Researchers uncover flaw that makes Wi-Fi vulnerable to hacks

Cyber security watchdogs and researchers are issuing warnings over risks associated with a widely used system for securing Wi-Fi communications after the discovery of a flaw that could allow hackers to read information thought to be encrypted or infect websites with malware.

 

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Compute Emergency Response Team issued an alert on Monday saying that the flaw could be used within range of Wi-Fi using the WPA2 protocol to hijack private communications. Installing vendor updates on affected products such as routers from Cisco Systems Inc or Juniper Networks Inc. is recommended.

 

Belgian researchers Mathy Vanhoef and Frank Piessens of Belgian university KU Leuven disclosed the bug in WPA2, which secures modern Wi-Fi systems used by vendors for wireless communications between mobile phones, laptops and other connected devices with Internet connected routers or hot spots.

 

The Finnish security firm F-Secure said experts have long been cautious about Wi-Fi ability to withstand security challenges of the 21st century.

 

Mirosoft Corp said it had released a security update for Windows. Customers who applied the update, or had automatic updates enabled, would already be protected, it said in a statement emailed to Reuters.

 

The Wi-Fi Alliance, and industry group that represents hundreds of Wi-Fi technology companies, said the issue “ could be resolved through a straightforward software update”.

 

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