Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Why-Fi Isn't Secure.

New Attack Cracks Common Wi-Fi Encryption in a Minute.
Summary of the Article

Do you feel safe browsing the internet on your “secured” wireless network that requires that long 25 digit key code? You shouldn’t. Scientists in Japan have created a way of breaking the encryption system of Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) that uses a Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) algorithmin a hot minute. It was developed by Toshihiro Ohigashi of Hiroshima University and Masakatu Morii of Kobe University. It has been known for several months that the WPA system was crackable, but that was only on a smaller range of devices and took at least 12 times longer to accomplish.

WPA was developed after the Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) system was discovered to be easily hackable just a few years after its introduction. While it is better than its predecessor, individuals that have WPA with TKIP are encouraged to make the switch to WPA 2 that features Advanced Encryption Standard (AES); which is an encryption standard adopted by the U.S. government.

This attack is very new and all its fine points have not yet been made known. Toshihiro and Masakatu plan on discussing further details at a technical conference on September 25 in Hiroshima.


This is all very shocking to me. I thought that the WEP system was a very secure one to use and preferred it over WPA. I contributed this feeling to UNCW using WEP and having it currently installed at my house. While shocking, this does not really bother me (personally) all that much. I live between two elderly ladies and I am not worried about them trying to hack my wireless network. I am, however, wondering why UNCW still utilizes the WEP encryption system and encourages its students to use it over WPA.

Is ignorance bliss; would it be best to make this known and promote a change; or maybe the university is aware and does not have it in the budget to make such a large and presumably expensive change? All of this may not matter if students are the only ones using the WEP system. I trust faculty and staff have access to the more secure WPA 2 system or something close to it. Also, let’s not forget this recently developed attack is brand spanking new and only two people truly understand at this point in time. However, come September 25 that will quickly change.
McMillan, Robert. "New Attack Cracks Common Wi-Fi Encryption in a Minute." Infoworld 27 Aug 2009 Web. http://www.infoworld.com/d/security-central/new-attack-cracks-common-wi-fi-encryption-in-minute-293


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