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New Wi-Fi Vulnerabilities Expose Android and Linux Devices to Hackers

New Wi-Fi Vulnerabilities Expose Android and Linux Devices to Hackers

?Feb 21, 2024?NewsroomNetwork Security / Vulnerability

Cybersecurity researchers have identified two authentication bypass flaws in open-source Wi-Fi software found in Android, Linux, and ChromeOS devices that could trick users into joining a malicious clone of a legitimate network or allow an attacker to join a trusted network without a password.

The vulnerabilities, tracked as CVE-2023-52160 and CVE-2023-52161, have been discovered following a security evaluation of wpa_supplicant and Intel’s iNet Wireless Daemon (IWD), respectively.

The flaws “allow attackers to trick victims into connecting to malicious clones of trusted networks and intercept their traffic, and join otherwise secure networks without needing the password,” Top10VPN said in a new research conducted in collaboration with Mathy Vanhoef, who has previously uncovered Wi-Fi attacks like KRACK, DragonBlood, and TunnelCrack.


CVE-2023-52161, in particular, permits an adversary to gain unauthorized access to a protected Wi-Fi network, exposing existing users and devices to potential attacks such as malware infections, data theft, and business email compromise (BEC). It impacts IWD versions 2.12 and lower.

On the other hand, CVE-2023-52160 affects wpa_supplicant versions 2.10 and prior. It’s also the more pressing of the two flaws owing to the fact that it’s the default software used in Android devices to handle login requests to wireless networks.

New Wi-Fi Vulnerabilities

That said, it only impacts Wi-Fi clients that aren’t properly configured to verify the certificate of the authentication server. CVE-2023-52161, however, affects any network that uses a Linux device as a wireless access point (WAP).

Successful exploitation of CVE-2023-52160 banks on the prerequisite that the attacker is in possession of the SSID of a Wi-Fi network to which the victim has previously connected. It also requires the threat actor to be in physical proximity to the victim.

“One possible such scenario might be where an attacker walks around a company’s building scanning for networks before targeting an employee leaving the office,” the researchers said.


Major Linux distributions such as Debian (1, 2), Red Hat (1), SUSE (1, 2), and Ubuntu (1, 2) have released advisories for the two flaws. The wpa_supplicant issue has also been addressed in ChromeOS from versions 118 and later, but fixes for Android are yet to be made available.

“In the meantime, it’s critical, therefore, that Android users manually configure the CA certificate of any saved enterprise networks to prevent the attack,” Top10VPN said.

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