This is some general information, which has been picked up in the main stream media (links below) but not reported that widely as far as I can see. And it is quite important. Some folks at a Belgium University have found a way to hack pretty much all wi-fi enabled devices (when they are connected to wi-fi). This includes phones, tablets, computers, printers and even the routers themselves.
Apart from being able to view any data transmitted by wi-fi (i.e. emails, images and any other data you transfer), ‘attackers’ would potentially be able to add ‘malware’ or ‘ransomware’ to you network or individual devices. It’s not necessarily easy to exploit this little flaw in the system, but someone who was able, either in a work network, a public network (train, cafe etc) or a home network, would potentially have unlimited access to data transmitted by that network.
The good news is, fixes for this little ‘f**k up’ can be applied via software updates and don’t need any hardware replacements. So if you get a prompt to update your phone or computer it would be wise to install. Microsoft released a ‘patch’ straight-away and others should follow. You may need to contact your broadband provider to ask them whether you need / how to, update your router.
So, don’t panic, but if you see someone sitting at a desk, with a laptop, in your garden, be concerned (unless you rent out hot-desks in your garden).
Links to articles:
Wordfence Article : 16th Oct 2017
(This has a fairly basic introduction to the issue as well as links to more technical info)
Verge Article : 16th Oct 2017
(Balanced non-technical article)
The Guardian : 16th Oct 2017
(Includes some quotes from ‘official sources’)
(Image from Adobe Stock: Man running away with trendy satchel of data stolen from Wi-Fi connection.)