WEP encryption for Wi-Fi breaks in 3 seconds: German researchers

Published on April 04, 2007

WEP encryption for Wi-Fi breaks in 3 seconds: German researchers

    Wi-Fi wireless data encryption protocol, WEP (“equivalent to wired privacy”), can be cracked in 3 seconds, say three researchers from the University of Dotrmund, Germany. A demonstration of this process will take place over the weekend at a security conference in Hamburg.

    The protocol is based on the RC4 encryption algorithm; back in 2001, mathematicians said that it was theoretically unreliable, but to open it requires sending about 4 million packets. Later, new holes were found in the algorithm that reduced the time to crack a key search - up to several hours. But the WEP algorithm remained reliable in practice, as the keys changed every 5 minutes.

    Researchers from Germany managed to extract a 104-bit WEP key in 3 seconds by intercepting wireless packets in a few minutes. This process can be repeated on any modern laptop: the experiment was carried out on a machine with a 1.7 GHz Pentium M processor. Moreover, hacking is possible from less powerful handheld computers or smartphones, says one of the project participants, Eric Tews.

    WEP was positioned as the “equivalent of wired network security,” where traffic between nodes cannot be intercepted.

    cnews.ru