Protecting Your Wireless Network with Tools Anyone Can Use - What is encryption?
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In cryptography, encryption is the process of transforming information (referred to as plaintext) using an algorithm (called a cipher) to make it unreadable to anyone except those possessing special knowledge, usually referred to as a key. The result of the process is encrypted information (in cryptography, referred to as ciphertext). In many contexts, the word encryption also implicitly refers to the reverse process, decryption (e.g. "software for encryption" can typically also perform decryption), to make the encrypted information readable again (i.e. to make it unencrypted).
Encryption is also used to protect data in transit, for example data being transferred via networks (e.g. the Internet, e-commerce), mobile telephones, wireless microphones, wireless intercom systems, Bluetooth devices and bank automatic teller machines. There have been numerous reports of data in transit being intercepted in recent years. Encrypting data in transit also helps to secure it, as it is often difficult to physically secure all access to networks. (This definition courtesy of Wikipedia -- Used under the Creative Commons License)
Before you begin, we need to look at the types of encryption. The most common are WEP and WPA. You need to choose between them.
What is the difference?
Okay, to avoid your eyes rolling back in your head, we will go with short and sweet definitions.
Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) is a deprecated algorithm to secure IEEE 802.11 wireless networks. Wireless networks broadcast messages using radio and are thus more susceptible to eavesdropping than wired networks. When introduced in 1997, WEP was intended to provide confidentiality comparable to that of a traditional wired network. Beginning in 2001, several serious weaknesses were identified by cryptanalysts, with the result that today a WEP connection can be cracked with readily available software within minutes. (This definition courtesy of Wikipedia -- Used under the Creative Commons License)
Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA and WPA2) is a certification program created by the Wi-Fi Alliance to indicate compliance with the security protocol created by the Wi-Fi Alliance to secure wireless computer networks. This protocol was created in response to several serious weaknesses researchers had found in the previous system, WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy). The WPA protocol implements the majority of the IEEE 802.11i standard, and was intended as an intermediate measure to take the place of WEP while 802.11i was prepared. The later WPA2 certification mark indicates compliance with an advanced protocol that implements the full standard. This advanced protocol will not work with some older network cards. (This definition courtesy of Wikipedia -- Used under the Creative Commons License)
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