Essay: Wired Equivalent Privacy

Essay: Wired Equivalent Privacy
April 12, 2011 Comments Off on Essay: Wired Equivalent Privacy Academic Papers on Information Technology,Sample Academic Papers admin

Sample Essay

Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) protocol, ratified with the initial release of 802.11 Wireless LAN protocol, was released to secure wireless connection up to an equivalent level of security of a standard wired connection. This was accomplished in WEP through the use of “shared secret keys”, an Integrity Check Value (ICV) and the RC4 Stream Cipher. A combination of these technologies was used to encrypt each frame containing data that was sent between the wireless NIC of the client computer and the access point of the network. This also allowed for verification that packets were tampered with while in transit.

A WEP frame is made up of three parts which are the Initial Checksum Value (ICV), the Data and the Initial Vectors (IV). First, the data block that is to be sent is encrypted through a CRC-32 Algorithm. The simple checksum of data calculated through CRC-32 is appended to the data block and is further encrypted with RC4 stream cipher. The RC4 cipher does this by generating a stream of bits which are then XORed with the ICV+data stream to produce the encrypted payload. The generation of random bits by RC4 is seeded in WEP with initial vectors (IV) and shared keys.  These keys can be in the form of four 40-bit keys or a single 104bit key. In WEP, after a packet has been encrypted, one of the header fields in the frame indicated which of the secret keys were used during encryption. It is important that the same shared key exists on both sides of the connection in order for both access point and the wireless client to decrypt data sent by each other.

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