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  1.    #1  
    Hello folks,

    Not an entirely new member, been following the forums here and there for quite some time. Just have a random question about wireless encryption services.

    Now, I understand from a bunch of Google searches and reading around other articles that WAP (or WAP2 now) is stronger than WEP, and that WEP encryption keys can be cracked in a matter of minutes and is not the suggested encryption method. What I don't understand is HOW exactly WAP(2) is stronger.

    I understand the difference between the two, somewhat. The only thing I'm concerned about is just the keyphrase. If someone is war driving in my neighborhood, all I'm concerned about is them not knowing the keyphrase to access my wireless network. With this, how is WPA(2) stronger vs. WEP? Both require a user-set key phrase to access the wireless. How is WEP weaker? Only because it can be "hacked" and "cracked" easier? What I don't understand is what people mean when they say that WPA "dynamically changes" the key phrase. How is that possible, if I need the keyphrase to connect, and anyone who knows it can connect to it as well?

    With that being said, yes, I made the key phrase a 40-60 something alpha-numeric+ASCII character phrase. A pain in the **** to type in, but even harder for someone outside my house also. Is this the only advantage over WEP?
  2. #2  
    i do quite a bit of wardriving myself, wep encryption sends the encryption key out with every single packet. thus me collecting thousands of packets can decrypt them and recover the key. WPA works differently in it uses your preset key to establish a connection, then every packet it sends is a different key that only the computer/device and the router knows and it keeps changing the keys. So i cant just come in and start grabbing packets because the router is constantly changing the keys. As soon as your computer authorizes with the router the router says now after 5 packets we are changing to this code and if you dont give me this code back i drop the connection. So its very very difficult to crack. About the only way to crack wpa or wpa2 is to find the router you want to crack, clone its essid and bssid and rebroadcast a stronger signal and wait for a computer to connect to you instead of the router and capture all the changing packets to decrypt it! A little technical and maybe a little off as im half asleep!
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    #3  
    I often wondered about this. Thanks for the clarification.

    At the end of the day though isn't the best security for a home wifi router to simply set it to allow only certain MAC addresses to connect? Is this not the BEST security or can this easily be cracked as well?
  4.    #4  
    Well, I heard that a MAC address is no safer than WEP, only because a MAC address can be duplicated easily and it isn't exactly "hidden" from a computer. I'm assuming it is included in the packets somewhere?
  5. #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by franky_402 View Post
    About the only way to crack wpa or wpa2 is to find the router you want to crack, clone its essid and bssid and rebroadcast a stronger signal and wait for a computer to connect to you instead of the router and capture all the changing packets to decrypt it! A little technical and maybe a little off as im half asleep!
    Unless you go the script kiddie route, which sometimes work. Well, last time I looked, it was nothing more than a dictionary attack.

    People are stupid... they will put the password as password or encrypted or hard2break.

    Now if you put the wpa password as 5sthocalro4cksinehose7sewsnien8e then you have a good change of no one getting in....
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  6. #6  
    Let's look at it this way, if you prefer analogies:

    -MAC address filtering is similar to removing your address on the mailbox. Problem is that simply opening the mailbox shows the letters inside w/ the address. Or, it can be searched upon. As was mentioned anyone that connects has to give the MAC address for communication to occur, then an attacker can simply spoof that address. There are many freeware tools that allow this.

    -WEP is like hiding the key under the mat - While it might confuse the novice, most people figure out where it's hidden. WEP has a fundamental flaw in that the IV (Initialization Vector) is too short and can make it easy to crack. There are even single packet attacks for WEP out there. Granted, it's better than no encryption, but it's hard to imagine why someone would use it if the hardware supports WPA.

    -WPA uses dynamic session keys, which a lot of modern encryption schemes use. The idea is that the initial connection uses a pre-shared key, but latter communication doesn't. The idea is that an attacker can derive the pre-shared key from a bit of communication in the middle of the conversation. I don't really have a good analogy for this, however.

    WPA/WPA2 is much stronger than WEP or MAC address filtering. The latter are older, outdated methods and really don't offer any advantages against modern attacks.
    Richard Neff

    My tutorials on WebOS development: Beyond 'Hello World!' | Getting Started - WebOS Development

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  7.    #7  
    So, all in all, the major difference between WEP and WPA/2 is that WEP is easier to crack and doesn't require anything more than the security code (pass phrase?), while WPA requires more information beyond the initial security key? I'm slightly understanding what's going on, but to me, all I see is the place for a security key to be entered and that's all it takes for someone to get in.

    Here's how I'm looking at it: Someone drives by, sees a wireless connection, whether WEP or WPA, and attempts to break in. All they need to know is the security key. With WEP, it's just a bunch of 128-bit capital letters and numbers that the router generates via a "pass phrase". With WPA, it can be anything from letters to ASCII characters, and is user-generated. Now, just knowing this, which one is stronger, and how? I know for sure that having a WPA password like "38s#@@ffJKu" etc is obviously initially harder to brute-force, but what makes it super stronger than WEP? Both ways require just a password to get in. Is it just the fact that WEP is easier to crack via freeware, while WPA is harder to crack even with the freewares available?


    Edit: why is my post count not increasing? lol
  8. #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by thatshowido41 View Post
    So, all in all, the major difference between WEP and WPA/2 is that WEP is easier to crack and doesn't require anything more than the security code (pass phrase?), while WPA requires more information beyond the initial security key? I'm slightly understanding what's going on, but to me, all I see is the place for a security key to be entered and that's all it takes for someone to get in.

    Here's how I'm looking at it: Someone drives by, sees a wireless connection, whether WEP or WPA, and attempts to break in. All they need to know is the security key. With WEP, it's just a bunch of 128-bit capital letters and numbers that the router generates via a "pass phrase". With WPA, it can be anything from letters to ASCII characters, and is user-generated. Now, just knowing this, which one is stronger, and how? I know for sure that having a WPA password like "38s#@@ffJKu" etc is obviously initially harder to brute-force, but what makes it super stronger than WEP? Both ways require just a password to get in. Is it just the fact that WEP is easier to crack via freeware, while WPA is harder to crack even with the freewares available?


    Edit: why is my post count not increasing? lol
    franky_402 explained it well... not sure what else to add...

    Basically wep can be broken with since the key is sent over the air... very easy to grab it.

    Wpa2 can only be cracked via (far as I remember) by having a weak password.

    These might help:

    Understanding WEP Weaknesses - For Dummies

    Battered, but not broken: understanding the WPA crack

    from: Wi-Fi Protected Access - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (go to the bottom and look for references... everything you might need to know).
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  9.    #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by theog View Post
    franky_402 explained it well... not sure what else to add...

    Basically wep can be broken with since the key is sent over the air... very easy to grab it.

    Wpa2 can only be cracked via (far as I remember) by having a weak password.

    You know, I just now had to re-read franky_402's post twice to finally understand it, lol. I guess it was just one of those things where it sounds really easy, but I just didn't get it. Very unlike me. Most of the sites I came across just flat out stated that WPA/2 was stronger, but didn't say why. To me, all I knew was that WEP and WPA required a passphrase to establish an initial connection, and I always assumed that a passphrase that was a router-generated alpha-numeric 128 bit code was stronger than "helloDoggie4U2Love" via WPA. But now I understand that the sites were referring to WEP being weaker in a "let me steal your data so I can find your password in the packets" sense, rather than "let me try and brute-force/dictionary hack your password." WPA is just harder to steal the password, that's all. Geez.

    Thank you guys for your help. Also, just throwing this out there again, why is my post count remaining at zero? Hmm..
  10. #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by thatshowido41 View Post
    You know, I just now had to re-read franky_402's post twice to finally understand it, lol. I guess it was just one of those things where it sounds really easy, but I just didn't get it. Very unlike me. Most of the sites I came across just flat out stated that WPA/2 was stronger, but didn't say why. To me, all I knew was that WEP and WPA required a passphrase to establish an initial connection, and I always assumed that a passphrase that was a router-generated alpha-numeric 128 bit code was stronger than "helloDoggie4U2Love" via WPA. But now I understand that the sites were referring to WEP being weaker in a "let me steal your data so I can find your password in the packets" sense, rather than "let me try and brute-force/dictionary hack your password." WPA is just harder to steal the password, that's all. Geez.
    I work with this stuff everyday and don't know the fine details. I guess that is why we have a WiFi Engineer (seriously, his real title...). Cool guy, about the only difference is he understands where to get the programs to make it easier for him to understand what is going on behind the scenes. lol

    He talks like franky_402 types... easy to understand but maybe a bit cryptic at the same time... but you know they know what they are talking about... or fake it good. lol

    Thank you guys for your help. Also, just throwing this out there again, why is my post count remaining at zero? Hmm..
    Next time you see someone with the term "moderator" next to their avatar, tell them you need your post count turned on. She (we only have female moderators) will do it for you. If they refuse, report them to the BBB.

    Just kidding... in the "off topic", as most sites with an off topic setion (or worded like it), you don't receive post counts.... or maybe 1 post for x posts or something... not sure. Way to get people to post in the rest of the forum.
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