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Encryption flaw found in over a billion Wi-Fi devices

Encryption flaw found in over a billion Wi-Fi devices

Can affect both personal and enterprise-grade authentication

Credit: Dreamstime

Users of Broadcom and Cypress Wi-Fi chips are at significant risk of cyber security breaches after a flaw was unearthed in the products.  

Security software vendor Eset warned the vulnerability, found in Wi-Fi devices and access points, can allow attackers to decrypt encrypted wireless network packets if left unpatched. 

Research identified the CVE-2019-15126 vulnerability, named Kr00k, in January 2019, which can affect access points and routers from Wi-Fi chips by Broadcom and Cypress.

Detailed in the Kr00k – CVE-2019-15126: Serious vulnerability deep inside your Wi-Fi encryption whitepaper, Eset claimed these chips are commonly used in Wi-Fi-enabled devices, including smartphones, tablets and laptops and internet of things (IoT) gadgets.

Kr00k was also found in access points and routers with Broadcom chips, impacting whole environments regardless if individual devices are patched. This vulnerability affects both WPA2-Personal and WPA2-Enterprise protocols with AES-CCMP encryption.

Following its discovery, Eset disclosed Kr00k’s existence to Broadcom and Cypress and, along with other manufacturers, released patches to address the vulnerability during Q4 2019 and Q1 20202.

Some pre-patch-affected devices included devices from Amazon, Apple, Google, Samsung, Raspberry and Xiaomi, as well as access points from Asus and Huawei, which totalled over a billion affected devices “at a conservative estimate”, according to the whitepaper.

“Kr00k – CVE-2019-15126 is a vulnerability that affected billions of devices, potentially causing the leak of sensitive data and opening a new attack vector for blackhats,” the whitepaper noted. “While the source of the bug lies in the Wi-Fi chips, fortunately, it can be mitigated through software or firmware updates.

“Users and organisations should update devices with Broadcom or Cypress chips to the latest software versions. This includes both client devices, as well as access points. Manufacturers using Broadcom or Cypress chips should check with those vendors that their devices have been patched.”

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