1. Computing
Andy O'Donnell

Are You Still Using WEP for Your Wireless Security? It's Time to Upgrade to WPA2.

By February 17, 2011

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If you set up your wireless router and haven't touched its settings for a couple of years, it's about time for a check-up and possibly a security upgrade.  Just a few short years ago, Wireless Equivalent Privacy (WEP) was the de facto standard for securing your wireless network. WEP was thought to be super strong and uncrackable at the time, however,  just a few short years later, WEP encryption was cracked and deemed obsolete. After the demise of WEP, word didn't really get out to everyone that it was time to upgrade to the new standard.  Some people thought that even outdated WEP was better than no security at all. This has resulted in a false sense of security for the many folks who still have WEP as their router's wireless security method. WEP is now nothing more than a small speed bump for most hackers and can be easily circumvented. Hacker tools have advanced in leaps and bounds over the last few years and WEP is now crackable within seconds, versus the hours it used to take with older versions of the tools.

The successor to WEP, and the current standard, is Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2). So far, WPA2 appears to a lot more resilient to cracking than WEP.

Most routers made in the last 5 years or so should feature user upgradeable firmware that will allow users to upgrade from WEP to WPA2, without having to buy a new router. I encourage everyone to visit their router manufacturer's website to see if a firmware upgrade that adds WPA2 is available. Read the instructions carefully before attempting any firmware upgrade as there is always a chance that you may "brick" your router if you don't follow the process exactly as instructed. Prior to upgrading your router's firmware, make sure that all the wireless devices you want to use with your router allow for connecting via WPA2. If they don't support WPA2 then you may have to upgrade their firmware or drivers (if available) as well.


Comments
February 18, 2011 at 5:34 pm
(1) Ken Berger says:

What are you scared of?
Wifi security is not something most people should be worried about!

February 21, 2011 at 1:47 pm
(2) Andrew says:

So, Ken, I am guessing you don’t lock your house or car, either?

February 21, 2011 at 5:41 pm
(3) Kitt says:

Ken sounds like a ‘Hacker’.

March 1, 2011 at 7:09 am
(4) ali says:

this is a good advise, i have a D-Link router, & I will be setting it up soon.

March 13, 2011 at 6:44 pm
(5) Gina says:

Ken…I’m sure that’s what the thousands of people who have had their identity stolen by hackers thought before it happened to them. I’m sure they will tell everyone differently now!

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