Information security and technology professionals spend a lot of time trumpeting the need to keep computing and mobile devices updated with the latest operating system, software updates and firmware updates to protect data. Unfortunately, we tend to wait until we are forced to complete the update or make the time, without considering the risk of dragging our feet.

But the reality is that a majority of malicious attacks – ransomware, malware, spyware and greyware, as well as phishing, spear phishing, whaling and CEO – lead to data or financial loss in one form or another. Barbara Corcoran, the real estate mogul whose business savvy made her a judge on Shark Tank, recently reported losing nearly $400,000 in a phishing scam. She later tweeted, “Lesson learned: Be careful when you wire money!”

A different vulnerability with the potential to affect billions of computing devices – aptly named “Kr00k” – is the latest to put information technology professionals on high alert. Given the stakes, you should be on high alert too.

How this ‘Kr00k’ Could Swipe Your Data

ESET – a Slovakia-based internet security company – recently discovered a huge security flaw that leaves billions of Wi-Fi-connected devices susceptible to data exploitation. The cybersecurity threat, dubbed Kr00k, allow routers to decode your encrypted Wi-Fi traffic and spy on your personal information. This bug does not target PCs but any device with Broadcom and Cypress Wi-Fi chipsets, which are commonly found in smartphones, laptops and tablets. The greatest risks confront the following:

  • Apple MacBooks, iPhones, iPads
  • Samsung Galaxy
  • Google Nexus
  • Amazon Echo

The impact of this vulnerability has been mitigated for anyone who has updated their technology to the latest releases. But the fact remains: vulnerabilities to data, privacy and financial loss are real.

Cybercriminals are no longer searching merely for notoriety and acceptance. Today, they have expanded into criminal enterprises, and in some cases with support from nation states, to gain financial windfalls. From simple ransomware attacks on personal computers to a multi-million-dollar fraudulent wire transfers, the focus now is money.

Don’t Be This Kr00k’s Victim – Install the Update

We all play a part in protecting our own data. Or not. Your own first and last line of defense is you.