back to article WPA2 KRACK attack smacks Wi-Fi security: Fundamental crypto crapto

Users are urged to continue using WPA2 pending the availability of a fix, experts have said, after security researchers went public with more information about a serious flaw in the wireless encryption protocol. So-called Key Reinstallation Attacks, aka KRACK, potentially work against all modern protected Wi-Fi networks. …

  1. Korev Silver badge
    Joke

    Choose your WEPon now...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I aloft my mighty sword of radius.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        I don't think that's going to help you much.

      2. The Count
        Happy

        I'll see your Radius and raise you TACACS+

    2. StargateSg7 Bronze badge

      We don't have to care up here in our facilities.

      As we are VERY aware of this type of over-the-air attack.

      We use our OWN nested IP-3000 packet protocol which

      stuffs our custom Internet Protocol Version 3000 data

      which we designed ourselves into an upper-level packet

      such as IPV6 or IPV4 (i.e. nested packeting) and since

      we change our communication encryption keys every

      few seconds based upon NATIVELY calculated hardware

      keys, our servers will REJECT any comms coming from

      outside (even over VPN and SSL!) that does NOT have

      the properly formatted nested IP3000 encrypted packets

      scrambled with the PROPER session validation keys.

      Intruders are simply locked out of the system

      as they need DIRECT HARDWARE access

      to ALL our smartphones, laptops, desktops, etc.

      in order to get the ALWAYS-CHANGING session keys

      algorithms and "Secret Keys"

      And since we use VARIABLE 3x AES-256 and 3x CAST-256 data

      encryption ON EVERY Custom IP3000 packet, they are

      hooped!

      Good Luck NSA ---- Our security is 1000x yours!

      WE take security EXTREEEEEEEEEEEEMELY SERIOUSLY!

      Even our smartphones use CUSTOM encrypted drive and memory technology!

      REEAAAALLY GOOD LUCK on your tries!

      1. TRT Silver badge

        So long as you turned off WPA/WPA2 support on your clients you'll be OK.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get ready for sensationalism...

    ... forget realistic risk assessments now... The Sun or the Daily Mail will pick this up... Cybergeddon is upon us!!!!

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Get ready for sensationalism...

      They just did. It's awful. Horrifying. It's big. It's huge.

    2. phils

      Re: Get ready for sensationalism...

      Once they realise it involves nonces they're definitely going to go crazy.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

        Re: Get ready for sensationalism...

        All this talk of nonces reminds me of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHP3Jih_rfA

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Get ready for sensationalism...

        You need to watch out for nonce's and sensationalism these days, it's getting pretty bad...

        Link

        Next they'll be dressed as schools.

        1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

          Re: Get ready for sensationalism...

          Nonce's what?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Get ready for sensationalism...

      "Android, Linux, Apple, Windows, OpenBSD, MediaTek, Linksys"

      Weird, is every Apple operating system just come under the Apple umbrella now?

      "Android, Linux, macOS, iOS, Windows, OpenBSD, MediaTek, Linksys"

      Fixed it for ya.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Get ready for sensationalism...

        you missed OSX

  3. Edwin

    and this is why I run proper hardware even at home...

    Just installed the patched firmware with a friendly nod to Ubiquiti

    1. TonyHoyle

      Unless your ubiquiti hardware is a client you did nothing.

      This is a client side vulnerability not AP side, and there's little that can be done on the AP to detect it (and unifi have said they currently aren't tackling that.

      Too many people are installing AP updates and thing they've fixed it. Nope. You need to update every wireless client.

      1. David Nash

        "This is a client side vulnerability not AP side"

        So why does the article say, "Resolving the security problem is likely to involve applying security update to routers"

        It's not clear to me where the vulnerability lies (I appreciate it's not a s/w bug but a problem in the spec).

      2. Edwin

        Only partly true

        If I read the kracken website correctly, both clients and APs must be patched - patching only one end of the connection is not enough, so with the updates from Ubiquiti and Microsoft, the most critical parts of the network are now patched.

        I have some hopes of the various Apple and Samsung/Huawei clients, but suspect the Withings scale, Netgem set top box and Squeezebox Radio will have to be relegated to the guest network...

  4. jason 7 Silver badge

    I read "Google will be patching all affected devices ASAP"...

    ...on an article, at which point I laughed.

    1. Rakkor

      Re: I read "Google will be patching all affected devices ASAP"...

      Re:Google

      A quick check of my Nexus 7 shows an Android security patch level of 5th August 2016 - looks like nothing's happening here then.......

      I wouldn't mind but I bought it 4th October 2016. Maybe an upgrade to Lineage is in order

      1. jason 7 Silver badge

        Re: I read "Google will be patching all affected devices ASAP"...

        Yeah it's hopeless.

      2. R 11

        Re: I read "Google will be patching all affected devices ASAP"...

        If you'd been reading The Register, you'd have known when you bought it that it was already 2 months out of support. https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/05/01/google_eol_for_nexus_phones/

        That said, I wouldn't worry about the Nexus 7. I'm sure all the router manufacturers will be quickly rolling out updates to protect wireless sessions.

        1. jason 7 Silver badge

          Re: I read "Google will be patching all affected devices ASAP"...

          "That said, I wouldn't worry about the Nexus 7. I'm sure all the router manufacturers will be quickly rolling out updates to protect wireless sessions."

          Oh stop it! Laughing so hard some wee might come out!

          1. MyffyW Silver badge
            Coffee/keyboard

            Re: I read "Google will be patching all affected devices ASAP"...

            Oh stop it!

            Where's the icon for "you, sir, owe me a new pair of knickers"

      3. Dr Mantis Toboggan
        FAIL

        Re: I read "Google will be patching all affected devices ASAP"...

        You bought something that was out of support when you bought it. How is that Google's fault?

        Did you want to buy my 1982 Ford Escort? it's a but rusty and smokes alot, but i'm sure it's fine...

        Some people...

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I read "Google will be patching all affected devices ASAP"...

          "Did you want to buy my 1982 Ford Escort?"

          Sure, just whack on a couple of Twin 45's, fix the seals and maybe do a polish and port.

          Good as, if not better than new.

          Now about that 2 year old Samsung?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I read "Google will be patching all affected devices ASAP"...

      Yep, for sure it wll be out in a couple of weeks in the regular monthly patches, but I predict an out of cycle update for this one.

  5. nathanm

    "Resolving the security problem is likely to involve applying security update to routers, something history shows is a problematic process."

    It affects client devices rather than routers.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isn't the whole point that this loophole is built in to the standard?

    How else would it be in everything? Did everyone make the same mistake? Or is there some reference code that everyone copied, and nobody noticed was broken?

    We know outfits like the RIAA can go after trivial cases to "make an example". How long before we have the RIAA War-driving Enforcement Teams?

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Isn't the whole point that this loophole is built in to the standard?

      From reading around, the root of the issue appears to be the lack of specifics in the standard (unless you pay lots and lots of money for the reference code).

      And the reason that the impact varies across platforms is that the spec is sufficiently loose that it can be interpreted in several ways - which is why wpa_supplicant has such a problem - the spec could be read to have requred the zeroing.

      So, get the standards agencies to stop hiding soo much detail behind paywalls and you'll get better products.

  7. Not also known as SC

    Explanation Please?

    Could someone who understands these things better than I do explain the details behind the attack? The article mentions getting a 'mark' to reinstall a cryptographic key. Is this something a human needs to do or is it automatically carried out by the OS? Does the miscreant have to install software on the target device or can this take place as a drive by attack?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Explanation Please?

      In a nutshell:

      When connecting to a wireless access point, a "handshake" (a procedure to establish the connection) is performed. This is part of the standard.

      The problem lies in part of this handshake. Part of the procedure involves generating a Number used ONCE (a NONCE) as part of the session key exchange (read up on Diffie-Hellman Key Exchange for the gist of the procedure). This is built into whatever software/firmware makes the connections.

      The problem lies in that the nonce isn't guaranteed to be a nonce. An attacker can glean a nonce and trick the victim into reusing it. Since it's not a number used once, the attacker has calcualted enough information from this to decode and thus hijack the session.

      Bad news: This CAN be done with wardriving, without requiring a previous intrusion into either client or access point. They would need some good RF gear to both sniff and transmit, but this is considered standard wardriving equipment. The only solution is to update software/firmware to be more thorough about checking if a nonce has been used. Depending on the nature of the device, this can be easy or hard as all getup.

      1. JamesPond
        Trollface

        Re: Explanation Please?

        The solution then is to either shoot any black van that parks outside your home, or make your home into a faraday cage. I'm going to cover the windows and my head in foil now, who knows where these compromised WPA2 packets can be forced to go.

      2. Aitor 1 Silver badge

        Re: Explanation Please?

        This is also fundamentally broken and a problem for IoT and low power devices.

        You will be forced to have a database of NONCEs associated to SSIDs, so you need permanent storage and a lookup table.

        Microcontrollers with wifi capabilities are going to be seriously affected.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Explanation Please?

          "This is also fundamentally broken and a problem for IoT and low power devices."

          Meh...

          It's like saying you can force a euro lock on a door when you've left the windows open, the key under the mat, a note for the milkman saying you're away for a week, put a post on social media saying don't break into my house at 11 Acacia avenue as we forgot to arm the alarm and please no one will pop round as we don't want you turning the lights on at night.

      3. phire

        Re: Explanation Please?

        do you know if settings up RADIUS with certificates will stop this attack

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Explanation Please?

          do you know if settings up RADIUS with certificates will stop this attack

          No - that's a different set of authentications.

    2. Aitor 1 Silver badge

      Re: Explanation Please?

      If following the standard it should be automatic, as your client device trsusts a forged message, that is the fundamental problem.. from there, you are just screwed.

      It is essentially a MIM attack, and it can potentially be used to get you user/password to several services.

    3. Not also known as SC
      Pint

      Re: Explanation Please?

      Thanks everyone for the replies. Icon for each of you ------->

      So if I understand correctly a device is authenticated against a router. Some communication is intercepted between the router and client, giving the client the NONCE details again which the client inappropriately responds to, providing enough detail to determine the logon details etc being used. Because cleints do this automatically there is no defense at the moment for unpatchd routers etc.

      For the attack to work, access is needed to the physical wi-fi signal so this attack can't be delivered via software, webpages etc.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Explanation Please?

        "For the attack to work, access is needed to the physical wi-fi signal so this attack can't be delivered via software, webpages etc."

        Correct. Don't worry about drive-by attacks so much as wardriver attacks. Someone has to be physically in the vicinity of the WiFi point to pull it off, but they can be hidden away or use more-sensitive radio equipment to work from outside the normal range since they don't need to physically touch any of the devices.

  8. David Gosnell

    TV Licensing

    No doubt TV Licence enforcement are watching with interest, as a potential mechanism for their latest optimistic "iPlayer over wi-fi detection" claims is revealed.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    BT have decided to approach the problem in a very different way, by making WiFi so frickin' unreliable in their Home Hubs that the chance of a connection staying up long enough to hack is approximately zero.

    1. Kiwi Silver badge

      BT have decided to approach the problem in a very different way, by making WiFi so frickin' unreliable in their Home Hubs that the chance of a connection staying up long enough to hack is approximately zero.

      Vodafone NZ are trying to beat them in those stakes. Keeping their crippleware routers from crashing just about takes a top ICU team - and then some.

  10. Milton

    Mitigation

    El Reg has managed to split the comments on this by having two articles on the same topic (viz. https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/10/16/wpa2_inscure_krackattack/) so pardon me if I briefly repeat my query to the assembled commentariat.

    Assuming that updates are not going to fix this problem—which seems a fair assumption, given the nature of the flaw, the overall uselessness of manufacturers, the cluelessness of Joe Average Householder and the heroic incompetence of corporate IT security teams—what do we see as reasonably practical mitigation? The much-ballyhooed fact that the attacker has to be within wireless range (well, duh) does not make much of a defence: others have already mentioned the prospect of wardriving/drive-by hacking. And in many neighbourhoods you can see at least half a dozen WiFi networks from your own living room.

    It seems the exploit can be parlayed into access to one's LAN, which surely ought to fill a few hearts with dread, if correct. I was considering restricting ALL WiFi access to "Guest" status, i.e. allowing internet use only, which isn't perfect if my neighbours want to leech on my connection, but at least offers some protection for files. Thoughts, anyone?

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Mitigation

      My guess? WPA2.1 with a slightly re-designed handshake. It might even end up being somewhat backwards compatible.

    2. The obvious

      Re: Mitigation

      If I'm reading it right then it *CAN* be fixed.

      Routers just have to check that the NONCE from a client hasn't been used recently, that's all.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Mitigation

        The attack is against the client, not so much the access point. It tricks the client into talking to a fake access point using a replay of a genuine exchange. So it needs to happen within range of home or work or wherever.

      2. Grease Monkey

        Re: Mitigation

        "Routers just have to check that the NONCE from a client hasn't been used recently, that's all."

        Nope. The router isn't involved because the attacker pretends to be the router, as such the router is taken out of the equation. The client will authenticate with the spoof router. Or at least that's how I read it.

        As such it's the client side that needs to be updated to protect against re-use of NONCES. Or rather to ensure that the NONCE is indeed a NONCE.

        1. Doctor Evil

          Re: Mitigation

          "Nope. The router isn't involved because the attacker pretends to be the router, as such the router is taken out of the equation."

          Sorry, but I think the router IS, in fact, fundamentally involved. If not then why are (responsible) router manufacturers frantically issuing patches for their devices?

          1. Sven Coenye

            Re: Mitigation

            Routers capable of being clients, like wireless bridges, are vulnerable in their own right. (Bigger can of worms here as some mfgs. still use WEP in this mode.) Another possibility is that the AP may be capable of detecting the attack, assuming the attacker is in range of the AP as well as the client. A patched AP may be able to drop the connection if it detects the rogue handshake packets.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mitigation

      I replaced a couple of very powerful Wi-Fi BTS turned up to 11 (~thousands of milliwatts), with a whole drum of CAT-5e shoved through house walls in the TV-coax ducting, (some previous owner had helpfully wired the house for a TV in every bathroom, sort-of)

      Now on each floor I can get away with an airport express type Wi-Fi BTS on ~1 milliwatt, hence limiting the decode/packet-3 replay inject range of any evil neighbours.

      As quite a few Wi-Fi BTS have the "Wi-Fi isolate from LAN" function as a simple click so you could continue not using open/guest until whatever WPA2.1 patch hopefully turns up. In meantime turn off Wi-Fi as you walk/drive around.

      Would the expensive 'Slurp' Mesh $$$routers have any better KRACK-resist ability?

    4. chris 143

      Re: Mitigation

      If you were connected to a vpn or similar your traffic should be encrypted which would limit the information you could leak.

    5. Kiwi Silver badge

      Re: Mitigation

      Assuming that updates are not going to fix this problem—which seems a fair assumption,

      Updates already installed on this computer.

      From my reading of the article (happy to be corrected), this attack lets you listen to traffic between one computer and the router (I've not read the other article yet), and doesn't necessarily actually get the wifi password (though if it's listening to traffic I guess that may be passed at some stage - but that may be before this attack is available, I have little knowledge of these matters :) ). The article talks of VPN use to mitigate it, so that would further indicate that it's traffic on that session only rather than the whole network being compromised (of course, if you do a non SSL etc login to any site, said login can be pilfered - thankfully El Reg got their site to HTTPS before this became public knowledge! The horror if someone gets my El Reg credentials! :) )

      I'd love to say "you have little to worry about" but I know that with these things, while there may be plenty to mitigate against this attack, there's the possibility that someone will now find further flaws or further ways to exploit it.

      But the fix is in. If you like penguins at least...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Security is dead, long live security

    It's a reasonable bet that this has been exploited for some time - I guess most devices will be patched to fix this within a year ... and then we'll all have to find another crack. Yes, you can use this to intercept Wi-Fi but don't panic, there are much easier ways to read the data most of the time.

    1. Steve Evans

      Re: Security is dead, long live security

      Blimee... You're not sceptical enough to be in here!

      "I guess most devices will be patched to fix this within a year"

      Noooo... Most manufacturers will use this as an excuse to push a new model out within the month!

      1. David Nash

        Re: Security is dead, long live security

        There will clearly be unpatched devices out there pretty much forever. There are shedloads of old models that are never going to be updated.

      2. bazza Silver badge

        Re: Security is dead, long live security

        Noooo... Most manufacturers will use this as an excuse to push a new model out within the month!

        The cynic in me points out that if that's what they do, they'd be having to repeat it after the standard finally gets fixed (for that is where the problem sits). And if I know anything, it's that standards don't get changed very quickly at all.

        1. Grease Monkey

          Re: Security is dead, long live security

          There seems to be a lot of talk about "devices" here. What's actually needed is patches for client OS's.

          Now when people talk about "new devices" rather than patching existing ones I get the feeling they are talking about access points and routers, rather than the likes of laptops, phones, tablets and the like. Patching your access point or router, or indeed buying a new one, isn't going to fix things if your client devices are vulnerable.

      3. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: Security is dead, long live security

        You are right - I thought about that later but couldn't be bothered to edit it - far too excited about the LIGO kilonova news!

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. FireBurn

    It's been patched in the development snapshots of LEDE if your router is compatible, I think they'll be releasing a 17.01.4

    Also wpa_suppliant has got patches in git, so look out for updates from your distros

    1. tom dial Silver badge

      Debian wpasupplicant patches were issued today, by my estimate around between 1344 and 1449 UTC. Other Linux distributions are not likely to differ by much.

  14. Scott 53

    Says a lot about me

    ...but I'm having difficulty getting past "nonce reset".

  15. TRT Silver badge

    I don't get how this works without the PSK...

    for the pairwise transient key. That's established in Handshake 2. Replaying 3 would allow you to mess around with the group temporal key, which is for multicast and broadcast packets. So apart from the Android bug which sets the encryption key to all zeroes, this is of limited value, surely. And in the video the guy talks about not wanting the Android to connect to the genuine network, but he needs that to happen in order to capture the packet for the replay attack. The MAIC proves that both parties know the PSK, so you need that. You also need to do a bit of MAC cloning too.

    Or am I missing something?

    1. L'Ecossais

      Re: I don't get how this works without the PSK...

      Having reviewed the article and the video a couple of times, I think the following is the explanation, but not being an expert, I'm open to corrections :)

      The key (pun intended) is that the router vulnerability seems to allow wardriving kit to inject Handshake 3 into the network traffic to acquire the ability to decrypt traffic on a read-only basis. The hijacking of client devices is stage 2 of the process. The video does not deal with the injection of the packets necessary to get the decryption key, only the creation of a MITM attack on an Android device - the MAC address suggests a Samsung phone.

      The capability to eavesdrop on a router is backed up by the following from the article:-

      "Despite this, however, the ability to decrypt Wi-Fi traffic could still reveal unique device identifiers (MAC addresses) and massive amounts of metadata (websites visited, traffic timing, patterns, amount of data exchanged etc.) which may well violate the privacy of the users on the network and provide valuable intelligence to whoever's sitting in the black van.”

      Ultimately, if there was no eavesdrop capability, there would be no MITM attack capability as the ability to inject encrypted packets to set up the "rogue channel" would not exist. Hence the statement at the end of the video that patching of routers is the fix.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: I don't get how this works without the PSK...

        It seems to me that the video involved tricking the client (station) into communicating with the fake AP on a different radio channel then, and this is another thing I'm not clear about, either relaying the packets to the internet via another connection or relaying the packets to the genuine AP. But it's still not clear to me what can be achieved against a non-android 6+ client. You can harvest MAC addresses without MITMing, they broadcast the things, and you can gather timing and packet size data just by listening too. This attack seems to purely trick a client into trusting spurious multicast packets.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I don't get how this works without the PSK...

      Put simply, the attack causes the client (supplicant) to re-install the PTK and GTK (or the GTK alone in the case of their group key attack) , which in turn means it will re-use the same PTK and nonce (replay counter) in the next frame it transmits. Result is 2 frames can be sniffed which have been RC4 stream encrypted with the same keystream. XOR them togther and (maybe) you can retrieve some plain text, or, if the frames happen to have known content, (probably, with some effort) you can retrieve at least parts of the PTK (the 128 bit encryption key and client to AP MIC key).

      In their words: "In turn, this causes all encryption protocols of WPA2 to reuse keystream when encrypting packets. In case a message that reuses keystream has known content, it becomes trivial to derive the used keystream. This keystream can then be used to decrypt messages with the same nonce. When there is no known content, it is harder to decrypt packets, although still possible in several cases (e.g. English text can still be decrypted). In practice, finding packets with known content is not a problem, so it should be assumed that any packet can be decrypted."

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: I don't get how this works without the PSK...

        Ah, well, yes. After reading the actual paper several times through it becomes clear that resetting the Nonce does so for both PTK and GTK, which is bad, very bad. The MIC then becomes trivial to reverse engineer and turns a rogue AP into a trusted AP. So it is as serious as they make out, even if it's tricky to pull off due to the need to hijack the airwaves. It could be mitigated further by including the radio channel characteristics in the KEK, but time division multiplexing would still allow a window for hijacking. Hmm... well, updates all round, I think!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Fundamental cryptographic weak Wi-Fi protocol

    Any idea as to who helped them secure the protocol?

  17. HieronymusBloggs

    OpenBSD

    "Android, Linux, Apple, Windows, OpenBSD, MediaTek, Linksys, and others"

    AFAIK OpenBSD patched this a couple of months ago (silently due to embargo).

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: OpenBSD

      "silently due to embargo"

      I think that is actually "silently despite the embargo" since publishing a patch to FOSS cannot be done without implicitly disclosing that a particular area of code is considered buggy. Therefore, more than one person reckons that OpenBSD kinda broke the embargo and they will therefore be placed on the naughty step for next time.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Got to hand it to them..

    Very well put together video, good clear non ear drum bursting audio, nice jump to/from the mobile device etc. Bravo - if only more videos in this sector were this high standard!

  19. Steve Kerr

    WPA2-Enterprise

    So would this also be the case for WPA2-Enterprise being that both will be based on the same core standards?

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: WPA2-Enterprise

      Explicitly stated so in the linked blog.

  20. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Client Vs AP

    Several commentards have mentioned that the attack is against the client rather than the AP. Aruba claim in their update that they've implemented a mitigation in their APs against this type of attack.

    Also, some APs can act as clients as well as APs (e.g. Mesh or repeater APs)

    1. TonyHoyle

      Yes you can theoretically mitigate it on the AP - it effectively turns into a DoS on the client, which is in many cases preferable to leaking information.

      Aruba are the first I've heard to actually implement this if so (Unifi only fixed client mode).

  21. Mage Silver badge
    Pirate

    Only possible comment

    Arrrgggh!

    Well, I recommended to business last month to only use ethernet cables, though it was for performance. Sigh.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can I ask what could be perceived as an obvious question but what happens after I update my AP?

    Do my devices have to be updated to handle the change in the handshake behaviour?

    1. TRT Silver badge

      You have to update the clients - these are the things that are most vulnerable.

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Do my devices have to be updated to handle the change in the handshake behaviour?

      Depends on the fix. A proper supplier will make sure that older clients still work (and, preferrably, have a configuration setting so that can be turned off if needed) by still supporting the old method.

      Then, as updated clients roll out, you can shut off support for the broken method.

  23. MR J

    4 Years ago in a land far far away.

    Some Netgear rep got an email from me detailing an exploit that new firmware was making on old units.

    They tested inhouse and found that the routers were indeed left open (on WAN SIDE) to anyone visiting a crafted URL and fetching the router Login details Name, Password. It was possible to fully hijack the router via the WAN side without issue.

    Netgear said that it's nothing to worry about as people buying NEW hardware would not suffer the same problem, thus as people upgrade the exploit will disappear.

    This "Problem" will be exactly the same, If the hardware is more than 2-3 years old then a fix will never come via the manufactures.

    The exploit for these old routers still exist to this day - even after multiple firmware updates on some units.

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: 4 Years ago in a land far far away.

      No idea why you were downvoted for that; I fear you're absolutely correct.

      1. ShortLegs

        Re: 4 Years ago in a land far far away.

        I'll offer the thought that the downvote was for the optimism that devices that are less than 3 years old will be patched.

        I'll offer the thought that few devices over 6 months old will be patched....

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: 4 Years ago in a land far far away.

          few devices over 6 months old will be patched

          (Pats Ubuqiti AP's fondly on their little blue lights)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 4 Years ago in a land far far away.

        Lack of relevance.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: 4 Years ago in a land far far away.

      "thus as people upgrade the exploit will disappear."

      Such naivety disappeared from the desktop about two decades ago. Yes, the automatic update mechanisms on the average OS do not have a 100% record, but for the average user who can't manage much beyond plugging it in and turning it on, they are almost certainly the only way to ensure that patches are deployed in the field.

      It is scandalous that people sell network-connected devices without any automatic update mechanism. With society's increasing dependence on such things, such omissions are almost in the league of "not fit for purpose" under consumer legislation. It wouldn't even be hard, since these devices are all based on stripped-down Linux distros and those all have the facility. Yes, have an off-switch for the power users if you must, but don't just leave it out.

    3. Mel

      Re: 4 Years ago in a land far far away.

      Hmm, I reported an issue I discovered to Netgear quite some years ago regarding their DG834 range (G,GT,N..) firmware when they were still current routers, that I don't believe was ever fixed.

      It was possible to bypass the login details and gain root access, due to no password protection on a sub-directory within the router's Httpd web server directory, plus various shell exploit vulnerabilities in the web interface, which would allow a hacker full root access to the router, including accessing all setting stored on the router, downloading and running binary code from the internet on the router and flashing custom firmware.

      It was remotely exploitable as a reflective attack, by getting a victim's browser to request a specially crafted URL by, for example, posting it as an image link in a forum post.

      I did consider publicly releasing a temporary fix which used the same exploits to clone the router's web directory to the ram based temp directory, omitting the unprotected setup directory, and set the router's httpd server to use that instead.

      I subsequently also discovered that it was possible to inject scripts into the router's NVRAM settings so that they'd survive a reboot and run automatically, so a hacker could fully own the router without even needing to replace the firmware.

      All the password vulnerability needed was a link to the password file added to the setup directory to make it password protected. The various shell exploits needed a lot more work to fix, but without the password bypass they wouldn't have been quite so serious.

      As far as I know, I believe the only router to be fixed was the Sky supplied dg834gt, and that was only because Sky replaced the standard firmware with a sky customised version which since it didn't require it, had omitted the setup web sub-directory, removing the password bypass vulnerability.

      Hopefully most will have been thrown out, or died and gone to landfill by now.

    4. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: 4 Years ago in a land far far away.

      "Netgear said that it's nothing to worry about as people buying NEW hardware would not suffer the same problem, thus as people upgrade the exploit will disappear."

      Nice to know that's their attitude. I will keep it in mind if I ever need to replace my eight year old Netgear router (wireless N dual band; still a decent little AP that is far better than anything my ISP offers). You can grok from that what my attitude may be on only patching new gear might be.

      Fortunately, DD-WRT.

  24. EnviableOne Silver badge

    Android 6.0+ Patch sometime in the future

    Ok even on my s7 Kernel is sept 8, android is 1 august, so if google patch android this week, I might be patched by end of january?

    at least those still on KitKat and ICS are safe ...

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Android 6.0+ Patch sometime in the future

      KitKats come with a tin foil enclosure.

  25. Duffaboy

    No system is 100% secure

    if it was then legit users wouldn't be able to login.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MIM attacks, this is soooo bad.

    cloud accounts, banking accounts, password sites like lastpass, all easily redirected by your next door neighbor.

    Everyone now has to have a VPN on their device to encrypt the encrypted.

    A lot of ISP's block VPN's, what is this now going to do to for the video streaming sites or even Government surveillance, everyone will have to use VPN for fear of getting hacked.

    Did this just break the internet?

    1. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: MIM attacks, this is soooo bad.

      "Everyone now has to have a VPN on their device to encrypt the encrypted."

      Any HTTPS connection will continue to be secure (or at least as secure as HTTPS itself is). As far as the web goes, more and more sites (like this one) are going HTTPS for everything, and certainly any login prompts or other places where sensitive data is meant to be sent are already encrypted on nearly every legitimate site. That's not to say VPNs are not a bad idea, but it's not so bad that wifi is now useless without one.

      FWIW, my laptop's Intel wifi card has already had a patched driver released, and my Android tablet that ( hardly ever use is so old that it was never vulnerable to this in the first place (according to the articles that say it's Android 6+). I am sure my Linux installations will have a fix as soon as I boot them also. Router uses DD-WRT, which has had the fix checked-in; just waiting for the build now.

  27. Merlinski
    Black Helicopters

    MAC address filtering

    So yes I use WPA2, but I also only allow certain MAC addressses onto the network.

    Still vulnerable?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: MAC address filtering

      Well considering how ridiculously easy it is to spoof a MAC address, then yes.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: MAC address filtering

      Downvoted for asking a question?

      Linux users....

  28. FireBurn

    That's Gentoo's ebuild for wpa_supplicant updated

  29. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

    Does anybody know if this will need fixing at the OS level or the driver level?

    IE: will there be a fix out for Android in November, or will there be a patch out from Qualcomm in 2047?

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Android, and the big names were informed privately a few months ago, so the fix should be available today. Whether it is available for your phone, of course, depends on your hardware vendor (and in some cases also on your ISP).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Standard?

        I don't know about that. The fault lies in the standard, which is why literally everything on the planet is vulnerable.

        If the manufacturers have "fixed" the standard and updated their code, they've done so (AFAIK) whilst keeping updates to the standard completely secret, whilst disseminating that to lots and lots of engineers, without any one of them spilling the beans, or being curious about why a "change" is needed in the first place and asking unfortunate questions on bulletin boards trying to find out.

        Seems unlikely!

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: Standard?

          There aren't very many manufacturers, and all of them are well-versed in keeping things secret until release.

          For example, the Linux wpa component team leads can be contacted about the issue, and they can then prepare a patch in a small group - all of whom know it's important to keep secret until release - and have it tested and ready to push to the public on the day of publication.

          They can even let the major distros know that something is coming without giving details.

          Oh yes, looks like they did.

  30. Randy Hudson

    Why does anyone care about wifi security?

    My router is wide open to all comers. Who cares? Those with the foil hats on, do you never use Starbuck's or any other public wifi?

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Why does anyone care about wifi security?

      "My router is wide open to all comers. Who cares?"

      Whoever pays your broadband bill, I would guess. (Unless they are made of money.) Starbucks are betting that the profit on the coffee far exceeds the cost of the bandwidth you can consume on their connection.

    2. Kiwi Silver badge

      Re: Why does anyone care about wifi security?

      Those with the foil hats on, do you never use Starbuck's or any other public wifi?

      Correct. I don't think I've ever even seen a SB except on TV. None around here that I'm aware of.

      But for those very few times I might actually want to use someone else's wifi while I am out, there's OpenVPN.

    3. Tim Seventh

      Re: Why does anyone care about wifi security?

      "My router is wide open to all comers. Who cares? Those with the foil hats on, do you never use Starbuck's or any other public wifi?"

      Well. When you're in Starbuck, you should be drinking coffee. When you're in the public, you should be walking or doing whatever activities in the public. You shouldn't need their wifi at all. Not to mention those wifi are super slow unsecured unreliable hacker welcoming internet connection.

      Even if you do, public wifi should never be on your convenient reliable internet access list. It should only be your last resort in a life emergency.

      As El Reg user, you should have at least (+/-)1MB phone data for emergency, so you don't really need that public wifi anyway, right?

      1. Updraft102 Silver badge

        Re: Why does anyone care about wifi security?

        "As El Reg user, you should have at least (+/-)1MB phone data for emergency, so you don't really need that public wifi anyway, right?"

        Aw crap, they're not going to revoke my silver badge when they find out I don't have a phone with data, are they? I never knew this was a requirement!

        1. Tim Seventh
          Joke

          Re: Why does anyone care about wifi security?

          "I don't have a phone with data"

          wait then how are you going to read El Reg on the go? Don't tell me you're going to white hat hack other wifi routers on the go. Especially in an emergency, in the middle of nowhere, dying of desktop-less, it is essential to access El Reg newest articles at all cost.

          /icon

    4. Adam 1

      Re: Why does anyone care about wifi security?

      Do you care if someone prints to your printer? Or starts sniffing about to see what might be protected by some ancient long broken Windows authentication scheme? Some of us live on oppressive regimes like Australia and the UK that collect "metadata" from every website you visit because, you know, terrorists. The sort of people who would want to exploit this are no doubt going to be doing things I don't want to go through my connection. Do you really want your media centre indexing the folders of media that they might have on their public share? Didn't think so.

      And on your other question, if had need to buy dirty sugar water and use their internet, my VPN is definitely ON with local traffic denied.

  31. fobobob

    At least it has served us longer than WEP without becoming completely, utterly, and laughably broken.

    1. bazza Silver badge

      WEP is broken, but I fear that it might now be better than WPA2! So far as I know it takes a little bit of effort to break WEP.

      This flaw in WPA2 seems to be trivial (at least from the point of view of computational complexity) to exploit.

      Oh the irony if the short term fix is to turn on WEP...

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        I believe breaking WEP took a little bit of effort back then. As you say, computational capability moved on since then, meaning in all likelihood WEP is even MORE trivial to crack than the WPA2 problem.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Cracking WEP took 2-3 minutes in 2007.

          All smartphones can do it, there are probably apps for that.

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Once you've tricked the client into reusing the nonce, you still have to gather enough packets encrypted using that nonce to break the session key. This attack is still much harder to pull off than a WEP crack. The trick is going to be preventing the nonce being reset repeatedly.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Breaking the session key

              @TRT

              The session key (PTK) is still secure under KRACKing, the "decryption" involves sniffing 2 frames using the same nonce (variable part is frame sequence number; KRACK causes it to be reset), then XORing them and using known plaintext to recover the keystream used for the 2 frames. This is different from actually finding the key used to generate the keystream (which is 128 bits from the session key PTK). This may be possible in the case of keystreams generated under TKIP (which uses weaker RC4 stream cipher) but highly unlikely for CCMP or GCMP (using AES in counter mode).

              In the case of TKIP and in GCMP it is possible to reconstruct the (MIC and GHASH respectively) authentication keys used to authenticate the ciphertext. This enables, along with the known keystream, forging of new frames, injecting arbitrary data.In the case of GCMP, it can be done in both directions (client to AP only with TKIP).

  32. fluffybunnyuk

    Sat here on 10GbE i'm laughing, You dont need WPA hackz to get inside a brightbox since the passwords sent plaintext anyway. We've got tons of the damn things round here, so much choice where to login...

  33. choleric

    Why do we still only have WPA2?

    Shirley we should have had WPA3 released by now? WPA2 was signed off in 2004 back when the earth was young. Did we really learn nothing from the sorry saga of playing catch-up with SSL and TLS vulnerabilities?

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Why do we still only have WPA2?

      It was a well designed system. It still is. There was a tiny flaw in the thinking, though, in allowing for dropped packets during the handshake. There's no reason why, say, a retry attempt number couldn't be included as a second nonce in handshake 3.

  34. Sanctimonious Prick
    Happy

    I'm looking forward to all the extra contract work I'll get fixing this mess up :)

  35. Kiwi Silver badge
    Linux

    As usual..

    Quick check of the update manager while reading the article - oh, there's a fix already there for Linux Mint (and therefore Ubuntu and Debian).

    Getting the routers fixed is another matter of course. And the older Android devices.

    Still, at least I don't have to wait till a Tuesday that's what, 3 weeks away?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As usual..

      You mean CVE-2017-13080? The one that was patched last tuesday?

      Twat.

  36. Camilla Smythe

    Awhhh Crap

    My has no Wi-Fi Mint Linux Box just asked to do some fucking Wi-Fi update stuff. The other tosser has Wi-Fi on his Wank-Top and a Fire-Stick. I guess I can switch off the Wi-Fi on the router or leave him be fucked. Then again this might be the ideal opportunity for Amber and GCHQ to download consensual Horse Pron on my behalf and blame someone else. Just Gotta Lurve Those Back Doors. Cough.

  37. hayzoos

    Is this a protcol issue? I think reusing a nonce is an implementation issue even if the protocol says to do so.

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