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Is WPA pre-share key encryption secure enough for wireless in production?

Q#1 If the WPA encryption is used between AP and wireless client, how secure is such encryption nowaday?
Q#2 What factors determine the secureness of WPA encryption?
Q#3. How long does it take to 'hack' WPA encryption?

Thanks.

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richtree
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richtree
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3 Solutions
 
DarthStromCommented:
WPA encryption (TKIP) is fairly secure.  Researchers have recently been able to half-crack TKIP, but it's not something that is widely done yet.  If your devices support WPA2 it would be a more secure option as it uses AES/CCMP encryption.

As far as "secureness" they are pretty close, but work a bit differently.  With the WPA2 specification it was decided to switch to AES since it was the encryption standard of NIST.  

Both are more secure than WEP by far - it has been cracked in under a minute.
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Darr247Commented:
WPA actually IS the same encryption (RC4) as WEP, it just alters the cypher used according to vectors negotiated at the beginning of the session. With WPA-TKIP, captured data packets can be cracked, so the answer to your title question is NO.

Q1. How secure depends on how much memory and how fast the CPU is on the cracking computer[s]. A dual-core laptop with 1GB of RAM can crack WPA-TKIP (RC4) encrypted packets captured from wireless transmissions in 10 minutes or less. That's like asking ''how secure is my conversation on this party line?''

Q2. The cypher strength and the fact that WPA-TKIP still includes the encrypted passphrase in every packet just like WEP.

Q3. see answer to Q1. Google ''aircrack''

WPA-TKIP  secures your connection (they can't logon to your wireless and send a million spams while you're sleeping), but not your data. If the data you exchange is not 'confidential', then WPA-TKIP should be satisfactory.

Some devices/firmwares have added AES encryption to WPA, but that is not officially part of the WPA spec so there's no guarantee all devices support it just because they're WPA compliant; Devices that are WPA2 compliant DO support AES encryption.
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richtreeAuthor Commented:
Can you please also comment on secureness using WPA preshared key?
Thanks.
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DarthStromCommented:
Do you mean in comparison to using an authentication server?
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richtreeAuthor Commented:
How secure if I use WPA preshare key?
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Darr247Commented:
WPA-PSK is what we were talking about, I thought.
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wettowelreactorCommented:
WPA-PSK has traditionally been only as strong as the shared key used to secure it. WPA-TKIP was a significant improvemnt to WEP but dictionary attacks agaisnt the shared key where still possible so strong shared keys involving a random string of lower case, upper case, numbers and characters should be used and the key length passphrase should be as long as possible. A new attack against WPA-TKIP has been discovered claiming to compromise packets without relying on a dictonary attack. That being said WPA-PSK does not have to rely on WPA-TKIP depending on your hardware you may be able to use WPA-PSK with an alternate encryption scheme such as AES. Just be sure you use a strong passphrase.
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