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WEP is very easily broken thus insecure. Use WPA instead if your hardware supports it or SSH tunnels between client machines and a server that is the access point or is behind the access point if you wish to keep your communications secure.

From Wikipedia:

Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) is a scheme to secure wireless networks (WiFi). Because a wireless network broadcasts messages using radio, it is particularly susceptible to eavesdropping. WEP was intended to provide comparable confidentiality to a traditional wired network, hence the name. Several serious weaknesses were identified by cryptanalysts, and WEP was superseded by Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) in 2003, and then by the full IEEE 802.11i standard (also known as WPA2) in 2004.

WEP provides a level of security that can deter only the most casual snooping. Tools in the portage tree (aircrack, aircrack-ng) allow the most clewless n00b to easly penetrate a WEP network with minimal effort.

On the other hand, WEP is useful if it is your only option, typically on legacy hardware. It's most valuable to indicate that the network is intended to be private. Be sure to set an appropriate SSID like "Bugger-Off" so that potential freeloaders get the message.

You can set the WEP key on a wireless interface with iwconfig:

# iwconfig wlan0 enc 3141592653

WEP is also supported by the wireless configurators in recent baselayouts, so that the plumbing of the WEP key as illustrated above can be performed automatically.

More robust security is readily available if your wireless networking hardware was manufactured recently.

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Last modified: Wed, 04 Jun 2008 07:38:00 +0000 Hits: 4,949