WEP is dead… Long Live WPA!

WEP is “Wired Equivalent Privacy” and is available in most wireless routers. It has long been easy to crack. However, new hacking techniques can now crack it in under 60 seconds! Ouch!

The Final ‘Final’ Nail in WEP’s Coffin?

“Researchers have discovered a new way of attacking Wired Equivalent Privacy that requires an amount of data ‘more than an order of magnitude’ less than the best known key-recovery attacks. In effect, the cracking can be done within a minute, as the title of the paper suggests: Breaking 104 bit WEP in less than 60 seconds. Specifically, only 40,000 data packets are needed for a 50 percent chance of success, while 85,000 packets give a 95 percent chance of success, according to the paper’s authors: Erik Tews, Ralf-Philipp Weinmann and Andrei Pyshkin, all researchers in the computer science department at Darmstadt University of Technology in Darmstadt, Germany. The ease of cracking WEP is nothing new; cryptanalysts showed six years ago that any WEP key can be cracked with readily available software in one minute or less. The protocol, which is part of the IEEE 802.11 wireless networking standard, was superseded by WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) in 2003, then by WPA2, another name for the full IEEE 802.11i standard. What’s new that has been missing from WEP cracking until now is that a Wi-Fi attacker no longer needs long periods of time nor much smarts, according to Wi-Fi security experts. ‘…To crack WEP [up until now] it 1) required a knowledgeable attacker [and] 2) took a long time,’ said Andrea Bittau, in an e-mail exchange. Bittau is a research fellow at the University College London and a co-author of a paper describing what had been the most effective WEP cracking technique prior to the Germans’ research.”

So… bottom line, use WPA (“Wi-Fi Protected Access”) or WPA2 and be safe!

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