Real Security for Wireless LANs - 2

We take a look at the new security standard for wireless LANs: Wi-Fi Protected Access.

Have you stayed away from wireless LANs (WLANs) because of their notorious lack of security? If so, its time to take another look. The Wi-Fi Alliance, which tests and certifies products based on the 802.11 specification, recently approved a new security standard called Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), which addresses just about every WLAN vulnerability.

The standard Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) security most WLAN products currently offer provides only rudimentary protection, as it uses a single static 40- or 128-bit key for both encryption and authentication. This key is shared by everyone on the WLAN. For medium and large networks, WEP is a major management burden, because administrators must enter WEP key information manually on every single WLAN-enabled device. And despite all that effort, anyone can crack WEP using one of a number of utilities available for free on the Web.