The security of Wi-Fi connections has recently come under scrutiny as Belgian researchers break the WPA2 security protocol used by most Wi-Fi connections.
Details of the discovery were published on Monday morning by security expert Mathy Vanhoef from KU Leuven University in Belgium, highlighting the weakness in Wi-Fi connections – potentially exposing them to hackers and cyber-attacks.
The flaw lies within the WPA2 security protocol which generally prevents others from viewing the websites being accessed from your device. Vanhoef used a method called ‘KRACK’ which discovered that Wi-Fi connections not only allow eavesdropping and data theft by attackers but could also permit the injection of ransomware and malware into websites. Despite this, connections to most secure websites, such as ecommerce stores or online banking, would not be compromised and attackers would have to be within physical connecting distance to the target to hack their device.
So, how do you stay safe online? Here’s a few tips:
- Update your devices with the latest software which include bug fixes and updates to security protocols. Apple and Google have advised that they are already working on a fix.
- Always connect to secure websites when entering personal data. Ensure the website address begins with ‘HTTPS’ and displays the secure ‘lock’ symbol in the search bar.
- Be sensible when using public Wi-Fi. Public Wi-Fi should not be used for things like banking or entering personal information. Assume that all public Wi-Fi networks are vulnerable.
- Turn Wi-Fi off on your device when you’ve finished using it. This will prevent vulnerability and save your battery life.
- Update or download antivirus software regularly to detect any malware on your device.
- Turn file sharing off and never use on public Wi-Fi connections.
- Use encrypted services like Gmail, Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp.
In short, keep your devices updated and avoid giving out personal data on public Wi-Fi connections. Be sensible, savvy and stay safe online!