Because anyone with a WiFi-enabled computer can capture wireless data packets and try to recover sensitive information from them, WiFi security is a topic of critical importance.
The most common types of wireless security algorithms are Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) and Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA). The former algorithm was introduced in 1997, and it is now considered to be insecure. In fact, there are readily available apps that allow anyone with a smartphone to decrypt all communication on a WiFi network secured with the WEP algorithm with a few taps on the screen.
Because of its insufficient security, WEP was superseded by WPA in 2003. A year later, WPA2 was introduced as even more secure and complex wireless security algorithm, and it has remained the standard for WiFi security to this day.
As important as WiFi security is for private wireless networks, it’s importance is even greater when it comes to public WiFi hotspots, which are physical locations where people may obtain Internet access by connecting to a wireless local area network (WLAN) using an Internet-connected WiFi router that acts as an access point, a device that allows clients to wirelessly connect to a wired network.