Wi-Fi WPA encryption partially cracked

Reports have emerged that the WPA Wi-Fi encryption protocol, once thought of as secure, has been partially cracked.

Details regarding the crack will be revealed by the security researchers Erik Tews and Martin Beck at the PacSec conference due to be held in Tokyo next week.

Tews and Beck are said to have broken WPA's Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) standard, a process that takes around 15 minutes, enabling them to read data sent from a router to a computer. However, it is only a partial crack as this can't be performed the other way round.

Modern Wi-Fi security began with the WEP standard, which was exposed as insecure several years ago. Earlier this year, retailer TK Maxx suffered a major security breach that was later revealed to have occurred as it moved from WEP to WPA encryption.

It is expected that more research will be done on this exploit, which may lead to further compromises in the encryption standard.

The news may push enterprise customers to move to the WPA2 standard, which is likely to involve great expense as businesses are forced to upgrade some equipment in order to support the newer standard.

Benny Har-Even

Benny Har-Even is a twenty-year stalwart of technology journalism who is passionate about all areas of the industry, but telecoms and mobile and home entertainment are among his chief interests. He has written for many of the leading tech publications in the UK, such as PC Pro and Wired, and previously held the position of technology editor at ITPro before regularly contributing as a freelancer.

Known affectionately as a ‘geek’ to his friends, his passion has seen him land opportunities to speak about technology on BBC television broadcasts, as well as a number of speaking engagements at industry events.