How To Protect Your Home Network From ‘FragAttacks’
FragAttacks refers to a group of vulnerabilities related to frames or packets of data, that can be exploited to either steal someone’s information as it passes between networked devices, or to take over a device entirely.
FragAttacks stands for “fragmentation and aggregation attacks.” These are a collection of security vulnerabilities announced together. Three of them are design flaws with Wi-Fi itself and affect most devices that use Wi-Fi.
The collection of vulnerabilities called FragAttacks were discovered by Mathy Vanhoef, the same security researcher who previously discovered KRACK, an attack on the WPA2 encryption protocol used to secure Wi-Fi networks.
As security researcher Mathy Vanhoef writes:
“The discovered vulnerabilities affect all modern security protocols of Wi-Fi, including the latest WPA3 specification. Even the original security protocol of Wi-Fi, called WEP, is affected. This means that several of the newly discovered design flaws have been part of Wi-Fi since its release in 1997! Fortunately, the design flaws are hard to abuse because doing so requires user interaction or is only possible when using uncommon network settings. As a result, in practice the biggest concern are the programming mistakes in Wi-Fi products since several of them are trivial to exploit.”
FragAttacks: Demonstration of Flaws in WPA2/3
How Do You Protect Yourself?
The best way to keep your network as safe as possible against FragAttack vulnerabilities is to keep your devices updated. Make sure your routers, smart devices, laptops, phones, or whatever else are all running the most up-to-date firmware and software updates you can find.
When signing in online, make sure you’re on an HTTPS site. Also, try using secure encryption everywhere: Even if you’re just transferring files between devices on your local network, use an application that offers encryption to secure that transfer. This will protect you from FragAttacks and other potential future flaws that could bypass your Wi-Fi encryption to spy on you.
Of course, a VPN can route all your traffic through an encrypted connection, so it gives you extra protection against FragAttacks if you have to access an HTTP website.