When Australian CSIRO scientists invented Wi-Fi, they revolutionised the world, according to National Geographic.
But a serious flaw in the incredibly popular tech has recently come to light.
Just about every person in developed countries is now at risk.
A fault in the encryption protocol is making it easy for hackers to exploit the system.
Rob Graham of Errata Security recently said in a blog:
‘Everyone needs to be afraid.
‘It means in practice, attackers can decrypt a lot of Wi-Fi traffic, with varying levels of difficulty depending on your precise network set up.’
Security researchers and governments worldwide have released warnings alerting the public to the risk.
The encryption flaw could open the door for hackers, allowing them to hear your conversations or hijack your device.
This puts people all over the world at risk.
Businesses, individuals, families, or even city centres utilising Wi-Fi could be easily hacked.
According to the Australian Federal Police, computer scientists at KU Leuven made the discovery a few weeks ago. The information was guarded until now in order to give systems a chance to develop patches.
This prevents handing the information to hackers on a silver platter.
But it also takes away the opportunity for potential victims to take precautionary measures in the meantime.
Hackers utilising this flaw could have had access to ‘credit card numbers, passwords, chat messages, emails, photos, and so on,’ according to KU Leuven researcher Mathy Vanhoef.
Similarly, the weakness could ‘inject ransomware or other malware into websites.’
This discovery means that your phone, computer, tablet, or even fridge could be unprotected.
Worse, they would have been that way since you first hooked up to a Wi-Fi modem.
Whether that was at work, at home, or at the local shopping centre. You would have been left wide open for a hacker.
The ‘security built into Wi-Fi is likely ineffective, and we should not assume it provides any security.’ This comes from British-based digital service firm Iron Group.
They’ve said that internet browsing may actually be the safest activity on your smartphone.
While websites have their own encryption, the connection to your smartphone may not.
And that puts you at risk.
Similar statements have been popping up all over the globe. And all of them are spreading the same message — ‘BE AFRAID’.
At this stage, there is no evidence that hackers have acted on this weakness. But it’s still important for vigilance now that the information is easily accessible.
Patches are coming through thick and fast from companies like Microsoft and Google.
In the meantime, we all need to stay vigilant and make sure devices are up to date.