As the world now knows, there was a flaw in the WPA2. Until very recently most of the population would have been blissfully unaware of WPA2, unless they happened to work in the digital technologies industry or had a keen amateur interest in internet connectivity, never mind the massive hole in its security.
Following the recent announcement of this news a large part of the general public will now be able to tell you that WPA2 is the wireless encryption standard which is used to keep Wi-Fi networks safe and secure. They will also be able to tell you that following the discovery and publication by hackers of the weakness in its protocol, connecting to WPA2 Wi-Fi may leave you open to data theft and manipulation. That’s scary right?
The hack even has a scary name – KRACK. The name derives from the fact that details of this weakness were first published on krackattacks.com. The hack takes advantage of the discovery that some of the algorithms used in WPA2 encryption are not quite as random as they should be. With a bit of time and persistence a hacker could eventually force their way into a vulnerable wireless network.
The unfortunate thing is that this shortcoming is present in just about every piece of wireless hardware sold in the past few years. That includes all those amazing IoT connected gadgets and devices that you’ve bought to control with your phone. I’m sorry to inform you that deciding to finally change your passwords – we’ve all been meaning to change it from ‘admin123’ for a while – isn’t going to plug the hole either I’m afraid.
Right – now that I’ve got your attention I can tell you that it isn’t all doom and gloom. For a start some popular devices are already protected, for example, those that run on Windows and iOS, and for others a patch to protect devices is currently being worked on. In the meantime there are proactive steps that you can take to make sure you keep your data and identity safe when using Wi-Fi.
Hyper Text Transport Protocol Secure – the key here is the S on the end as it signifies that this is the secure version of the protocol which sends your data between your browser and the website that you are connected to. It encrypts all the information that is sent and means that even if a hacker had access, the information would be illegible and meaningless to them. This is the type of security that is used by most financial and ecommerce websites for example Amazon and eBay, but it is best practice check your browser for the little lock icon you see in your URL window (usually found at the top left of your screen) before you share any sensitive information.
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