cybersecurity wifi

A vulnerability has been found by a security researcher who is well-known for finding out flaws in WiFi security. The recently discovered flaws, dubbed “frag attacks,” are thought to be common because they arise in the WiFi standard, with some vulnerabilities dating back to 1997.

According to Belgian security researcher Mathy Vanhoef’s blog, many additional vulnerabilities are triggered by programming errors in WiFi devices and affect any WiFi device.

The vulnerabilities may theoretically allow an intruder within the radio range to steal user information or target devices if they were exploited. However, since the bugs involve user input or unusual network configurations, the odds of the flaws being exploited should be small.

Vanhoef clarified how the flaws work, saying that some of them can be used to “easily inject” plaintext frames into a secure Wi-Fi network and that some systems accept “plaintext aggregated frames that look like handshake messages.”

According to the researcher, this can be used to intercept traffic by tricking the victim into using a malicious DNS server. Vanhoef discovered that this flaw impacted two out of four tested home routers, as well as some IoT devices and several smartphones, in his tests.

Vanhoef also posted a video example of the bugs, which includes a step-by-step description of the frag attacks.

Vanhoef shared his results with the Wi-Fi Alliance, as he had done in the past, including the 2017 “Krack Attack.” The agency has been consulting with device manufacturers on upgrades to fix the bugs for the past nine months.

As a response, several patches have been published or are in the works. According to cybersecurity news site The Record, Microsoft patched three of the 12 vulnerabilities that affect Windows systems in patches issued on March 9th. According to ZDNet, a patch for the Linux kernel is now making its way into the release system.

Anything else you need to do is to foloow some steps advised by Vanhoef:

  • Keep your computers updated
  • Use strong and unique passwords
  • Don’t visit shady sites
  • And most important make sure you’re using HTTPS as often as possible
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