Beware of KRACK Attacks, but No Need to Panic

Just when you thought it was safe to use Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) to securely connect your Android devices to the internet, two researchers have found a flaw in the protocol that could be exploited by determined hackers.

The vulnerability has been dubbed “KRACK,” which is shorthand for “key reinstallation attack.”

The WPA2 vulnerability was discovered by Mathy Vanhoef, a network security and applied crypto post-doctoral candidate, and Frank Piessens, a computer science professor at the University of Leuven in Flanders, Belgium,” writes Michael Heller in TechTarget’s SearchSecurity.

Rob Graham, a cyber security consultant and blogger, writes that organizations should be wary of potential KRACK vulnerabilities, but adds there’s no cause for immediate panic.

“Most security vendors will add things to their products/services to defend you. While valuable in some cases, it's not a defense. The defense is patching the devices you know about, and preventing vulnerable devices from attaching to your network,” writes Graham.

All-Star Coders Join Race for Bitcoin Riches

The cryptocurrency wars are heating up, with former coders from major tech giants joining the battle for Bitcoin glory.

“Former Silicon Valley developers are working on at least two new versions of the digital currency. Basecoin is seeking to solve bitcoin’s volatility with a team of former Google Inc. coders that are building what they hope will be a more stable version of the cryptocurrency,” writes Camila Russo in Bloomberg Technology. “Cypherium has former Google, Amazon Inc. and Microsoft Corp. developers building a blockchain that aims to be able to handle an expanded workload more easily.”

As Russo notes, Bitcoin already has plenty of competition. And the fate of Bitcoin itself is far from certain. But that hasn’t stopped investors from placing huge bets on the imaginary currency. Only time will tell if Bitcoin is for real, or only a passing fad.

Working For Robots?

There’s no question that automation and artificial intelligence are slowly but surely transforming our economy. The big question though is when will automation become so efficient and cost-effective that humans are no longer needed?

The good news is that it will take decades before we reach the day when human workers can be fully replaced by robots. But it would be unwise to pretend that it will never happen. As leaders of the tech community, we have a clear responsibility to discuss and debate the challenges and unforeseen consequences of automation and AI.

As a good starting point, I recommend Sheelah Kolhatkar’s excellent article in the New Yorker, entitled “Welcoming Our New Robot Overlords.” It’s definitely worth reading, sharing and discussing.