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Wi-Fi router vulnerabilities can leave you wide open to hackers

Typically, attacks against your WiFi router require a lengthy attempt to guess any codes and passwords. Not if you use 0xcite’s new technique, however; the research firm has detailed a flaw in some router chipsets that lets hackers bypass the push-button security of WiFi Protected Setup almost instantly. Instead of trying to guess a hotspot’s PIN code, which can take hours, you simply take a single shot based on a series of offline calculations. Once you’re ready to attack, it takes roughly “one second” to get in.

A researcher has refined an attack on wireless routers with poorly implemented versions of the Wi-Fi Protected Setup that allows someone to quickly gain access to a router’s network. The attack exploits weak randomization, or the lack of randomization, in a key used to authenticate hardware PINs on some implementations of Wi-Fi Protected Setup, allowing anyone to quickly collect enough information to guess the PIN using offline calculations. By calculating the correct PIN, rather than attempting to brute-force guess the numerical password, the new attack circumvents defenses instituted by companies. While previous attacks require up to 11,000 guesses—a relatively small number—and approximately four hours to find the correct PIN to access the router’s WPS functionality, the new attack only requires a single guess and a series of offline calculations, according to Dominique Bongard, reverse engineer and founder of 0xcite, a Swiss security firm.

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