When it comes to wifi security, it is always important to know that the security settings are the most important aspect of a router.
If the security settings are tight and the password is hard to predict when you have already won half the battle. You should be very careful when choosing the level of encryption.
Whenever you are setting the encryption level for your wifi router then you need to be careful when setting the encryption level. Currently, you have 3 options in the form of WEP, WPA, and WPA2 to set your wifi security settings.
Is it really helpful?
In a normal scenario, people buy a router, do the initial configuration and settle down. They forget to realize the importance of the acronym that lies next to the security protocol which makes the whole difference.
It is a security standard and much you would choose the best available lock for your home, in a similar way you should choose the best possible encryption level.
It is your network, it’s your data and if someone takes control of your data through any illegal way then it can hamper your network and even call for a police action.
If you understand the difference between different security settings then you will be able to better understand about offering anyone access to the wifi base station.
Another important thing to make sure is that the wifi security protocols have undergone several changes and every new upgrade brings along the necessary changes required so always make sure use the latest protocols.
These settings can be changed after you enter the required IP address in your browser which will enable you to change the router’s settings. As an example, you can enter 10.0.0.0.1 and get access to default login page.
Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP)
Currently, this is the most widely used wifi protocol for security which is used across the globe. If you notice closely when you are setting the wifi security level, this is the first option that you get.
It is a function of age, backward and compatibility. WEP was sanctioned as the security standard in September 1999. Initially, when the protocol was released it wasn’t as strong due to the US not allowing a device to set anything beyond 64-bit encryption. It was only later when the US lifted the ban that they could double the encryption level to 128 bits. Till date, 128-bit remains the industry standard.
Everything has to go in sync with the technology. If we talk about the WEP standard, even after an increase in size and security measures, there were many flaws that kept popping out.
That’s why as computer power increased, it became important to regularly upgrade the security settings. Till date despite regular attempts to keep it a standard, several flaws have been found and hence other new protocols have taken its place.
Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA)
WPA is known as WiFi protected access and it was made to directly replace the old WEP standard. It was made such that all the flaws of WEP were fixed.
This standard was implemented in 2003 just a year before when the older protocol was retired. The most widely seen WPA configuration is WPA-PSK where PSK means Pre-Shared key. Like in earlier case we saw the keys were of 128-bit encryption, here the WPA had 256-bit encryption.
Majority of the changes that happened here were of message integrity checks which would basically determine if anyone who was trying to gain access had captured or changed the packets that pass between the access point and the client alongside the temporal key integrity protocol (TKIP).
TKIP was like a core component of WPA which would basically dispatch a per packet key system that was more secure than the fixed key system used by WEP.
Later on, WPA like its predecessor WEP had a few vulnerabilities to things like an intrusion. Meanwhile, the way in which a crack was found for WPA is a process in which there is no direct attack made on WPA but attacks are made on a supplementary system that came along with WPA and it was made such that it’s easy to link devices to modern access points.
WiFi Protected Access II (WPA2)
In 2006, the earlier security protocol WPA was officially suspended and got replaced by WPA2. As the computing power increases, it becomes important to upgrade the other systems as well that are related to a computer system.
The biggest difference in the WPA2 was the inclusion of AES algorithm and CCMP which means Counter Cipher Mode with Block Chaining Message Authentication Code Protocol which was basically to replace TKIP. The TKIP is still preserved in WPA2 as it acts as a fallback system and also for the interoperability with WPA.
At present, the protocols of WPA2 are good enough and have just one vulnerability which is that it would require the attacker to already have access to the wifi base station so as to gain access to certain keys as only then will it be possible for the attacker to harm other devices connected.
When it comes to home security there are no flaws in the systems. Interestingly there is a bit of similarity in WPA2 and WEP security flaws, but cracking the WPA/WPA2 requires a lot of efforts. It can take anywhere from 2-14 hours of continuous efforts to get over it and hide in the system.