We are going to talk about the different wireless security methods and protocols that are utilized in wireless networks. Now most of us had connected to a Wi-Fi network with our laptop, tablet, or even our smartphone, and to join that network with our device you had to pick a network name and you had to provide a password.
Now Wi-Fi networks are often just open with no password required, in order that means anybody can join it. However, within the majority of cases, Wi-Fi networks are going to be secure and will require a password.
Now there are several different protocols that are used for securing a Wi-Fi network. So, let’s start with a secure protocol called WEP or Wired Equivalent Privacy was developed in 1999 and it’s the earliest security protocol that was used for wireless networks.
And also, as its name implies it’s meant to provide the same security to wireless networks as it did for wired networks. However, this turned out to not be the case because after a time it was found out that a 40-bit encryption key that WEP used was vulnerable and not secure.
And therefore, it had been easily hackable. So that’s why today WEP is not any longer used and modern wi-fi routers won’t even have it as an option anymore. So, a far better security protocol was needed for wireless networks. which brings us to WPA or Wi-Fi Protected Access is another wireless security protocol that was developed to solve the issues of WEP.
WPA is way better than WEP and this is often because it uses a stronger encryption method called TKIP which stands for Temporal Key Integrity Protocol. And TKIP dynamically changes its keys as it’s getting used and this ensures data integrity. But although WPA is safer than WEP even today WPA is outdated because TKIP did have some vulnerabilities.
And that brings us to WPA2 was developed to provide even stronger security than WPA. And it does this by requiring the utilization of a stronger encryption method. While WPA uses TKIP for encryption which is known to possess some limitations WPA2 uses AES which stands for Advanced Encryption Standard AES uses asymmetric encryption algorithm which makes it strong enough to resist a brute-force attack in fact AES is so secure that the U.S. federal has adopted it And is now using it to encrypt sensitive government data.
Now once you log into the Wi-Fi router’s configuration page and you enter the Wi-Fi security section this is often where you’d find the various security protocols that you simply can choose between to protect your Wi-Fi network So here is an example from an older Linksys router and here you’ll see the WEP, WPA, and WPA2 protocols that we discussed.
Now as I said this router maybe a few years old and it still has WEP as an option. However, newer routers like this one here won’t even have WEP as an option because WEP is weak and outdated and is not any longer used, and thank god for that because it was garbage.
Now you furthermore may notice that on both of those routers there’s an option that has both WPA and WPA2 and this is often a mixed security option. this feature enables WPA and WPA2 at the same time so it’ll use both TKIP and AES security. Now the reason for this feature is for compatibility purposes because some older devices like before 2006 might not be compatible with using AES encryption that’s used with WPA2 then these older devices will hook up with the older WPA protocol but at the same time, modern devices will hook up with WPA2.
Now some people might ask why not just choose the mixed option all the time since it’s the foremost compatible with all devices. Well, you’ll do that but the matter is that additionally to using AES it is also using TKIP and since TKIP isn’t as strong as AES you’re leaving your network more vulnerable to a breach. However, if all of your devices are modern then the simplest option is to choose WPA2 which only uses AES.
Now the next generation of wireless security is WPA3. WPA3 was introduced in 2018 and consistent with the official Wi-Fi website, https://www.wi-fi.org/ WPA3 provides cutting-edge security protocols to the market.
It adds new features to simplify Wi-Fi security and enable more robust authentication and it’ll receive increased protections from password guessing attempts. Now WPA3 won’t be available on every Wi-Fi router that you simply purchase today because it had been just introduced few years back.
However, you’ll start to see it more and more on Wi-Fi products within the next few months. Now thus far, we discussed a couple of passwords protected security protocols but there’s another wireless security method that doesn’t require you to type in a password and this method is named WPS.
WPS stands for Wi-Fi Protected Setup and WPS was designed for people that know little about wireless networks to make it as easy as possible for their devices to join a wireless network.
So here may be a WPS configuration page for our router. And there are a few of various methods that are used with WPS but far and away the foremost common method is that the push method.
So, with this method, you’d just press a few of buttons then you would be connected. So, for example, most routers today will have a physical WPS button that you simply can press and tons of Wi-Fi printers also will have software or a physical WPS button.
let’s say you wanted to connect this wireless printer to your Wi-Fi network so you’d press the WPS button on your Wi-Fi router and within 2 minutes you’d press the WPS button on your printer then your printer would connect to the Wi-Fi router in a few seconds.
And that’s really as simple as it gets. And you’ll also use method two if you would like if your client features a WPS personal identification number. So, you’d just enter that personal identification number into the sector below and within a couple of seconds, it’ll connect. So as stated before WPS is that the easiest method to join a wireless network and tons of manufactures have built their wireless products with WPS. And this is often to form it as simple as possible for their customers to join their device to a wireless network.
Now there’s another method we’d like to speak about and this is often called the Access Control or in some routers, it’s called the MAC Filter and with this feature, you’ll either allow or block devices from joining your network.
Every network adapter features a MAC address and MAC address may be a hexadecimal number that uniquely identifies each device on a network and with Access Control you’ll either allow or block access by using the device’s MAC address.
When a device is blocked it would only be able to get an IP address from your router but it won’t be ready to communicate with the other device and it might not be ready to connect with the web therefore the Access Control is simply an additional layer of security that’s in addition to your Wi-Fi password and the Access Control is also for wired devices.