Let’s find out the meaning and function of the abbreviations WEP, WPA and WPA2 that we see in our WiFi connections at home and in the office. We understand how our connections are protected and how the various encryption protocols work.

Today we’ll see what the WEP, WPA and WPA2 abbreviations mean and I’ll explain what they are for in the security of the WiFi connection you use home, at work and in public places.

NOW ALL YOUR DEVICES HAVE WIFI, EVEN YOUR TV, THE FRIDGE AND AIR CONDITIONING HAVE IT 

With the use of wireless connection you are no longer obliged to use the cables and you can connect to the internet wirelessly using your PC or your smartphone. Now all your devices have WiFi, even your TV, the fridge and air conditioning have it, and you can connect even the Internet between them, this brings many benefits but you must always think about security.

The lack of cable, the good old wire to connect your PC to the modem, has opened various security problems over the years and for this reason you have to be careful about the protection of your devices that are connected to the internet and your wireless network.

A good way to start to understand something more about the security of your WiFi connection is to understand the acronyms and the different levels of protection and encryption, today I’ll explain how to protect the wireless connection and I’ll explain what WEP, WPA and WPA2 mean. I’ll also explain how to avoid taking a few scams on your network and how to prevent your neighbor from stealing your WiFi connection.

What does WEP mean? It is the weakest protection and I do not recommend using it

The acronym WEP stands for Wired Equivalent Privacy, which is equivalent to the wired network, is one of the first parts of the IEEE 802.11 security standard. Created in 1999 it is used for the security and encryption of WiFi connections in order to make them comparable to those of normal wired LANs.

AT THE BEGINNING OF 2000 THIS STANDARD WAS OPTIONAL AND MANY OF THE CONNECTIONS DID NOT USE IT, THUS REMAINING WITHOUT PROTECTION AGAINST ATTACKS

At the beginning of 2000 this standard was optional and many of the connections did not use it, thus remaining without protection against attacks. In addition to this defect must be noted that this level of protection is now obsolete and in a few minutes you can force the password, even using a smartphone, and enter the connection.

WEP faults make it a weak security protocol and I do not recommend using it. An attacker could discover the password of your connection and might even see which sites visit and steal your data.

In the years following 2000, more precisely in 2003 and 2004, the WPA and WPA2 protocols were developed, which I will explain below.

What does WPA mean? It is the most widespread and universal protection

Given WEP’s defects, the WPA protocol, the acronym for Wi-Fi Protected Access, was released in 2003 and is part of the IEEE 802.11i standard. The goal of WPA is to improve security, it does so through modern cryptography and the choice of complex passwords.

For your home connection almost certainly, even if you do not know, you’ll be using the WPA-PSK protocol, it’s a normal WPA password-protected protocol (the one you use to connect).

The secure connection with WPA remains naturally exposed to attacks but is well protected and you can use it safely for your home connection. An attacker could make an attack by trying to find your password. For this reason I suggest you choose a password that is difficult to guess and that contains uppercase and lowercase letters, some numbers and maybe even a special symbol. WPA is therefore a good protocol, even if not very recent, that you can use to securely connect your wireless devices.

What does WPA2 mean? The best protection for your WiFi connection.

Over the years, the WPA protocol has been replaced by the most modern WPA2, which is the best protection system for wireless networks . WPA2 offers a high encryption depth, simultaneously combining AES and CCMP, which is able to create more effective protection against dictionary attacks.

WPA2-PSK connections are ideal for home use thanks to password protection and excellent encryption quality. If you have a home and you have smartphones and PCs quite recent I suggest you use this protection to keep your data, your privacy and your devices safe.

What protection should I use for my WiFi connection

Now that you understand the difference between the various protections of your WiFi connection, it’s time to decide which one to use. I strongly advise against using the WEP protocol, you would be defenseless and your data would be in danger. If you have a recent PC and even a smartphone, then I recommend using the WPA2 protocol, otherwise it uses WPA networks. With WPA and WAP2 your data will be safe and you will be protected while surfing the Internet.

How do I change the security level of my WiFi connection?

When you have decided which connection to use you must go to set the security level of your WiFi by switching from your modem. To change the protection of your WiFi you must go to the control panel of your modem, or your router, and find the right setting. To access the panel open your browser, for example Google Chrome or Firefox, and write in the address bar, you can find it at the top, one of these numbers:

  • 192.168.1.1
  • 192.168.0.1
  • 192.168.1.254

If the number you typed is correct you will arrive on a web page where you will find all the settings of your modem and connection. To access the various settings you will need to login, you must search the manual or in the box of your modem username (usually it is admin) and password. Once you have logged in to the configuration panel you have to look for the “WiFi Security” section, the pages and descriptions are different from modem to modem but you will find what you are looking for in the security section. From here you can set the security level, then the type of encryption, the WiFi connection, choose WPA2-PSK protection, or you can use the combination of WPA and WPA2.

If you are using 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi connections, you will need to change the encryption on both connections, so you will have the highest level of protection on both WiFi networks.

What encryption am I using in my WiFi connection?

If you asked yourself this question then let’s understand it together. As I explained above, you need to open the control panel and from the security section you can see the protection you are using on your wireless connection. If, instead, you are using a public connection or a connection for which you can not access the panel, then you can rely on an app for your smartphone, such as WiFiAnalyzer, which allows you to discover the information and encryption of the network to which you are connected.

Final advice

So we have seen what the various levels of WEP, WPA and WPA2 encryptions are and I have explained to you what protection you should use.

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