What Is WEP?
WEP is short for Wired Equivalent Privacy, and it’s a security algorithm for IEEE 802.11 wireless networks, which communicate in the 900 MHz and 2.4, 3.6, 5, and 60 GHz frequency bands. WEP was first introduced in 1997, and it had been the main WiFi security algorithm until it was superseded by Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) in 2003 and later declared as deprecated.
Standard 64-bit WEP uses only a 40-bit key, and this key is shared among users, making it problematic for large organizations to fix security issues. The first WEP exploit was published in 2001, and the FBI publicly demonstrated that it was possible to crack a WEP-protected network in less than 3 minutes with tools that were freely available on the internet.
Today, WEP is used by only around 3 percent of access points globally. Most new routers don’t even give users the option to use it, and those that do display a warning message to inform users about the numerous shortcomings of the WEP security algorithm.