KRACK is Whack: How Hackers Can Compromise Any Wi-Fi Device in the World

KRACK is Whack: How Hackers Can Compromise Any Wi-Fi Device in the World

Independent security researcher Mathy Vanhoef has discovered a weakness affecting almost all implementations of the Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) protocol. Virtually all Wi-Fi access points in the world use the WPA2 authentication handshake that we now know can be easily altered by attackers.

The attack involves the way WPA2 authenticates users on a Wi-Fi network. Every Wi-Fi user on a WPA2-enabled network requires a string of alphanumeric characters called a “key” to access the network. An attacker within range of an access point or client may be able to use KRACK (Key Reinstallation Attack) to reinstall a key that is already in use by replaying a portion of the handshake message and then reinstalling a session key that is already in use. Attackers using KRACK can decrypt packets, inject HTTP content, hijack TCP connections, and perform out-of-sequence reception and retransmission once a Man-in-the-Middle session is established.

Technical details of the WPA2 vulnerability and KRACK attack were provided to all Masergy customers in our October 16 Security Bulletin.

If you have Wi-Fi, then you are affected

Because the vulnerability exists in the WPA2 protocol, any device supporting WPA1 or WPA2 is likely vulnerable to at least one of the attacks. At this time, the information security experts on the Masergy Threat Intelligence team are unaware of the KRACK vulnerability being exploited in the wild. However, the researcher who discovered the vulnerability has demonstrated a proof-of-concept exploit against an Android smartphone. The Masergy Threat Intelligence team will continue to monitor the situation and release updates as more information becomes available.

How to protect yourself against KRACK

Masergy recommends anyone using WPA on their Wi-Fi routers to take the following actions:

  • Install security updates for your access points and clients as soon as they are available
  • Disable client functionality (used in repeater modes)
  • Disable 802.11r (fast roaming) on your access points

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About Craig D' Abreo

VP, Security Operations, Masergy
Craig oversees the Managed Security, Threat Intelligence and Security Professional Services departments at Masergy. He is responsible for Masergy’s proactive enterprise cybersecurity threat management and operations program. Craig holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and an MBA in Information Security. He is a Certified Information Security Systems Professional (CISSP) with over a decade of experience in the security industry and holds various network security certifications. He has written on various security blogs, spoken on a range of industry panels and is a recognized thought leader in the cybersecurity space.