Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP)

Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it.

Niels Bohr

In wireless networks, the word "broadcast" takes on an entirely new meaning. Wireless networks rely on an open medium, and the risk of using them is greatly increased if no cryptographic protection can be applied on the air link. With an open network medium, unprotected traffic can be seen by anybody with the right equipment. In the case of wireless LANs, the "right equipment" is a radio capable of receiving and decoding 802.11, which is hardly an expensive purchase. For extra eavesdropping power, a high-gain external antenna may be used. Antennas are inexpensive enough that you must assume that a determined attacher has purchased one.

Guarding against traffic interception is the domain of cryptographic protocols. As frames fly through the air, they must be protected against harm. Protection takes many forms, but the two most commonly cited informal objectives are maintaining the secrecy of network data and ensuring it has not been tampered with. Initially, the Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) standard was the answer for wireless security. In the first four years of 802.11's life, researchers built a strong case for the insecurity of WEP.

If WEP is so bad, why bother with it? In many cases, it is the only security protocol available on a particular device. WEP's design is easy to implement. Though it lacks the sophistication of later cryptographic protocols, it does not require the computational power, either. Older devices, especially handheld application-specific devices, may lack the processing punch necessary to run anything better, and WEP is the best that you can do. It is also important to learn about WEP because the WEP frame-handling operations underlie newer technology such as TKIP.

Introduction to Wireless Networking

Overview of 802.11 Networks

11 MAC Fundamentals

11 Framing in Detail

Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP)

User Authentication with 802.1X

11i: Robust Security Networks, TKIP, and CCMP

Management Operations

Contention-Free Service with the PCF

Physical Layer Overview

The Frequency-Hopping (FH) PHY

The Direct Sequence PHYs: DSSS and HR/DSSS (802.11b)

11a and 802.11j: 5-GHz OFDM PHY

11g: The Extended-Rate PHY (ERP)

A Peek Ahead at 802.11n: MIMO-OFDM

11 Hardware

Using 802.11 on Windows

11 on the Macintosh

Using 802.11 on Linux

Using 802.11 Access Points

Logical Wireless Network Architecture

Security Architecture

Site Planning and Project Management

11 Network Analysis

11 Performance Tuning

Conclusions and Predictions

802.11 Wireless Networks The Definitive Guide
802.11 Wireless Networks: The Definitive Guide, Second Edition
ISBN: 0596100523
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 179
Authors: Matthew Gast

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