Monday, July 26, 2010

Hole 196: WPA2 Security Vulnerability Discovered

Via -

Perhaps it was only a matter of time. But wireless security researchers say they have uncovered a vulnerability in the WPA2 security protocol, which is the strongest form of Wi-Fi encryption and authentication currently standardized and available.

Malicious insiders can exploit the vulnerability, named "Hole 196" by the researcher who discovered it at wireless security company AirTight Networks. The moniker refers to the page of the IEEE 802.11 Standard (Revision, 2007) on which the vulnerability is buried.

Hole 196 lends itself to man-in-the-middle-style exploits, whereby an internal, authorized Wi-Fi user can decrypt, over the air, the private data of others, inject malicious traffic into the network and compromise other authorized devices using open source software, according to AirTight.

The researcher who discovered Hole 196, Md Sohail Ahmad, AirTight technology manager, intends to demonstrate it at two conferences taking place in Las Vegas next week: Black Hat Arsenal and DEF CON 18.


The ability to exploit the vulnerability is limited to authorized users, AirTight says. Still, year-after-year security studies show that insider security breaches continue to be the biggest source of loss to businesses, whether from disgruntled employees or spies who steal and sell confidential data.

What can we do about Hole 196?

"There's nothing in the standard to upgrade to in order to patch or fix the hole," says Kaustubh Phanse, AirTight's wireless architect who describes Hole 196 as a "zero-day vulnerability that creates a window of opportunity" for exploitation.

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