WPA2 wireless security cracked

March 21, 2014 – 5:29 AM

There are various ways to protect a wireless network. Some are generally considered to be more secure than others. Some, such as WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy), were broken several years ago and are not recommended as a way to keep intruders away from private networks. Now, a new study published in the International Journal of Information and Computer Security, reveals that one of the previously strongest wireless security systems, Wi-Fi protected access 2 (WPA2) can also be easily broken into on wireless local area networks (WLANs).

Achilleas Tsitroulis of Brunel University, UK, Dimitris Lampoudis of the University of Macedonia, Greece and Emmanuel Tsekleves of Lancaster University, UK, have investigated the vulnerabilities in WPA2 and present its weakness. They say that this wireless security system might now be breached with relative ease by a malicious attack on a network. They suggest that it is now a matter of urgency that security experts and programmers work together to remove the vulnerabilities in WPA2 in order to bolster its security or to develop alternative protocols to keep our wireless networks safe from hackers and malware.

The convenience of wireless network connectivity of mobile communications devices, such as smart phones, tablet PCs and laptops, televisions, personal computers and other equipment, is offset by the inherent security vulnerability. The potential for a third party to eavesdrop on the broadcast signals between devices is ever present. By contrast a wired network is intrinsically more secure because it requires a physical connection to the system in order to intercept packets of data. For the sake of convenience, however, many people are prepared to compromise on security. Until now, the assumption was that the risk of an intruder breaching a wireless network secured by the WPA2 system was adequately protected. Tsitroulis and colleagues have now shown this not to be the case.

If setup correctly, WPA2 using pre-shared key (PSK) encryption keys can be very secure. Depending on which version is present on the wireless device it also has the advantage of using strong encryption based on either the temporal key integrity protocol (TKIP) or the more secure counter mode with cipher block chaining message authentication code protocol (CCMP). 256-bit encryption is available and a password can be an alphanumeric string with special characters up to 63 characters long.


You must be logged in to post a comment.