Different types of keys in Wifi

Today, most users have a Wi-Fi router to connect to the Internet wirelessly from a computer as well as from mobile devices and other devices. To prevent unauthorized users from connecting wirelessly to our router, stealing our Internet connection and even accessing the rest of the computers on our local network, these are usually protected with a password so that, without it, access cannot be possible.

Unfortunately, router passwords can be easily obtained since, on the one hand, there are network attacks specially designed for this and, on the other, many applications have a series of “dictionaries” that, according to the MAC and SSID, give us They can say, at least, the password that comes by default and that, if it has not been changed, will allow us to connect to said router.

Routers offer several different types of passwords and data encryptions, however not all are created equal. In this article we are going to see the different types of password that we can configure for our Wi-Fi router and which one we should use to guarantee both maximum compatibility and the best security for our connection.

What is encryption and how does it affect connections?

Encryption in wireless networks has the function of adding extra security through an authentication protocol that requests a password when a device tries to access this network.

Keep in mind that, if your network does not have any type of authentication protocol, any unauthorized user will be able to access your Internet network without problem for all kinds of purposes, and surely illegal ones, so it is better to prevent and protect your network Wifi.

Insecure ciphers for our Wi-Fi network

No encryption or open Wi-Fi network

Unprotected, or open, network security keys are those that do not have any passwords and that allow any user to connect to them without the need for anything else. These networks are totally insecure since, in addition to allowing anyone to connect to the router, the connection does not have any type of encryption protocol, so any user could capture the packets we send and thus obtain all our information.

This system is undoubtedly the least recommended. Cybercriminals can create open networks in strategic locations such as a shopping center, airport, or any crowded place, simply with the aim of stealing personal information from those who connect.

WEP encryption

WEP encryption was one of the first ciphers used to protect wireless networks. This security protocol is weak and vulnerable and although it could more or less work in the past, today with the power of home computer systems and applications developed to exploit this type of protocol, it is finally considered an “insecure” type of encryption and it is possible to obtain your key in just a few minutes by capturing packets through false access requests.

WEP encryption offers insufficient protection, so its use is not recommended. Today when we are in a network that uses this security protocol we will not be protected. It can even be exploited by hackers to modify a network and access the content of connected users.

In short, this type of insecure encryption could seriously compromise the security of our Wi-Fi network. They could allow the entry of intruders who not only have access to our connection, but also put the proper functioning of all connected equipment at risk.

Secure ciphers for our Wi-Fi network

WPA encryption

WPA encryption was born out of the need to solve the problems of the WEP encryption protocol. This system offers a series of variants depending on the purpose that is going to be given:

  • WPA-Personal: Uses a PSK key system or pre-shared keys where the administrator specifies his own password and all users connect to the network with it, so that it is easier to remember.
  • RADIUS: Focused on companies, this security system is based on a server in which users must authenticate with a different username and password for each one instead of all connecting with a global password.

WPA2 encryption

WPA2 encryption is the upgrade to WPA and improves both the security and performance of WPA. This system also has variants of PSK personal keys and RADIUS systems for network management, although the encryption protocol is far superior to WPA.

WPA3 encryption

It is a 192-bit encryption that is present in the most modern routers. It offers a longer warranty than all predecessors. It is today the best option if we want to ensure that our wireless networks are properly protected and thus prevent the entry of intruders that compromise us.

One of the main advantages is that it is protected against brute force attacks. Even with passwords that are not entirely complex, we would be more protected than with WPA2 encryption, for example. This makes it undoubtedly the best option today and we must take into account if our router is compatible, in addition to the devices we use.

Differences encryption protocol TKIP vs AES in WPA

WPA and WPA2 passwords can use two different protocol types: TKIP and AES. Users looking for compatibility with older devices (for example, a Nintendo DS) should use WPA with TKIP protocol, however, several vulnerabilities have recently been detected, and so, except in cases of extreme necessity, it is not recommended to use it.

If what we want is to ensure that we have maximum security in our network at the same time as the best performance, we must choose the AES protocol since, in addition to improving security, this algorithm supports higher speeds than TKIP.

How to change the type of encryption we have

Finally, if you want to change the type of encryption your Internet connection has, the only possible way is through the router. To do this, you must access it by typing 192.168.1.1 in your browser. Keep in mind that each manufacturer has its own procedure, so we recommend you look for your router’s guide on the Internet, but generally the username and password are usually admin/admin or 1234/1234.

Once inside the configuration of your WiFi router, look for the “WiFi” option and within this screen there will be a section that puts security and authentication. That will be where you can choose the type of security protocol you prefer.

Tips for setting up a secure Wi-Fi key

In summary, if we have relatively modern devices and we want to obtain the highest possible security and speed in our Wi-Fi network, we must configure the network as:

WPA2-Personal with AES encryption

When configuring the password, we must think of an original and easy one to remember and enter in new devices. For example, passwords like 1234567890 are insecure, even if we use WPA2 AES, since it is a very obvious password, included in all dictionaries, and even with brute force it would be easy to obtain.

If we want an armored password, we must use tricks such as changing the letters “a” to “@”, the “i” to “1” or the “e” to “3”, as well as including capital letters and signs that complicate their deduction.

This way we can generate a long, secure and easy to remember password, for example:

T3st#D3#V3l0c1d@d

In short, having a password that is really strong and complex is essential to protect our networks. We must apply the appropriate security measures at all times. We must avoid obsolete encryption, which does not really protect our equipment. We need to use those that protect us well, that make a Wi-Fi network unusable by hackers. We already know that today wireless networks are increasingly used and that can be a problem if we do not protect them. There are many devices that we use in our day to day life.

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