Now-Fixed WiFi Vulnerability Left Apple Devices Open to Attack

A vulnerability in WiFi chips made by Cypress Semiconductor and Broadcom left billions of devices susceptible to an attack that allowed nearby attackers to decrypt sensitive data sent over the air.

ipad iphone duo ios 12
The security flaw was detailed at the RSA security conference today (via Ars Technica), and for Apple users, the issue was addressed in the iOS 13.2 and macOS 10.15.1 updates that were released back in late October.

Dubbed Kr00k, the WiFi chip flaw caused vulnerable devices to use an all-zero encryption key to encrypt part of a user's communications. When applied successfully, the attack let hackers decrypt some wireless network packets sent by a vulnerable device. As described by Ars Technica:

Kr00k exploits a weakness that occurs when wireless devices disassociate from a wireless access point. If either the end-user device or the access point is vulnerable, it will put any unsent data frames into a transmit buffer and then send them over the air. Rather than encrypt this data with the session key negotiated earlier and used during the normal connection, vulnerable devices use a key consisting of all zeros, a move that makes decryption trivial.

Chips from Broadcom and Cypress are used in many modern WiFi devices like smartphones, laptops, Internet of Things products, WiFi access points, and routers.

Our tests confirmed that prior to patching, some client devices by Amazon (Echo, Kindle), Apple (iPhone, iPad, MacBook), Google (Nexus), Samsung (Galaxy), Raspberry (Pi 3), Xiaomi (RedMi), as well as some access points by Asus and Huawei, were vulnerable to KrØØk. This totaled to over a billion Wi-Fi-capable devices and access points, at a conservative estimate. Further, many other vendors whose products we did not test also use the affected chipsets in their devices.

According to ESET Research, which published details on the vulnerability, it was disclosed to Broadcom and Cypress along with potentially affected parties. At this time, patches for devices from most major manufacturers have been released.

ESET Research recommends making sure all of the latest updates have been applied to WiFi capable devices to patch the vulnerability.

Top Rated Comments

Cosmosent Avatar
25 months ago
Anybody know if it's fixed in Mojave 10.14.6 ?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
now i see it Avatar
25 months ago
but we were assured that iOS devices were secure...
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cmaier Avatar
25 months ago

They are as secure as anything else. But Apple designs some of their chips, they don't make them. Contractors do. So the vulnerabilities can still be introduced into the supply chain through the same vector; chip providers... just like the vulnerabilities can be introduced by Apple themselves... or the chip makers suppliers... or...

Most of this stuff is scarier in theory than in practice.
It would be very unlikely for a vulnerability that does not exist in the design to exist in the manufactured silicon. When we design chips, and have them made, we test them extremely thoroughly to make sure they behave identically to the RTL and simulated netlist.

And since the manufacturer does not have a simulate-able netlist, it would be very difficult to introduce intentional flaws while still maintaining full functionality so as to fool this testing.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
1345873 Avatar
25 months ago

Anybody know if it's fixed in Mojave 10.14.6 ?
it's not there, no problem with Mojave and WiFi..

why the angry faces? Apple hasn’t confirmed it, so there’s no problem..
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
allpar Avatar
25 months ago

this is why you keep your devices updated because of security risks - most people forget that
Yeah, well, if they make new versions compatible with old software, I can do that, but I'm not spending ten grand to move to Catalina.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iapplelove Avatar
25 months ago

No we were assured that “what happens on the iPhone stays in the iPhone” and “it just works”.
I never understood the “ what happens on my iPhone stays on my iPhone” campaign.
Doesnt make much sense to me when I rely on iCloud so much.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

maxresdefault

Review: M1 Max MacBook Pro After Three Months

Wednesday January 19, 2022 11:30 am PST by
It's now been a few months since the M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pro models launched in October, and MacRumors video editor Dan Barbera has been using one of the new machines since they debuted. Over on the MacRumors YouTube channel, Dan has shared a three month review of his MacBook Pro to see how it has held up over time and how it's changed his workflow. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube ...
airpodsinear 1

AirPods Save Woman's Life With Feature Everyone Should Know

Friday January 21, 2022 2:13 am PST by
Apple's AirPods have been credited with saving a woman's life after a potentially fatal fall, People reports. When a 60-year-old florist in New Jersey tripped and hit her head in her studio, she lost consciousness and awoke heavily bleeding. With nobody around to call for help, she realized she had her AirPods in, and used a "Hey Siri" command to call 911. An operator was able to stay on the ...
iphone se 2020 top

New iPhone SE Likely to Launch in April Based on Production Timeframe

Wednesday January 19, 2022 6:44 am PST by
Apple suppliers will begin producing display panels for the third-generation iPhone SE this month, with final assembly of the device likely to start in March, according to information shared by display industry consultant Ross Young. Based on this production timeframe, Young believes the third-generation iPhone SE is likely to launch in the second half of April, or perhaps in early May at...
iphone 13 earpods

Apple to Stop Including EarPods With Every iPhone Sold in France From Next Week

Friday January 21, 2022 3:21 am PST by
Apple will no longer include EarPods with every iPhone sold in France, starting on January 24, according to a notice posted by a French carrier (via iGeneration). Apple was previously required to include EarPods in the box with the iPhone due to a French law that required every smartphone sold in the country to come with a "handsfree kit," but the law has now been changed in favor of reducing the ...
Spring 2022 Apple Products Feature

New iPad Air, Macs, and iPhone SE With 5G Likely to Be Announced at Apple Event This Spring

Thursday January 20, 2022 8:32 am PST by
Earlier this week, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman tweeted that Apple "will be holding a spring event" to announce a new iPhone SE and other hardware. In a recent edition of his newsletter, Gurman said the event is likely to occur in March or April. Gurman did not elaborate on what "other hardware" will be announced at Apple's purported spring event, but rumors suggest at least four products are...
appleeducation

Apple's US Education Store Now Requires Institution Verification to Buy Discounted Products

Wednesday January 19, 2022 2:22 am PST by
Apple is now requiring that customers in the United States verify that they're active students, teachers, or staff members at an educational institution in order to access education discounts on products. Previously, little verification was needed for customers to purchase products through Apple's education store in the United States. Apple's education stores offer models of the iPad and Mac ...
AirPods 3 New Firmware Feature

Apple Updates AirPods 3 Firmware to Version 4C170

Tuesday January 18, 2022 11:46 am PST by
Apple today released a new 4C170 firmware update for the AirPods 3, an update from the prior 4C165 that was made available in December. Apple does not offer details on what's included in new firmware updates for the AirPods‌, so we don't know what improvements or bug fixes the new firmware brings. There is no standard way to upgrade the ‌AirPods‌‌ software, but firmware is...
appleprivacyad cleaned

iOS 15 Patched Security Hole That Potentially Exposed Users' Private Apple ID Information to Third-Party Apps

Thursday January 20, 2022 3:32 am PST by
Apple patched two significant security vulnerabilities when it released iOS 15 that could have potentially exposed users' private Apple ID information and in-app search history to malicious third-party apps and allowed apps to override user Privacy preferences, Apple has revealed in a recent support document update. With most iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS updates, Apple provides a list of...
apple watch series 7 aluminum colors yellowbg

Apple Watch Charging Bug Fixed in watchOS 8.4 Release Candidate

Thursday January 20, 2022 4:01 pm PST by
The watchOS 8.4 release candidate that was seeded to developers and beta testers this morning addresses an ongoing bug that could cause some Apple Watch chargers not to work properly with the Apple Watch. Back in December, we reported on a growing number of charging issues that Apple Watch Series 7 owners were facing. Since watchOS 8.3, there have been a number of complaints about...