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How does encryption protect wireless networks?

Encryption protects wireless networks by converting data into a code to prevent unauthorised access from potential hackers.

In a wireless network, data is transmitted through radio waves, which can be easily intercepted. Encryption is a method used to secure this data. It works by converting the data into a code that can only be deciphered with the correct key. This means that even if a hacker intercepts the data, they would not be able to understand it without the encryption key.

There are several types of encryption used in wireless networks. The most common are Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), and Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2). WEP is the oldest and least secure, while WPA2 is currently the most secure. Each of these uses a different method to encrypt data, but they all serve the same purpose: to protect your data from unauthorised access.

WEP uses a static encryption key that is shared between devices. This means that once a device has the key, it can always decrypt the data. This is a major security flaw, as if a hacker gets the key, they can access all the data. WPA improved on this by introducing a dynamic key that changes with each data packet. This makes it much harder for a hacker to access the data, as they would need to get the key for each individual packet.

WPA2 further improved security by introducing the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). AES is a more complex encryption method that is currently considered unbreakable. It uses a longer key, making it even harder for a hacker to guess.

In addition to encrypting data, wireless networks also use authentication methods to ensure that only authorised devices can connect. This is usually done through a password, but can also include methods like MAC address filtering or digital certificates.

In conclusion, encryption is a vital part of wireless network security. It protects data by converting it into a code that can only be deciphered with the correct key, preventing unauthorised access.

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