May 23, 2024

Wi-Fi Securities​


Wi-Fi securities​ is the main aspect in the day to day life whether in personal or technical side.There are many ways to steal the security of anything.

To overcome these issues many new security features were introduced.In modern world WiFi has a key role and WiFi Securities are the protection given for all the client devices either smart phones or laptops and other systems etc.

Without Wi-Fi securities a networking devices are not under privacy.The hackers can steal the information which leads to loss of privacy.

There are many techniques introduced in past years Wi-Fi protected access 3 (WPA3)is the advanced version which was introduced in 2018.

Wired Equivalent Protocol​ (WEP)

  • WEP is the first wireless Security Protocol​
  • It is designed in 1997.​
  • It supports both 802.11 a/b​
  • It uses RC4 a stream cipher for encryption and CRC32 Checksum for Confidentiality.​
  • WEP uses a data encryption scheme based on combination of user and system generated keys​
  • WEP widely uses a standards ​
    1. WEP 40​ : In WEP40, a 40 bit WEP key is concatenated with 24 bit initialization vector(System Generated data)to Generate a 64 bit RC4 Key​
    2. WEP 104​ : In WEP 104, a 104 bit WEP key is Concatenated with 24 bit initialization Vector(System Generated data) for Generating a 128 bit RC4 key​
  • WEP is operated in Data link layer & Physical Layer​
  • It operates in two modes​
    • Open system authentication​
    • Shared key authentication​
  • There is no authentication in open system authentication as anyone with in the network can associate to the network.​
  • After encryption of messages by using encryption keys the messages are sent with in the network. The participant can decrypt with encryption key only.​

Pros & Cons of WEP :

Pros :

  • It was the first Wi-Fi security technique used.
  • It uses a 64-bit and 128-bit keys for encryption of data.

Cons :

  • Security vulnerabilities
  • Fixed-key encryption
  • Instead of generating temporary keys master keys are used directly.
  • It encrypts all traffic to and from the access point using a static key
  • It has small Initialization Vector value(24bit) and it can be reused 

WPA(Wi-Fi Protected Access)

  • To overcome the issues of WEP, WiFi protected access was introduced. 
  • It is released on 2003.
  • It provides a strong encryption than WEP because it uses a 256-bit key for encryption
  • It has built in authentication support and it implements almost all IEEE 802.11i standard.
  • WPA uses RC4 (Rivest Cipher 4) a stream cipher for encryption and TKIP integrity check for Confidentiality.
  • Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP), which dynamically generates a new key for each packet of data. 
  • TKIP is much more secure than the fixed-key system used by WEP
  • WPA can be implemented through firmware updates on wireless Network interface cards designed for WEP
  • It has two modes WPA personal and WPA enterprise.

Pros & Cons of WPA

Pros :

  • Addresses security vulnerabilities of the original wireless security standard, WEP
  • TKIP encryption is used in WPA instead of fixed-key encryption which is used by WEP
  • 256-bit key for encryption

Cons :

  • When rolled out onto WEP devices, TKIP can be exploited.
  • Similar security vulnerabilities to WEP.

Wi-Fi Protected Access 2

  • WPA2 is the second generation of the WPA wireless security protocol.
  • It was introduced in 2004.
  • It provides a strong encryption than WPA .
  • WPA2 uses a 256-bit key for encryption of Data.
  • WPA2 uses Advanced Encryption System (AES)  a stream cipher for encryption and CCMP(counter Mode Cipher Block Chaining Message Authentication Code Protocol) for Confidentiality.
  • WPA2 ensures that only people with your network password have access to it and data which is sent or received over the wireless network is encrypted.
  • AES provides a strong encryption.

WPA2 – Pros & Cons

Pros :

  • It addresses many security flaws of its predecessors
  • Uses the strongest encryption method: AES
  • Required by the Wi-Fi Alliance for use on all Wi-Fi certified products
  • 256-bit key for encryption

Cons :

  • Still contains some security vulnerabilities.
  • Requires the most processing power.

Wi-Fi securities​ : WEP v/s WPA v/s WPA2

Security typeWEPWPAWPA 2
Year introduced 199920032004
Encryption protocol Fixed keyTKIPCCMP
Session key size64 bit/128 bit256 bit256 bit
Cipher typeRC4 Stream cipher TKIP(RC4 Based)AES
Data integrity Cyclic Redundancy checkMessage integrity checkCCMP
Authentication message Open system/Shared keyPSKPSK+PMK
Key management Symmetric key encryption WPA,WPA-PSKPMK+PSK
Difference between security types used

WPA3(Wi-Fi Protected Access 3)

  • WPA3 was introduced in 2018.
  • It is the most recent wireless security standard.
  • Wi-Fi Alliance has declared all devices which using Wi-Fi certification to support WPA3 as of till July 2020. 
  • It is designed to encrypt data using a frequent and automatic encryption type called Perfect Forward Secrecy.
  • It includes a 192-bit equivalent security layer 
  • It replaces the PSK four-way handshake with Simultaneous Authentication of Equals (SAE) and it eliminates the reuse of encryption keys.
  • WPA-3 Personal uses CCMP and AES with 128bit key

Pros & Cons of WPA 3

Pros :

  • WPA3 is the most security wireless protocol.
  • It uses Simultaneous Authentication of Equals(SAE)
  • WPA3 Enterprise uses 192 bit encryption key and WPA3 Personal mode uses 128-bit encryption key to protect against weak passwords 
  • WPA3 replaces the Pre-Shared Key of WPA2 with Simultaneous Authentication of Equals(SAE)
  • SAE is used to protect against offline dictionary attacks by Attackers.
  • WPA3 provides PMF (protected management frames) to avoid forging in public areas.

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