Windows® 7 Network Security Key
Why it is important for you to know about Windows® 7 Network Security Key?
Windows® 7 Network Security Key has a much greater improvement over the previous versions of Windows® and their network security keys. It uses stronger encryption by default. It also makes it difficult and even highly impossible to activate the poorer encryption key over the superior one. To make sure that no one who can catch wireless signal from your computer is able to actually see all the data that is being transmitted, Windows® 7 offers options between three types of encryption methods for your wireless connection.
The three encryption methods for wireless networks are:
- Wi-Fi Protected Access - WPA and WPA2
- Wired Equivalent Privacy - WEP
Wi-Fi Protected Access - WPA and WPA2
WPA and WPA2 works this way, they ask users to provide a security key so that they would be able to connect. When the key is validated, all data that's being transmitted between the computer and the access point becomes encrypted. WPA authentication has two types, WPA and WPA2. WPA2 is a preferred method because it has a stronger encryption. Most of the new wireless adapters are able to support both WPA and WPA2, while some older ones aren't. There is also WPA-Personal and WPA2-Personal where each user has the same passphrase. This mode is fine for home networks. There are also WPA-Enterprise and WPA2-Enterprise which are made to be used in association with an 802.1x authentication server that is giving different keys to every user and it was originally made to be used by work networks.
Wired Equivalent Privacy - WEP
WEP used to be great way of encrypting data, until it was cracked. It's an older network security method and is still used by older devices, but it's not safe as it was in the beginning so it's not recommended to be used today. The way it works is that when you enable WEP you create a network security key. That key encrypts all the data that one computer is sending to another computer over your network. Unfortunately WEP is relatively easy to crack.
802.1x is mostly used by enterprise networks. A common network access is made out of three-component architecture that has a supplicant, access device (like switch or access point) and authentication server. This type of architecture leverages the decentralized access devices so that they would be able to provide scalable, yet computationally expensive, encryption to all the supplicants connected and at the same time centralizing access control to a few authentication servers. All this makes 802.1x very easy to manage in big installations. Process of authentication starts when an end user tries to connect to the WLAN in question. The authenticator gets the request and then it creates a virtual port with the supplicant. Then the authenticator become like a proxy for an end user by transmitting authentication data to and from the authentication server on its behalf. The authenticator also limits traffic to authentication data to the server. A negotiation takes place that finishes after end user logs off.