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WiFi (Wireless) Password Security - WEP, WPA, WPA2, WPS Explained

WiFi (Wireless) Password Security - WEP, WPA, WPA2, WPS Explained

WiFi (Wireless) Password Security - WEP, WPA, WPA2, WPS Explained
 
Hello, everyone! In this blog we're gonna talk about the different wireless security methods
and protocols that are used in wireless networks Now most of us had connected to a Wi-Fi network
with our laptop, tablet or even our smartphone,and to join that network with our device

you had to select a network name and you had to supply a password.
Now Wi-Fi network can be just open with no password required,
so that means that anybody can join it
.
However in the majority of cases Wi-Fi networks will be secure
and will require a password.
Now there are several different protocols that are used
for securing a Wi-Fi network.
So let's start with a secure protocol called WEP
WEP or Wired Equivalent Privacy was developed in 1999
and it's the earliest security protocol that was used for wireless networks.
And also as its name implies
it's meant to supply the same security to wireless networks
as it did for wired networks.
However this turned out not to be the case
because after a time it was found out
that a 40-bit encryption key that WEP used
was vulnerable and not secure.
And therefore it was easily hackable.
So that's why today WEP is no longer used
and modern wi-fi routers won't even have it as an option anymore.
So a better security protocol was needed for wireless networks.
And that brings us to WPA
WPA or Wi-Fi Protected Access is another wireless security protocol
that was developed to solve the problems of WEP.
WPA is far better than WEP
and this is because it uses a stronger encryption methods called TKIP
which stands for Temporal Key Integrity Protocol.
And TKIP dynamically changes its keys as it's being used
and this ensures data integrity.
But even though WPA is more secure than WEP
even today WPA is outdated
because TKIP did have some vulnerabilities.
And that brings us to WPA2
WPA2 was developed to provide even stronger security than WPA.
And it does this by requiring the use of a stronger encryption method.
While WPA uses TKIP for encryption
which is known to have some limitations
WPA2 uses AES which stands for Advanced Encryption Standard
AES uses a symmetric encryption algorithm
which makes it strong enough to resist a brute-force attack
In fact AES is so secure that the U.S. federal government has adopted it
And is now using it to encrypt sensitive government data.
Now when you log into the Wi-Fi router's configuration page
an you go into the Wi-Fi security section
this is where you would find the different security protocols that you can choose from
to protect your Wi-Fi network
So here is an example from an older Linksys router
and here you can see the WEP, WPA and WPA2 protocols that we discussed.
Now as I said this router is a few years old and it still has WEP as an option.
However newer routers like this one here won’t even have WEP as an option
because WEP is weak and outdated and is no longer used
and thank god for that because it was garbage.
Now you also noticed that on both of these routers
there’s an option that has both WPA and WPA2
and this is a mixed security option.
This option enables WPA and WPA2 at the same time
so it’ll use both TKIP and AES security.
Now the reason for this option is for compatibility purposes
because some older devices like prior to 2006
may not be compatible with using AES encryption that’s used with WPA2
and so these older devices will connect to the older WPA protocol
but at the same time modern devices will connect to WPA2.
Now some people might ask
why not just choose the mixed option all the time
since it’s the most compatible with all devices.
Well you can do this but the problem is that in addition to using AES
it's also using TKIP and since TKIP is not as strong as AES
you’re leaving your network more vulnerable to a breach.
However if all of your devices are modern then the best option is to choose WPA2 which only uses AES.
Now the next generation of wireless security is WPA3.
WPA3 was introduced in 2018 and according to the official Wi-Fi website
https://www.wi-fi.org/
WPA3 provides cutting edge security protocols to the market.
It adds new features to simplify Wi-Fi security and enable more robust authentification
and it will receive increased protections from password guessing attempts.
Now WPA3 won’t be available on every Wi-Fi router that you purchase today
because it was just introduced last year.
However you will start to see it more and more on Wi-Fi products in the next few months.
Now so far we discussed a few password protected security protocols
but there is another wireless security method that doesn’t require you to type in a password
and this method is called WPS.
WPS stands for Wi-Fi Protected Setup and WPS was designed for people who know little about wireless networks
to make it as easy as possible for their devices to join a wireless network.
So here is a WPS configuration page for our router.
And there are a couple of different methods that are used with WPS
but by far the most common method is the push button method.
So with this method you would just press a couple of buttons and then you'd be connected.
So for example most routers today will have a physical WPS button that you can press
and a lot of Wi-Fi printers will also have a software or a physical WPS button
so let’s say you wanted to connect this wireless printer to your Wi-Fi network
so you would press the WPS button on your Wi-Fi router and within 2 minutes you would press the WPS button on your printer
and then your printer would connect to the Wi-Fi router in a few seconds.
And that’s really as simple as it gets.
And you can also use method two if you want if your client has a WPS pin number.
So you would just enter that pin number into the field below and within a few seconds it’ll connect.
So as stated before WPS is the easiest way to join a wireless network
and a lot of manufactures have built their wireless products with WPS.
And this is to make it as simple as possible for their costumers to join their device to a wireless network.
Now there’s one more method we need to talk about and this is called the Access Control
or in some routers it’s called the MAC Filter
and with this option you can either allow or block devices from joining your network.
Every network adapter has a MAC address and MAC address is a hexadecimal number that uniquely identifies each device on a network
and with Access Control you can either allow or block access by using the device’s MAC address.
When a device is blocked it would only be able to get an IP address from your router
but it won’t be able to communicate with any other device and it would not be able to connect to the Internet
so the Access Control is just an extra layer of security that’s in addition to your Wi-Fi password
and the Access Control is also for wired devices.
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