What is WEP?

What is Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP)?

An IEEE standard security technique for wireless 802.11 networks was released in 1997 and is called wired equivalent privacy (WEP). It was quickly considered to be extremely inadequate and replaced by WPA, WPA2, and 802.11i. The purpose of WEP is to guard against cyberattacks and encrypt wireless communications. It is a very weak authentication mechanism even making it easier for an attacker to find out the encryption key. As a result, the specification did away with the WEP authentication.

With WEP, data is encrypted using a hexa decimal 64 or 128-bit key. Because this is a static key, all traffic is encrypted using a single key, no matter the device. A computer connected to a network can exchange encrypted communication while keeping the content hidden from outsiders via a WEP key. To establish a connection to a network with wireless security enabled, you need this key.

Initially, WEP was able to prevent main-in-the-middle attacks, which was one of its primary objectives. Over time, however, a number of security vulnerabilities were found in the WEP standard, even with protocol modification and larger key sizes. In 2004, the Wi-Fi alliance formally deprecated WEP due to security flaws. Although it is occasionally still in use, WEP security is now regarded as outdated. This is either because devices that enable encryption are too old to support it or network managers haven't updated the default on their wireless routers.

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