March 3, 2020 By Shane Schick 2 min read

Researchers estimate more than a billion devices may be vulnerable to a cyberthreat dubbed Krøøk that can intercept and decrypt Wi-Fi traffic using WPA2 connections.

ESET researchers said the vulnerability affects devices containing some of the most common Wi-Fi chips. This includes those from Broadcom and Cypress, whose vendor partners range from Amazon and Apple to Samsung and Asus, among others.

While many of these firms have already released patches, the risk of Krøøk spans both WPA2-Personal and WPA2-Enterprise protocols, according to the study.

How Krøøk Works

Traffic that travels through these kinds of Wi-Fi packets are normally considered secure, but researchers said the vulnerability takes advantage of disassociation, a term that describes the moment when a connection is interrupted. This could be due to a low Wi-Fi signal, for example.

In many cases, devices may encounter disassociation fairly often as people move from one Wi-Fi hotspot to another, but are configured to automatically reconnect quickly to known networks. Hackers could use Krøøk to prolong these periods and then receive Wi-Fi packets that they can decrypt using the all-zero key.

That said, cybercriminals would not be able to use the vulnerability to launch botnet attacks unless they are within close physical proximity to their victims, according to the research.

Other limitations include the fact that if the original communications were encrypted, that encryption would not be broken — only the Wi-Fi channel would be compromised. Victims would also likely detect suspicious activity on the Wi-Fi network if large communication streams were intercepted.

Close the Door on Krøøk

In order to protect against Krøøk, check for patches or software updates relating to the vulnerability, which has been given the unique ID CVE-2019-15126. Firmware updates may also be necessary in some cases, researchers added.

Next, by ensuring devices are using a more advanced security protocol such as AES-CCMP encryption, both consumers and businesses should be out of danger. Better yet, explore how a security intelligence platform can monitor and help address other kinds of Wi-Fi bugs.

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