Is public Wifi still safe?

Is public Wifi still safe?

Recently, they announced that Wifi encryption has been broken. An attack known as Krack.

Does this mean that Wifi is no longer safe?

Well, yes and no.

So the traffic you send over a Wifi network can be encrypted or not. Unencrypted networks aren't safe for sensitive data at any time. Krack affects encrypted networks, so what you think is safe may not be.

But Krack only applies in particular circumstances - the attacker has to be physically close to the network and they have to send a load of data over that network. If they succeed, then they can read the encrypted data that's being sent over the network.

But, if you remember, when you're accessing a secure website (with a padlock in the address bar, an SSL-site), then your traffic to the site is doubly encrypted.

So your Krack attacker is sat there, rubbing their hands in glee at all this traffic that they've broken into. Only to find that they've got another layer of encryption to break into.

Because all the best security runs through layers.

Take Action: Next time you’re using public Wifi, take a note of how you connect - if you have to enter a password when you join, it’s encrypted. If you just connect, or you have to enter your email address on a webpage that opens up automatically, it’s not encrypted - so take extra care

Rahoul Baruah

Rahoul Baruah

Rubyist since 1.8.6. Freelancer since 2007, dedicated to building incredible, low-cost, bespoke software for tiny businesses. Also CTO at Collabor8Online.
Leeds, England