Why you should NOT use WEP!
After taking an Ethical Hacking course, I was amazed (but not surprised) to see the amount of flaws most average users face on a daily basis when it comes to computers. When we talk about hacking, we don’t mean someone accessing your Facebook account and updating your status because you forgot to log off. When we say hack, we mean that they force their way into your network by figuring out what your username and password is without your knowledge.
One of the main ones that I noticed was the most easiest way to hack someones wireless network, if they are using Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) encrypted passwords. The reason why these passwords are the easiest to crack, is due to the fact that it can only use alphanumeric characters in the password. So it makes cracking programs such as Aircrack-ng¬†easily find out the wireless networks password within 10-20 minutes – even less if you’re lucky. The video above shows you how simple it is for someone to hack a WEP encrypted network.
This is not to say that WPA, WPA2 etc are not hack-able – quite the opposite. However if a hacker would like to gain access to a wireless network easily, they would most likely target users with WEP encrypted passwords.
Now you may not care if your network is hacked because after all, the hackers would most likely just want to gain internet access. But you couldn’t be further from the truth. Once a hacker has access to your network, nothing you do on your computer is safe anymore and can easily be monitored by sniffers.
What can they do once they’ve hacked your network?
Bare in mind that this is just the tip of the ice-berg. These are all the things users who have access to the same network you are on would have, if you do not protect yourself. Don’t be fooled into thinking that your Anti-Virus software will keep you safe from hackers – even these software have limited capabilities and can be hacked.
What can you do to make your network safer?
- Use WPA or WPA2 to secure your network
- Don’t limit your passwords to alphanumeric characters – add a few symbols in there as well
- Do not use common words like “apple” or “banana” as these can easily be cracked using the brute force method
- Do not use a wireless network at all – use physical connections