Recently, it was discovered that there is a security vulnerability in implementations of WPA2 used in wireless (WiFi) networks. The vulnerabilities are related to different key handshakes, used between the Wi-Fi supplicant (client) and the AP (authenticator) to derive and install encryption keys. As this impacts MCAD's wireless network, and all other wireless networks that use WPA2 security, we put together a Q&A below.
The easiest way to protect yourself from this vulnerability is to make sure all your wireless devices are updated and patched. You will also want to pay close attention to the websites you visit, and make sure your connection is secure. If your connection is not secure, then you should not enter any sensitive information on that site (for example, passwords or credit card information).
To verify a secure connection, check the SSL Certificate. Look at the URL of the website. If it begins with "https" instead of "http" it means the site is secured using an SSL Certificate (the s stands for secure). SSL Certificates secure all of your data as it is passed from your browser to the website's server.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the impact?
A: An attacker can read your network traffic that isn't encrypted. This is why it is import to make sure your browser indicates your connection is secure with the green lock.
Q: What happened?
A: A researcher has published a paper documenting fairly widespread vulnerabilities in various implementations of WPA2. Because these vulnerabilities are related to implementation flaws, they can be fixed through software updates.
Q: Why are so many vendors affected by this?
A: The IEEE 802.11 specification was silent about how to handle certain conditions, so that an implementation could be 100% standard-compliant but still vulnerable. In particular, the standard told implementers what to do, but not necessarily when to do it. All vendorsworked from the same specification documents, which is why the flaw is widespread.
Q: Does this affect Wi-Fi infrastructure (APs/controllers), Wi-Fi clients, or both?
A: Both are affected.
Q: Does this mean WPA2 is broken now?
A: No. The vulnerability is due to implementation flaws. All vulnerabilities can be mitigated through software updates to affected systems without the need for a change in the protocol.
Q: Will there be additional vulnerabilities exposed in the future?
A: All currently known vulnerabilities have been made public at this time, though it is possible that additional vulnerabilities may be uncovered in the future.
Q: How do I protect myself?
A: You will want to make sure all your wireless devices are updated and patched. It is also important to pay close attention to the websites you visit, and make sure your connection is secure.
If you have questions or want more details about this vulnerability, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.