The Situation Room – Cyber-security watchdog warns of potental WiFi security flaw

Mac Olsen

It’s always important to be vigilent about protecting your computers, smartphones and tablets with the latest anti-virus software and updates.

However, one cyber-security watchdog is warning about a potential WiFi security flaw. The National Post had a story about this issue in their Oct. 17 edition. As per the story:

“The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team’s announcement comes after a security expert at the University of Leuven in Belgium published findings that showed that a widely used encryption system for wireless networks could give attackers an opening to steal sensitive information such as emails, chat histories and credit card numbers.

“The exploit would allow hackers to eavesdrop on Internet traffic between computers and wireless access points. The findings are significant because of the wide range of devices that could be affected.

“The attack works against all modern protected WiFi networks,” Mathy Vanhoef said on a website he created to share his research. “Depending on the network configuration, it is also possible to inject and manipulate data. For example, an attacker might be able to inject ransomware or other malware into websites.”

Recently, Norton by Symantec announced a security alert about a new vulnerability called KRACK, “likely impacting anyone who uses WiFi.” The company suggests using a secure Virtual Private Network to “keep safe against this threat.”

These reports deserve to be taken seriously.

Given what hackers are capable of – especially with malware and ransomware – it would be foolish to dismiss them out of hand.

In the U.S., Hector Xavier Monsegur was convicted of being a hacker.

As per a 2014 article in The Atlantic, Monsegur was apprehended in 2011 for hacking and he served seven months in prison. He had helped the FBI to catch other hackers or “cyber criminals,” and helped to “disrupt or prevent at least 300 hacks.”

The article also states that Monsegur “contributed directly to the identification, prosecution and conviction of eight of his major co-conspirators.”

It’s all very well that Monsegur made amends for participating as a hacker. But that doesn’t excuse him for what he did, and people like him should have no access to, or involvement with, computer technology and telecommunication access.

But then, it’s always a race between computer and cyber security experts and hackers to keep ahead of each other.

There is no absolute guarantee that you can make your computer or mobile device 100 per secure.

I found out the hard way in 1999. I had a notebook computer and a virus targeted a specific function in the operating system that prevented me from conducting routine operations. It took two days to restore my computer to full working order.

The WiFi threats announced recently are a reminder of the vigilance required to protect your computer and mobile devices.

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