Privacy and security are the two terms most significant in the millennial era. Any simple glitch in the security systems that might occur due to our carelessness or the security provider’s short-sightedness can lead to a serious data breach. As our data is now stored everywhere with technology, we must be double careful about the encryption (wrongly spelled as: wireless incription) procedures. In this article, we will learn about the significance of encryption in wireless communication, Wireless Network Security Type, major protocols, Wi-Fi encryption type, and most secure wifi encryption.
Encryption and decryption are cryptographic terms that are defined as the process of handling information in a coded manner with a key. Only a person with the right key can decrypt the encrypted data.
For example, the wireless Wi-Fi network of your home is encrypted with a certain protocol. You have a unique key which is the password that can decrypt the encryption and put the data to your use. A person without this password or key will not be able to decrypt or use your wifi.
Don’t Miss: wpa-psk [tkip] + wpa2-psk [aes]
- 1 Wireless Networks
- 2 Wireless Encryption
- 3 Wireless network security type
- 4 Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)
- 5 Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP)
- 6 Wi-Fi Security Modes
- 7 Conclusion
Where are the cables now? Yeah, they are here itself. But we do sometimes prefer the internet over cable networks. It is the wireless system of communication that allows us to watch almost anything we want without the overburden of cables. From our cell phones to the internet, everything is connected by these wireless networks.
If our information is running wireless across various channels, then how will it be secured? The answer to that question is encryption. Encryption, as we have seen earlier, converts our data into codes by scrambling them, thus blocking any intruders from reading our information.
Encryption is used to secure your network with an authentication protocol. An authentication protocol is by which authenticated or verified data is transferred between two sources. For instance, if you are entering a website with your username and password, then the receiving entity (the user) to authenticate the connecting entity (the website server). Also, the server automatically authenticates to the user. It is the password authentication we do but has deeper processes going on inside.
Why is it used?
Basically, because having encryption is better than having no security at all. If your wifi network is unprotected, one or more of the following things can happen:
- Someone else might use your Wi-Fi network which will reduce your data speed.
- All your data on the internet can be collected by an intruder who might get your passwords, credit card numbers, and who knows what more.
- They can also tamper with your data by using your internet for various purposes.
This is only one example of wifi networks. Cellular or other wireless networks can also tamper this way if not careful. Also, there are some advantages to encryption.
- It secures your data at all times.
- Encription is very much handy to set up and use.
- It protects data across devices.
So, better safe than sorry. Using standard encryption is the best way to keep your networks safe.
Wireless network security type
There are some major wireless network security types/protocols. They have their pros and cons. Let us analyze each one and come up with the most suitable conclusion of what is best.
Wired Equivalent Privacy or Wired Encryption Protocol (WEP)
WEP was bought as a part of the 802.11 standards and is the algorithm that provides security for wireless networks. It was intended to render wireless networks with the exact level of security as local wired networks.
- 64 Bit: This is the encryption configuration that requires a password with ten characters in hexadecimal or eight characters in ASCII.
- 128 Bit: It requires a password with 26 characters in hexadecimal or 14 characters in ASCII.
- It is easy to configure.
- The security system is supported widely.
- Old structure due to primary design.
- Not completely secure.
- Least stable of all the wireless network security type/protocols.
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Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA)
WPA was introduced due to the vulnerability of WEP. Its encryption types are more complex and reliable. WPA uses authentication servers for keys and certificate generation.
- TKIP: Temporary Key Integrity Protocol: uses a 128-bit dynamic key.
- EAP: Extensible Authentication Protocol.
- PSK: Pre-shared key. It is also known as a personal mode. It has 256-bit encryption with 64-character passwords in hexadecimal or 8-63 characters in ASCII.
- It can be easily configured.
- Has strong encryption.
- It is easy to manage.
- Protected wireless network security type
This protocol is not supported by some devices.
Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA 2)
WPA 2 was introduced in 2004 to replace WPA with higher encryption standards.
- CCMP: Counter Mode Cipher Block Chaining Message Authentication Code Protocol
- AES: Advanced Encryption Standard
- It has high encryption standards.
- Is compatible with many devices.
Is not completely resistant to attacks.
Wi-Fi Protected Access 3 (WPA3)
WPA3 is the latest wireless network security type of the WPA series and provides strong security to public network services.
- ASK: Simultaneous Authentication of Equals
- It decreases security issues that can be a result of weak passwords.
- Clarifies the process of installing devices without a display interface.
Attackers within a short distance of the Wi-Fi module can still get the password.
Learn more: LG TV not connecting to Wifi
Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)
We will now look into the details of what exactly is the AES. AES was established in 2001. It uses symmetric key encryption which uses only one key to decipher the information. AES-256 holds a bit size of 256 with a possibility of 1.1 x 10^77 key combinations and is substantially unbreakable by any brute force. This makes AES the strongest encryption standard existing now.
Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP)
TKIP is the encryption protocol used in WPA. It is incorporated in the IEEE 802.11i standard for wireless LANs (WLANs). TKIP wraps WEP and provides a secure cover without changing device specifications. It has some initial and final codes in the existing WEP encryption and works to make it more secure.
AES vs TKIP
|Latest encryption protocol||Older encryption protocol|
|Introduced with WPA2||Introduced with WPA|
|More secure||Less secure than AES|
|Faster router speed||Slower router speed to AES|
|Works by converting plain text to ciphertext||Works by issuing a new key every few minutes|
So, to sum up, AES and TKIP are not even worth a comparison. AES is clearly the best, fast, and internationally approved algorithm and is always safe to go with it.
Wi-Fi Security Modes
With all the information in hand with various encryption standards and security types, we can now see the combinations of these as Wi-Fi security modes. We can decide at the end, which one is the most secure mode that you can use.
- Open: It contradicts every fact we just said, so never set up an open Wi-Fi network. It is riskier than leaving your door open while you are not in the house.
- WEP 64: This, as we said before is the first security mode and is very risky to use now. Technology has developed and any child with a computer can easily hack your password if it is “protected” by WEP 64.
- WEP 128: Same situation as WEP 64 with just more encryption key size. It is also too risky to use.
- WPA-PSK (TKIP): It is the first version of WPA and is not as secure as WPA2.
- WPA-PSK (AES): It uses WPA version 1 with a more secure AES. But the devices that support WPA will rarely support AES. So, this option might be illogical.
- WPA2-PSK (TKIP): It is a good idea only if your device is older and doesn’t support WPA2-PSK (AES).
- WPA2-PSK (AES): It is a secure option as a security mode. It is the option that you can choose.
- WPAWPA2-PSK (TKIP/AES): This mixed mode is often recommended by some devices. It has both WPA and WPA2 with TKIP and AES which provides security and compatibility with older devices. But, an attacker can breach your network by hacking into the weaker WPA or TKIP protocols.
- WPA3-SAE (AES): It is the most secure option available now. It uses Simultaneous Authentication of Equals (SAE) instead of PSK and is much more secure than WPA2. But, it is only compatible with the new Wi-Fi versions, so we might want to wait a little more before this is wildly accepted.
Cyber-attacks are everywhere. It is so common so that every person who owns a social media account is aware of it. But that is not enough. We must be ready to prevent it. Wireless communication has given us a wide range of opportunities in every field. It also comes with its risk. It is a lot more easier to crack than a wired connection and thus the security must be that efficient.
Encryption standards are built for improving the security and efficiency of our services. Choosing the right encryption mode is important to keep our data safe. Always try to take the latest connection of the Wi-Fi network along with the latest encryption standards. Make sure that you enable the encryption at the same time while activating the devices or setting up a modem. Always stay alert and safe.