Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Pyrit -WPA/WPA2-PSK Epic Fail-

Pyrit allows to create massive databases, pre-computing part of the IEEE 802.11 WPA/WPA2-PSK authentication phase in a space-time-tradeoff. Exploiting the computational power of Many-Core- and other platforms through ATI-StreamNvidia CUDA and OpenCL, it is currently by far the most powerful attack against one of the world's most used security-protocols.

WPA/WPA2-PSK is a subset of IEEE 802.11 WPA/WPA2 that skips the complex task of key distribution and client authentication by assigning every participating party the same pre shared key. This master key is derived from a password which the administrating user has to pre-configure e.g. on his laptop and the Access Point. When the laptop creates a connection to the Access Point, a new session key is derived from themaster key to encrypt and authenticate following traffic. The "shortcut" of using a single master key instead of per-user keys eases deployment of WPA/WPA2-protected networks for home- and small-office-use at the cost of making the protocol vulnerable to brute-force-attacks against it's key negotiation phase; it allows to ultimately reveal the password that protects the network. This vulnerability has to be considered exceptionally disastrous as the protocol allows much of the key derivation to be pre-computed, making simple brute-force-attacks even more alluring to the attacker. For more background see this article on the project's blog.

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