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If I increase my WEP key strength, can I avoid upgrading to WPA?

I cannot implement WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) to fix the WEP security issues on my wireless LAN due to my older equipment and I'm worried that my data is vulnerable. If I increase my WEP key length from 40 to 128 or greater, will this help?

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The short answer is no. Typically, a longer key length would make an encryption algorithm exponentially more difficult to crack. However, given the static key scheduling used in WEP, each additional bit added to the key length will only require that the attacker capture an extra 20,000 or so packets before he's able to crack the key using a tool such as AirSnort, WEPCrack, or WepAttack. WEP is still better than nothing though!

This was first published in January 2004

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