The modern world we live in is highly dependent on technology and equipment for our comfort and convenience. But, like all others, this also is a double-sided coin with concerns of security and privacy looming upon us. With everyone wanting high speed and easy to access the internet, we have WiFi networks everywhere. However, while we go on using these for our everyday lives, it is important to question how secure is our home WiFi router?
What can we do to protect our network and data from predators?
It is important to know that WiFi encryption has been attacked in the recent past for the weaknesses within WPA2. The WPA2 is what protects all the modern-day WiFi networks and makes them safe to work with. The weaknesses are often exploited by hackers by making use of the Key Reinstallation Attacks, also referred to as KRACKs. This allows the attackers to gain access to the information that you would consider to be safe and secure. The information could include passwords, photos, credit card details, emails, etc. According to research, it was found that the main issue lies with the standard WiFi itself and not the models or products. It was also noted that Apple, Android, Windows, and Linux were all affected equally by the attack variants.
What are FragAttacks?
In another research conducted in May 2021 to study this further, there were a collection of flaws that were found within the WiFi protocols. This group of flaws is categorized under the term ‘FragAttacks’: a combination of fragmentation and aggregation and is related to the way WiFi handles the huge amount of data.
Known to be quite harmful in nature, FragAttacks give the attackers the ability to access the WiFi radio range of a device to collect the information of its owner and insert some malware that would compromise the device and its functioning. This is possible even for those devices that are protected by WiFi security protocol like WEP, WPA2 or WPA3. While most of the vulnerabilities that FragAttacks take advantage of are related to how manufacturers of WiFi devices implement the technology, some of these also have to do with the flaws in the design of the WiFi standard itself.
FragAttacks contains a total of 12 different vulnerabilities, and each of these works in a different way. These vulnerabilities have been assigned a Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) identifier. They can be bifurcated into two major categories: Implementation Vulnerabilities and Design Vulnerabilities.
Having made significant advancements in technology and gotten access to improved versions of WiFi security, it does come as a surprise that the vulnerabilities in the system still exist. The latest security systems went through a number of improvements which were supposed to make WiFi safe to a large extent. However, the parts of WiFi that were not widely studied have shown to have design flaws that make it unsafe.
WiFi flaws are used by attackers to steal personal information or attack the device that is connected to your home network. An example of the first situation would be where an attacker targets the design flaw which allows them to set up a fake website by replicating an authentic website. This would give the attacker access to your username and password. The second type of attack mentioned above is related to FragAttacks. Smart home devices and IoT devices are often left without updates. This results in lack of security and leaves a secure WiFi connection as the only line of defence. But it is important to note that this defence is not enough given the implementation vulnerabilities discussed above. An outdated device and system can be easily hacked into and taken control by the attacker.
So as we continue to get more connected, know that the existence of malicious users will rise as well. This is one of the major reasons why experts recommend using security patches to avoid all possible risks and threats. Many vendors have released software and patches for a range of products that would help cover the gaps. Besides this, updating devices and the WiFi infrastructure will also go a long way in strengthening your wall of defence against possible attacks.