What is Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) Encryption?

20.05.2020 Read
What is Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) Encryption?

Wireless networks makes many business processes very easy, but are they safe? Keep reading to learn!

You must know about wireless networks and how they make business communications very easy. As useful as they are, wireless networks are not very difficult to exploit.

In today’s world, the information is the most valuable asset an organization can have. That is why the number of cyber criminals increase each day, and hackers come up with new methods and tools to infiltrate in your systems. That is why making sure that your organization’s devices, networks and servers are safe is very important for your business. In this article, we will discuss how you can keep the wireless networks of your organization safe with the help of Wired Equivalent Privacy encryption.

What is Wired Equivalent Privacy encryption?

Wired Equivalent Privacy (also known as the WEP) is a security algorithm introduced to provide data confidentiality for wireless networks. Wired Equivalent Privacy was brought as part of the 802.11 standard. One of the most characteristic features of Wired Equivalent Privacy is its key of 10 or 26 hexadecimal digits, in other words, 40 or 104 bits.

Back in the day, these 40 or 104 bit keys were very popular and considered as the go-to choice for router configuration.

Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) was initially designed to offer a level of security for the wireless networks (more specifically, WLANs) similar to the level of security expected from a wired local area network.

Wireless network, by definition, transmits data all over an area within its range through radio waves. As a result, the data transmitted by a WLAN can be easily intercepted. In other words, other users can “hear” private conversations, acquire confidential files and such that are transmitted through a wireless network. Wired Equivalent Privacy aims to add a layer of security to the wireless network through offering a strong encryption to the data. This way, the data will be unrecognizable for everyone but the intended receiver.

The systems that are authorized on the network will be decrypt the data and successfully conduct the inner communications.

What are the keys of WEP?

WEP aims to protect and keep the integrity of the data. In order to do so, it uses two shared keys:

Unicast session key: Unicast session key is an encryption key that is used to protect the unicast traffic between a wireless AP and a wireless client, multicast and/or broadcast traffic between wireless AP and wireless client. It is called unicast to highlight the fact that the data transmission is done between two points in the network: there is a single sender and a single receiver.

Multicast key (also known as the global key): As the name suggests, multicast key aims to protect the broadcast and multicast traffic between a single wireless AP and all of its wireless clients. The term multicast is used to highlight the fact that the data transmission is done between one sender and many receivers or many senders and one receiver.

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