Should you be concerned about the WiFi hack “KRACK”

On Monday, October 16, 2017 a new hack was introduced to the computing world called KRACK and created quite a stir. It exploits a security issue discovered in the WPA2 protocol. Yes almost all modern WiFi Modems and  Routers, as well as your Cell Phones, Smart TVs, Computers, etc., anything with WiFi capability, use this security protocol. Yes, this is a major concern! Yes, a fix or fixes are on the way! Yes, you can be hacked! So what can you do?

First, in order to hack into your WiFi a hacker has to be local or close to your WiFi network, your modem and router, your Smart TV, your Cell Phone or Tablet, or your out-of-date Computer, to gain access to it. If you have WiFi engaged on your phone you can check how far your WiFi network signal travels outside your home by watching the WiFi bars; the same if you live in an apartment. This is the zone of vulnerability for your network.

Keep in mind if you connect to a network at your favorite coffee shop or the airport you can be hacked there. So don’t access WiFi in public places. (Up-to-date Windows 10 and Windows 7 PCs are okay as they are patched) As of this writing Android phones and tablets have not yet received a patch so do not connect them to public WiFi. It is estimated that 41% of these devices are vulnerable.

Second, the hacker or hackers have to know what they’re doing. This hack has not been released to the public, so hackers who could reverse engineer the hack do not have access to it yet. And when they eventually gain access to this information, they’ll need to be close by to the network your using; not an easy thing to do. They cannot hack you from miles away!

Third, if your truly worried, and you shouldn’t be, you could turn off all your WiFi capable electronics.  Disengage or turn off the WiFi on your Smart TVs, your Cell Phones, your Pads, your Computers (again, up-to-date Windows PCs are okay as they are patched), and anything else that uses WiFi. Temporarily hook them up with an internet cable if needed. Remember this is WiFi (over the air) and the internet cable does not use WiFi, it is direct. Really, the only area of concern would be public places!

And finally, the good news. The hack was revealed to the WiFi providers weeks ago. They are currently working on, and in some cases, already have fixes or patches for the hack. Check with your internet provider or the manufacturer of your modem,router, cell phones, smart tvs, etc. to see if these patches are available. They will provide all the necessary information on how to update your firmware. Or if you need, get in touch with your computer expert for help.

Check back with often for more info and tips!