Technology

Unpatched Linux bug may open devices to serious attacks over Wi-Fi

Enlarge (credit: Wi-Fi Alliance)
A potentially serious vulnerability in Linux may make it possible for nearby devices to use Wi-Fi signals to crash or fully compromise vulnerable machines, a security researcher said.
The flaw is located in the RTLWIFI driver, which is used to support Realtek Wi-Fi cards in Linux devices. The vulnerability triggers a buffer overflow in the Linux kernel when a machine with a Realtek Wi-Fi card is within radio range of a malicious device. At a minimum, exploits would cause an operating-system crash and could possibly allow a hacker to gain complete control of the computer. The flaw dates back to version 3.10.1 of the Linux kernel released in 2013.
“The bug is serious,” Nico Waisman, who is a principal security engineer at Github, told Ars. “It’s a vulnerability that triggers an overflow remotely through Wi-Fi on the Linux kernel, as long as you’re using the Realtek (RTLWIFI) driver.”
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