WPA2 security in trouble as KRACK Belgian boffins tease key reinstallation bug

Strap yourselves in readers, Wi-Fi may be cooked


Updated A promo for the upcoming Association for Computing Machinery security conference has set infosec types all a-Twitter over the apparent cryptographic death of the WPA2 authentication scheme widely used to secure Wi-Fi connections.

The authors of the paper have everything ready except the details of their disclosure: acceptance at the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS) for their paper Key Reinstallation Attacks: Forcing Nonce Reuse in WPA2, a timeslot (during the afternoon of Wednesday, November 1), a so-far-empty GitHub repository, and a placeholder website at krackattacks.com.

So it seems Mathy Vanhoef of KU Leuven and Frank Piessens of imec-DistriNet are confident they really have done serious damage to WPA2 (the pair had previously verified vulnerabilities in WPA-TKIP, recovered cookies protected with RC4, and in 2015 improved their TKIP attacks).

According to Iron Group CTO Alex Hudson, disclosure is due some time on Monday, October 16 during European hours.

In the mean time, the name of the ACM paper is a hint at what's going on: Vanhoef and Piessens have attacked the handshake sequence WPA2 uses to choose encryption keys for a session between client and base station.

As Hudson notes, the attacker would have to be on the same base station as the victim, which restricts any attack's impact somewhat.

There's also a hint in this paper [PDF] Vanhoef and Piessens gave to Black Hat back in August. The slide below shows what part of the handshake the pair were working on.

Detail from Vanhoef/Piessens Black Hat presentation

'Krackattacks' is the culmination of a long project attacking Wi-Fi protocols

So: get yourself some extra coffee this morning, dear readers, and wait for Krackattacks to drop. ®

Update: The CVE (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures) numbers for Krack Attack have been reserved. They are CVE-2017-13077, CVE-2017-13078, CVE-2017-13079, CVE-2017-13080, CVE-2017-13081, CVE-2017-13082, CVE-2017-13084, CVE-2017-13086, CVE-2017-13087, and CVE-2017-13088. And there are now more details, here.

Similar topics

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • Did ID.me hoodwink Americans with IRS facial-recognition tech, senators ask
    Biz tells us: Won't someone please think of the ... fraud we've stopped

    Democrat senators want the FTC to investigate "evidence of deceptive statements" made by ID.me regarding the facial-recognition technology it controversially built for Uncle Sam.

    ID.me made headlines this year when the IRS said US taxpayers would have to enroll in the startup's facial-recognition system to access their tax records in the future. After a public backlash, the IRS reconsidered its plans, and said taxpayers could choose non-biometric methods to verify their identity with the agency online.

    Just before the IRS controversy, ID.me said it uses one-to-one face comparisons. "Our one-to-one face match is comparable to taking a selfie to unlock a smartphone. ID.me does not use one-to-many facial recognition, which is more complex and problematic. Further, privacy is core to our mission and we do not sell the personal information of our users," it said in January.

    Continue reading
  • Meet Wizard Spider, the multimillion-dollar gang behind Conti, Ryuk malware
    Russia-linked crime-as-a-service crew is rich, professional – and investing in R&D

    Analysis Wizard Spider, the Russia-linked crew behind high-profile malware Conti, Ryuk and Trickbot, has grown over the past five years into a multimillion-dollar organization that has built a corporate-like operating model, a year-long study has found.

    In a technical report this week, the folks at Prodaft, which has been tracking the cybercrime gang since 2021, outlined its own findings on Wizard Spider, supplemented by info that leaked about the Conti operation in February after the crooks publicly sided with Russia during the illegal invasion of Ukraine.

    What Prodaft found was a gang sitting on assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars funneled from multiple sophisticated malware variants. Wizard Spider, we're told, runs as a business with a complex network of subgroups and teams that target specific types of software, and has associations with other well-known miscreants, including those behind REvil and Qbot (also known as Qakbot or Pinkslipbot).

    Continue reading
  • Supreme Court urged to halt 'unconstitutional' Texas content-no-moderation law
    Everyone's entitled to a viewpoint but what's your viewpoint on what exactly is and isn't a viewpoint?

    A coalition of advocacy groups on Tuesday asked the US Supreme Court to block Texas' social media law HB 20 after the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals last week lifted a preliminary injunction that had kept it from taking effect.

    The Lone Star State law, which forbids large social media platforms from moderating content that's "lawful-but-awful," as advocacy group the Center for Democracy and Technology puts it, was approved last September by Governor Greg Abbott (R). It was immediately challenged in court and the judge hearing the case imposed a preliminary injunction, preventing the legislation from being enforced, on the basis that the trade groups opposing it – NetChoice and CCIA – were likely to prevail.

    But that injunction was lifted on appeal. That case continues to be litigated, but thanks to the Fifth Circuit, HB 20 can be enforced even as its constitutionality remains in dispute, hence the coalition's application [PDF] this month to the Supreme Court.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022