Fact or Fiction? Evaluating Common Wi-Fi Security Threats
Wi-Fi is a huge component of the wireless industry, naturally, and is increasingly playing a prominent role in the smartphone and network sectors. Given it's popularity, it's critical to know how to make sure your Wi-Fi networks are secure. Here we outline common interpretations of Wi-Fi security, evaluate their veracity and explain the impact.
When you’re reading up on Wi-Fi security, you’ll find many different interpretations and opinions. One might say disabling SSID broadcasting will hide your network, while others might say it just draws hackers into an easy job. Some might think WPA encryption is cracked, while others say it’s secure. Here we look at each myth and tell you whether it's verified--or busted.
Myth: WEP encryption can be cracked in minutes.
Verdict: Trusted. WEP encryption can be cracked in minutes.
After nearly a decade now, it’s no secret. The Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) encryption standard, developed by the IEEE, can be cracked. In some cases, it can even be cracked in minutes. So, count this myth as True.
Attacks on WEP result in the hacker recovering the encryption key. Then he or she can freely connect to the network, access network shares and resources, and decode all packets. Needless to say, WEP doesn’t secure your network from hackers. It only protects you from the average Wi-Fi user.
To help come up with a secure encryption method, the Wi-Fi Alliance developed the Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) standard. Additionally, the IEEE formed another security standard, called 802.11i, which actually has been implemented as WPA2 by the Wi-Fi Alliance. (We’ll discuss more on these two WPA versions and their fate below.)