FYI - Wi-Fi Protected Access

The Wi-Fi Alliance (www.wifialliance.org) and the IEEE have combined efforts to create better security for wireless LANs, resulting in the creation of Wi-Fi Protected Access. WPA was designed to improve upon Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), which proved to be an inadequate security system for WLANs. Existing Wi-Fi products enabled with WEP can be upgraded with software to become WPA certified. WPA differs from WEP in two ways: First, it has improved data encryption through the temporal key integrity protocol (TKIP), which scrambles data and ensures that it has not been tampered with, as well as features user authentication, which was mostly absent in WEP, that is built on a more secure public-key encryption system to grant network access only to authorized users. WPA, however, is only an interim solution, as the 802.11i standard currently under development, will feature these security standards built-in.

This article originally appeared in the 01/01/2004 issue of THE Journal.

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