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What is the encryption standard used for resolving wireless security issues?

Wireless is a very broad concept that involves preventing the unauthorized clients from accessing or damaging the wireless computer networks. There are two most commonly used wireless security services:

  • WEP or wireless equivalent privacy
  • WPA or wi – fi protected access

– The first one i.e., the WEP is quite a weak security standard.
– It just takes a few minutes for cracking the password of a network secured by WEP and it only requires a WEP password cracking tool and a basic laptop for doing so.
– This is an old IEEE standard also known as the 802.11 standard that was first adopted in the year of 1997 and was the most widely used security mechanism till 1999.
– Later, WPA was introduced which outdated the WEP in 2003.
– This new security mechanism provided a quick and alternative solution for providing improved security compared to what is offered by the WEP.
– The standard that is currently in use is the WPA2.
– However, this is not supported by all the hardware.
– Some require replacement or a firmware upgrade.
– This current standard makes use of a encryption device for encrypting the network with a key of 256 bit.
– Such a key of long length provides improved security when compared to the older standards.
– Most of the laptop computers come with the pre–installed wireless cards.
– Great benefits come with the ability of entering a network through a mobile device.
– However, there are a lot of security issues that are enough for making the wireless networks vulnerable to several threats.
– Most of the crackers find it very easy to break in to the wireless networks and some may even use this wireless network technology for breaking in to the wired networks as well.
– All this makes it very necessary for the enterprises to define the wireless security policies that are effective enough for providing protection against the unauthorized accesses to the resources that are important.

There are 2 systems that are widely used for enforcing these wireless security policies:

  • WIPS or the wireless intrusion prevention systems
  • WIDS or wireless intrusion detection systems

– The users of the wireless networks technology are now at more risk because of its increased popularity and usage.
– Initially, there were fewer dangers to this technology when it was just introduced.
– It was so because the crackers and hackers did not have means or ways for latching on to this newly introduced technology.
– Also, at that time this technology was not available at every place.
– However, the present security wireless protocols are also not free of security risks.
– There are still many associated with them and with encryption methods also.
– The wireless technology has made the cracking techniques much sophisticated and easy.
– There are some organizations who have not installed any wireless access points and so they do not feel like addressing the issues with the security of the wireless networks.
– But a thing to be noted is that even a non – wireless organization is also prone to these security hazards which can occur if somebody plugs a wireless laptop in to network of their corporation.
– A cracker can just sit outside the office building and collect all the information required through handheld devices such as the laptop only.
– He can even break in to the network using his laptop equipped with the wireless card and accessing the wired network.
– The traffic can be captured and recorded, internal network resources can be accessed in an unauthorized way by anyone inside the geographical range of the network that is non-encrypted and open.
– This is particularly termed as sniffing.
– The information thus sniffed can be used for performing illegal or disruptive acts.
– It is important for the home and enterprise networks to take care of such security breaches.
– The inactive router security is indeed a hot spot for the crackers.

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