Should you panic?

By | October 23, 2017
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You might have heard in the news lately there’s been a bit of a kerfuffle about something called “Krack”.

It’s a weakness that’s been discovered in the type of security used by most wifi routers. Chances are, your router uses this type of security.

And the flaw means that someone could drive up outside your house and use a laptop to hack into your network. Changing the password on your wifi router won’t help.

And at the moment, there’s no fix or update to sort it out (though I’m sure there are a lot of very clever people working flat out to get one ready).

So what should you do – should you panic? Well, no.

It is a serious issue but the news stories have generally missed something important. This is a weakness in the security for your wifi – to your router. That does matter and it potentially means people could spy on information sent from your laptop/tablet/whatever to the router.

But if your laptop/tablet/smartphone is properly set up, it’ll have some kind of “firewall” on it – which means there are limits to how they could access your computer/tablet/phone.

More importantly, although they could watch what data you send to the internet (and vice versa), that doesn’t necessarily mean they could see your credit card details, bank details or passwords, if you use them while they’re watching.

You see, any webpage that asks for that sort of data should be using “https” – you can tell because when you look at the web address it should start with https instead of just http. Also most browsers show a little padlock symbol next to the web address or say “secure”.

That means that even if someone watched the information being sent to the internet, it’s properly encrypted so they can’t tell what it actually says.

In fact many people never change the wifi password on their router anyway, which means anyone could access their wifi even before this security flaw was discovered – for them, nothing has really changed!

Still, I’m not saying this issue doesn’t matter at all – it’s much better to have no-one able to get into your wifi in the first place. Two things keeping you safe is better than one!

But for most people, I don’t think there’s anything particular you should do, at least until the updates are ready to protect against this particular weakness.

Facebook and Privacy
One of the things several people have told me about Facebook is they’d like to use it (or their family would like them to!) but they’re worried about messing it up… in particular they’ve heard of worries about privacy.

It’s a fair point – there’s certain personal information you might be happy to share with friends but don’t want the whole world to know… or details about you that you don’t want everyone to be able to see in case they’re a hacker.

It is possible to keep things like that restricted to friends and family only, though, and yes the new Facebook books do cover this. In fact there’s a chunk in the full information here specifically about privacy.

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