The Wi-Fi connection is around the corner for a while now, but not many know that your Wi-Fi connection uses one of the four available security types and all four of the types vary and are not equal. So, let’s dive in and find out what they are and how are they different from each other.
Types Of Wi-Fi Security
Well, there are four different types of Wi-Fi security with varying security levels.
1. Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) Protocol
WEP was the first and oldest security type introduced in the computing world in 1997. Although, it is still prevalent in modern Wi-Fi’s but because of its age (out of all protocols) WEP is considered the least secure one.
2. Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) Protocol
WPA was the successor to WEP protocol that eradicated flaws/bugs that were found in WEP. Not just that, along with the fixing bugs, WPA came with additional features, such as Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP), Message Integrity Check and much more.
The TKIP basically added a 128-bit key that was harder to break into than WEP’s static, unchanging key. While the Message Integrity Check scanned for any altered packets sent by hackers.
3. Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) Protocol
WPA 2, a follower to WPA brings more features. It also introduced a secure four-way handshake between the access point and potential client. Without delving too deep, this four-way handshake allows each device to confirm their password and encryption key without ever actually disclosing the key.
It replaced TKIP with the Counter Mode Cipher Block Chaining Message Authentication Code Protocol (CCMP), which did a better job with encrypting data. WPA2 has become very successful and has maintained its position as the top protocol since 2004. Matter of fact, on March 13, 2006, the Wi-Fi Alliance stated that all future devices with the Wi-Fi trademark had to use WPA2.
4. Wi-Fi Protected Access 3 (WPA3) Protocol
WPA3 is relatively new, and you can find it in routers that are produced in 2019. This new protocol brings better encryption on the public networks, apparently preventing hackers from harvesting your data for their good.
Not just that, it’s comparatively easy to connect to a WPA3 router with a device with no display and has some additional features to protect the user from brute force attacks, secures IoT, public network privacy and much more.
The WPA3 has also introduced 192-bit encryption and alignment “with the Commercial National Security Algorithm Suite from the Committee on National Security Systems,” which renders a significant boost to consumer security.
Why Knowing Your Wi-Fi Security Type Matters?
Well, it is pretty crucial to know what level of security protocol you are using, especially in this internet era. Let me make it simple, the older the protocol, the more vulnerable it will be than the newer ones and are far more prone to suffer a hacking attempt.
- The older protocols were designed to protect the users in that time and as the technology evolved, the modern protocols have fixed the exploits that happened in the older protocols, while the older versions still have the exploits prowling within their code.
- The longer a protocol has been around, the more time hackers have to crack the security. This can be seen with WEP, which is around for a very long period of time and hackers have found many exploits within it, making it an insecure protocol in this day and age.
Here’s how to check your connection type;
In Windows 10;
- Go to Wi-Fi connection icon in the taskbar
- Underneath your current Wi-Fi connection, you will find Properties, click it.
- Scroll down and look for the Wi-Fi details
- Under Properties, you will find the security type, which will show you your Wi-Fi protocol.
- Hold the option key and click on the Wi-Fi icon in the toolbar. It will show your network details, which will also include the security type you are on.
If you are concern about hackers breaching your WiFi network, the best you can do is to use the highest security protocol available, which in this case is WPA3 and WAP2, instead of using WPA and WEP. And just for additional protection, you can use a VPN, which guards your data making you anonymous. We have written an in-depth about, if you are interested, do read.