WiFi Protected Access

Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) is an encryption method produced by the Wi-Fi Alli ance to address the security issues found in WEP. The following major enhance ments are included in WPA:

■ Increased data encryption. WPA implements Temporal Key Integrity Pro tocol (TKIP), which uses a per-packet key mixing function; a message integrity check (MIC), known as Michael; and an extended IV with rules on sequencing. In addition, WPA implements a re-keying mechanism so that the same key is not used for long periods of time.

■ Dependency on 802.1x authentication. The use of 802.1x authentication is optional for WEP encryption only. WPA requires 802.1x authentication to ensure that only authorized users or computers are allowed connectivity to the wireless network. 802.1x authentication also ensures mutual authentication so that a wireless client does not connect to a rogue network, rather than the cor porate network.

Note A future proposal for wireless security is the IEEE 802.111 security specification. The current WPA definition includes forward compatibility with the new 802.11i security specification. 802.11i adds secure fast handoffs, secure de-authentication, and secure disassociation with WAPs. 802.11i also implements strong forms of authentication from the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).

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