In an age where most of our day-to-day work is performed via the internet, the importance of internet connectivity can be not undermined. To stay forever connected to the internet, most of us would invest in unlimited WiFi plans for home or business.
From shopping to banking, we perform several essential tasks online, which results in a lot of private and confidential information to be shared through the internet. In such a scenario, it becomes necessary for us to adopt precautions to secure our wireless networks from hackers and cybercriminals.
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This will involve adopting the correct type of wireless security protocols that are designed to protect your data from theft. Before we decide on which type of WiFi security protocol to choose, here is an explanation of the
Different types of WiFi security protocols and their differences
WEP or Wired Equivalent Privacy
The first security protocol introduced in late 1999, WEP remained a standard till 2004. The goal of its encryption algorithm was to prevent data security breaches by hackers. However, it was soon found to be gravely vulnerable to hacking attacks.
This mainly occurred due to the small 24-bit IV (Initialisation Vector), which is meant to strengthen the user’s wireless password. While this algorithm received a lot of upgrades due to some acute cyber attacks, the security experts recommended the phase-out of this easily hackable security protocol.
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WPA or WiFi Protected Access
This was first developed as a temporary solution to the problems faced by WEP, but with the abandonment of WEP, it was officially adopted. This algorithm uses different modes to secure the internet for personal use or business use.
In personal use, preshared keys are the security mode, and for business, administrator mode helps authenticate new devices attempting to connect to a specific internet connection.
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The IV size of WPA was increased to 48 digits. Its enhanced security was also a result of the Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP). Updating to WPA from WEP was very easy as it was launched as a firmware update. However, this security protocol, although a definite upgrade from WEP was not as secure as the later versions.
WPA2 or WiFi Protected Access 2
In 2004, WPA2 was launched as a replacement to WPA, and it soon became users’ favourite wireless security protocols for both personal and business use.
The development was due to the use of Advanced Encryption Standard or AES, which is certified by the US Government as a protocol to secure confidential data. Another feature of this algorithm is that it allows seamless data and user roaming without having to reauthenticate from one access point to another point.
Cipher Block Chaining Message Authentication Code Protocol (CCMP) is another authentication mechanism embedded in a WPA2 security protocol that uses cypher block chaining to prevent unauthorised users from accessing data. This is the best security protocols in place.
WPA3 or WiFi Protected Access 3
In 2018, WPA3 was launched by the WiFi Alliance with the aim to improve WPA2 further. The updates that this security protocol comes with is a Simultaneous Authentication of Equals (SAE).
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This protocol uses secure keys between devices that will protect individuals from internet security breaches even if they have a weak WiFi password. With Opportunistic Wireless Encryption, WPA3 extends automatic security to WiFi users in public places as well. These and many other mechanisms make WPA3 the future of WiFi security protocols.
How can you increase your WiFi security using these protocols?
Since routers, which are enabled with WPA3 are yet to be developed and the ecosystem is still however to accept this protocol, your best bet to protecting your WiFi security is by enabling WPA2. Only rely on WPA, which is the earlier version if your access point is not compatible with WPA2.
Use WEP only if you have absolutely no way of upgrading to WPA or WPA2. But to secure your unlimited WiFi plans for home or business, we recommend that you upgrade your access points and other hardware to take advantage of the enhanced security features offered by WPA2.
Apart from switching to the latest WiFi security protocol, you can increase the security of your WiFi by using a strong password with different characters. This will ensure that you can enjoy streaming those videos or shopping securely online through your unlimited WiFi plans for home without the fear of getting hacked.
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