Technology companies are starting to respond to a new Wi-Fi exploit affecting all modern Wi-Fi networks using WPA or WPA 2 encryption. The security vulnerabilities allow attackers to read Wi-Fi traffic between devices and wireless access points, and in some cases even modify it to inject malware into websites. Security researchers claim devices running macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, and Linux will be affected by the vulnerabilities.
Microsoft says it has already fixed the problem for customers running supported versions of Windows. “We have released a security update to address this issue,” says a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement to The Verge. “Customers who apply the update, or have automatic updates enabled, will be protected. We continue to encourage customers to turn on automatic updates to help ensure they are protected.” Microsoft says the Windows updates released on October 10th protect customers, and the company “withheld disclosure until other vendors could develop and release updates.”
While it looks like Android and Linux devices are affected by the worst part of the vulnerabilities, allowing attackers to manipulate websites, Google has promised a fix for affected devices “in the coming weeks.” Google’s own Pixel devices will be the first to receive fixes with security patch level of November 6, 2017, but most other handsets are still well behind even the latest updates. Security researchers claim 41 percent of Android devices are vulnerable to an “exceptionally devastating” variant of the Wi-Fi attack that involves manipulating traffic, and it will take time to patch older devices.
The Verge has reached out to a variety of Android phone makers to clarify when security patches will reach handsets, and we’ll update you accordingly. At the time of writing, Apple has not yet clarified whether the latest versions of macOS and iOS are vulnerable.
The Wi-Fi Alliance, a network of companies responsible for Wi-Fi, has responded to the disclosure of the vulnerabilities. “This issue can be resolved through straightforward software updates, and the Wi-Fi industry, including major platform providers, has already started deploying patches to Wi-Fi users,” says a Wi-Fi Alliance spokesperson. “Users can expect all their Wi-Fi devices, whether patched or unpatched, to continue working well together.”
Apple also confirmed to both The Verge and AppleInsider that the vulnerability is patched in a beta version of the current operating systems. The fix should go public in a few weeks, so iOS and macOS devices aren’t in the clear just yet. AppleInsider also reports that AirPort hardware, including the Time Machine, AirPort Extreme base station, and AirPort Express do not have a patch. The publication’s source also wasn’t sure if one was in the works.
Update, 2PM ET: New Microsoft statement added.
Update, 3PM ET: Apple comment added.