vulnerabilities affect the Wi-Fi standard itself and potentially expose all Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) protocol implementations.

An attacker capable of exploiting the issues could steal sensitive information transmitted over Wi-Fi, including credit card numbers, passwords, chat messages, emails, photos, and more. All major operating systems, including Android, Linux, Apple, Windows, OpenBSD, MediaTek, Linksys, and others, are affected.

The good news, however, is that the attacker needs to be in within range of an affected wireless access point, and that only data encrypted using the WPA2 protocol is exposed. Data encrypted using other standards, including HTTPS, TLS, and the like, should be safe from this attack.

What’s more, the Wi-Fi Alliance says that there is no evidence that the vulnerabilities have been exploited maliciously and confirmed that a straightforward software update should resolve them. However, the industry organization has already released a vulnerability detection tool for use by any Wi-Fi Alliance member.

As the US-CERT noted in its advisory, the issues affect the Wi-Fi standard itself, meaning that all correct implementations are exposed. Thus, there’s a general consensus of urgency among top vendors to address the bug through software updates, and some of them have already released patches.

Microsoft has already addressed the issue its October 2017 patches and published an advisory on the matter. Apple is reportedly taking steps in this direction by including patches in the latest beta releases of macOS, iOS, tvOS, and watchOS.

Android 6.0 and above and Linux were said to be affected the most, with the attack being “exceptionally devastating” against them. While security updates have been released for Linux, Google seems determined to address the issue in the coming weeks, most likely with the November 2017 monthly Android patches.

The issue is being addressed in Debian, Fedora, Red Hat, and Ubuntu. Patches are available for OpenBSD as well, and are being prepared for the FreeBSD Project.

Intel has released an advisory listing all affected products, while Netgear has released fixes for some products and is working on updates for others. Cisco too has released patches for affected products, the same as Fortinet, MikroTik, Ubiquiti Networks, WatchGuard, and Aruba. Zyxel also confirmed that some of its products are affected.

The list of affected and potentially affected vendors is much more extensive than that, as US-CERT has revealed. Most of the vendors were notified on the vulnerabilities in late August, but it’s yet unclear how many of them are affected.

Related: Security Flaw Prompts Fears on Wi-Fi Connections

RelatedDangerous WPA2 Flaw Exposes Wi-Fi Traffic to Snooping

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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