It took approximately a month for the major operating systems to develop a patch for this, but the incident served as a reminder that in many ways, cyberspace security is still in caveat emptor mode.
Maybe they’ve added defenses now to prevent a Krack attack on Wi-Fi networks, but the chilling fact remains: this hack was out there for as long as 14 years before it was discovered.
Frankly, massive network hacks target major players like corporations, banks, and government offices. Small business and individuals usually aren’t affected.
However, a profitable cottage industry in the underworld involves small-time hackers hanging around in public places that offer free wi-fi — coffee shops, malls, and airports, for example — picking off a few credit cards, gift certificates, and bank accounts, and then selling them to more sophisticated operations overseas.
Your first line of defense against hacking is your password. Simply stated, this is the 21st century. Get with the program. Otherwise, it’s on you.
Your next precaution should be a second layer of encryption for, if nothing else, those times when you’re going online in public places.
One simple method is deploying a Virtual Public Network (VPN).
The market offers an abundance of choices. Some are even free. Just know that in any case, you’ll need to give up something to get something. For e-commerce entrepreneurs, it’ll probably be speed.
As to your smartphone and tablet, make certain your firmware is up to date. For example, if you’ve got an Android OS:
- Open Settings;
- Open About Phone;
- Check the Security Patch Level;
- It should read 2017-11-06, at the very least.
Checking CERT’s complete list of patch updates, it shows:
- Samsung distributed the patch on 26 Oct 2017, and
- Apple followed soon thereafter, on 1 Nov 2017.
Communication security can be as sophisticated as you think you’ll need to get. However, these basic safeguards should suffice in most instances, but only if you take action.