On October 16, 2017, researchers disclosed a serious flaw in the WPA2 wireless encryption protocol that allows hackers to intercept your internet traffic to collect logins, passwords, credit cards, and much more using a “KRACK attack”.
What is the KRACK exploit and how does it work?
KRACK is short for Key Reinstallation Attacks.
The exploit doesn’t actually target wifi access points. Instead, the attack targets the client devices by exploiting vulnerabilities in the 4-way handshake of the WPA2 protocol to obtain a man-in-the-middle (MitM) position.
The krackattacks website that disclosed the vulnerability explains that the vulnerability targets and affects devices running Android, Linux, and OpenBSD, and to a lesser extent macOS and Windows, as well as MediaTek Linksys, and other types of devices.
If you watch that video, you will see how easy it is for a hacker to steal anybody’s information just as easy as if they were on a public open wifi using an unsecure site.
Can the vulnerability be patched?
The vulnerability can’t be patched on the wifi access point end, but it actually needs to be patched on the affected devices.
41% of all Android devices are vulnerable to this exploit. Google says they are “aware of the issue, and we will be patching any affected devices in the coming weeks.”
What can I do now to protect myself?
One little tip is to always pay attention to the green secure icon in the address bar. You will notice that this KRACK attack actually redirects you to http instead of https which removes the SSL encryption, exposing all your internet traffic data to the hacker. So, whenever you login to a website (especially on an Android phone), always double-check the address bar to make sure it’s got the green secure icon.
Unfortunately, it’s really easy to quickly login to a site or checkout without noticing that the green icon was gone. At that point, it would be too late, and the attacker would have your login details or credit card info.
So, the best advice I have for you is to use a VPN.
A VPN would force all of your internet traffic through an encrypted SSL connection to the VPN server. Any man-in-the-middle attack on you while using a VPN would fail to get any of your data. That’s why it’s one of the best things you can do to keep your internet browsing as secure as possible.
My favorite VPN provider is IPVanish. They have the largest infrastructure of any VPN provider with 500+ servers around the world. They’ve got the best reputation for having the highest bandwidth and speeds while connected.
This is a really serious exploit. Please make sure you’re protected.