Researchers uncover flaw that makes Wi-Fi vulnerable to hacks

Cyber Security Reuters

An illustration picture shows a projection of binary code around the shadow of a man holding a laptop computer in an office in Warsaw June 24, 2013. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel (POLAND - Tags: BUSINESS TELECOMS) (Reuters)

Oct 16 (Reuters) - Belgian researchers have discovered a flaw in a widely used system for securing Wi-Fi communications that could allow hackers to read information that was previously understood to be encrypted, or infect websites with malware, they said on Monday.

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Researchers Mathy Vanhoef and Frank Piessens of Belgian university KU Leuven disclosed the bug in the WPA2 protocol, 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.

"If your device supports Wi-Fi, it is most likely affected," they said on a website, www.krackattacks.com, that they set up to provide technical information about the flaw and methods for attacking vulnerable devices.

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It was not immediately clear how difficult it would be for hackers to exploit the bug, or if the vulnerability has previously been used to launch any attacks.

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

The group said in a statement it had advised members to quickly release patches and recommended that consumers quickly install those security updates.

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(Reporting by Jim Finkle in Toronto; editing by Susan Thomas)

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