Wifi protected access (WPA)

The way we access the internet has been completely transformed by wireless technologies. We no longer live without wifi, which has made it possible to link some gadgets wirelessly to the internet. Yet, because wireless networks are intrinsically less secure than wired networks, numerous security protocols have been created to address this issue. WiFi Protected Access is one such protocol (WPA).

Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), a security protocol, was intended to be replaced by WPA once it was discovered to be attackable. WPA was first introduced in 2003, and it immediately emerged as the de facto wireless network security protocol.

This article will go into great detail about WPA, including its background, operation, advantages, and disadvantages.

History of WPA

As more people began using wireless networks in the early 2000s, the demand for a more secure wireless network increased. Although WEP was the first wireless network security standard, it had several flaws that left it open to intrusion. A short key length, a predictable initialization vector, and a shoddy integrity check were among these flaws. Researchers found that WEP could be broken in under a minute using the "chop-chop" method in 2001. WPA was developed as a result of this.

To provide a workaround while the IEEE 802.11i standard was being developed, WPA was released in 2003. WPA was built on a portion of the 802.11i standard and created as a rapid workaround for WEP's security flaws. Stronger encryption improved key management, and a more reliable integrity check were all goals of WPA. A more robust variation of WPA, known as WPA2, was included in the 802.11i standard, which was finalized in 2004.

How WPA works

To ensure remote systems, WPA combines verification and encryption. Pre-Shared Key (WPA-PSK) and WPA-Enterprise are the two diverse ways that WPA can be utilized. For systems in homes and little workplaces, WPA-PSK mode is expected. A pre-shared key (PSK) is utilized in this mode to confirm the network's gadgets. All of the gadgets within the arrangement share a passphrase called the PSK. The right PSK must be provided by the gadget when it endeavors to connect the organization. The information that is sent between the gadget and the get to the point is scrambled employing a Pairwise Ace Key (PMK) that's made utilizing the Pairwise Security Key (PSK).

Bigger systems, such as those in businesses and colleges, are the target group of onlookers for WPA-Enterprise mode. Each gadget is interestingly approved in this mode employing an uncommon username and watchword. A Span (Inaccessible Confirmation Dial-In Client Benefit) server handles the verification. A gadget sends its accreditations to the Sweep server when it needs to connect the organize. The Span server at that point confirms the qualifications and answers to the gadget with data almost whether or not the confirmation was fruitful. A Pairwise Transitory Key (PTK), which is utilized to scramble the information sent between the gadget and the get to the point, is created if the verification is fruitful.

Let’s explore the qualities of WPA one by one.

Qualities of WPA

1. Secure encryption

The Progressed Encryption Standard (AES) encryption calculation, which is utilized by WPA, is respected as being outstandingly secure. Governments and businesses all over the world use the symmetric encryption strategy AES on a normal premise.

2. Message Judgment Check (MIC)

WPA employments a MIC to create beyond any doubt that no changes or alterations have been made to the information transmitted between the client and the get to the point. Assaults like man-in-the-middle assaults are helped by this.

3. Key administration

The key administration framework utilized by WPA is more grounded than that of WEP. WPA produces a one-of-a-kind key from an ace key for each session. This makes it harder for aggressors to figure out the key.

4. Working modes

It has WPA-PSK and WPA-Enterprise. WPA is perfect for both private and commercial utilization since it has two working modes, WPA-PSK and WPA-Enterprise.

Shortcomings of WPA

1. Vulnerability to brute-force assaults

The pre-shared key (PSK) utilized in WPA-PSK mode is helpless to such ambushes. Aggressors can utilize the advanced program to endeavor all conceivable character combinations until they discover the proper key.

2. Defenselessness to lexicon assaults

The WPA-PSK mode PSK is additionally vulnerable to dictionary assaults. Assailants can endeavor to figure out the key by employing a list of prevalent passwords.

3. WPA-Weaknesses

Enterprise's Whereas being more secure than WPA-PSK, WPA-Enterprise is still powerless against assaults. Aggressors may target the Span server or endeavor to utilize gaps within the confirmation strategy as an opportunity.

4. Replay Assaults

Replay assaults, in which an aggressor collects scrambled information at that point replays it to get organized, are a common shape of arranged interruption. The consideration of grouping numbers, be that as it may, gives built-in resistance against replay endeavors for WPA.

5. Mystery

WPA does not offer forward mystery, this implies that on the off chance that an aggressor can get the encryption key and compromise it, they will be able to unscramble all past information that has been scrambled with that key.


WPA significantly outperforms WEP in terms of security for wireless networks. It has various flaws that make it open to attacks, but it is not impervious to them. If possible, businesses and consumers should upgrade to the more secure WPA2 protocol to better protect their wireless networks.

Updated on: 12-Apr-2023


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