What you need to know about Wi-Fi's vulnerability

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - A new vulnerability called “KRACK” is exposing an untold number of Wi-Fi enabled devices to potential hackers.

KRACK exploits WPA2 security, which is a very common Wi-Fi password format. It’s safe to assume that the router you’re using has been set up with WPA2.

But, some experts say we should all take a deep breath before we panic on this one.

“We're finding out about it beforehand, so we can apply the patches,” Drury’s assistant professor of management information systems, Shannon McMurtrey, says. “We can look at what data's being transmitted. This is a preventable problem.”

While you should apply the latest security updates to any device that you use on private Wi-Fi networks, the biggest threat is likely to business owners. Since this hack makes even password-protected networks vulnerable, it’s imperative that all of their devices are on the most recent firmware.

With this threat, it’s possible that an intruder could get into a business’ Wi-Fi network and find sensitive files like payment information or personal data, if the business transmits any of that information over their wireless network.

“[Cyber security is] still an area that's very intimidating for a lot of business leaders,” McMurtrey said. “And, unfortunately, that's part of why I'm concerned about this announcement, because it's so widespread. WPA2 is everywhere, and so if businesses don't pay attention and respond, this has the potential to be a problem.”

Updating most devices can be as simple as going to a settings tab and licking “About” and then “Check for Update.” But, your Wi-Fi router will likely need to be updated as well.

We’ve added links to the most popular Wi-Fi router brands on the side of this page. You can follow them to look up your router’s information, and learn how to update it.

“That makes this story a little less scary because as long as companies apply patches, and as long as individuals update their phones, tablets and computers, theoretically this could be a pretty minimal event,” McMurtrey said. “But, if history is any guide, there will be businesses that don't get the patches applied in time.”