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Should I change from wep key to wpa?

I have been with Fios for many years.  Over the past couple of years, I have been getting a copywrite notice for movies that I have never heard of much less downloaded and in the middle of the night, no less.  This seems to happen every 6-8 months.  Am I being hacked?  I have never changed my wep key.  Should I change it to a wpa?  What is the difference?

Re: Should I change from wep key to wpa?
Super User
Super User

Hard to say if you've been hacked, however WEP is pitifully easy to crack (google it).  It's like locking your house with a cheap pad lock; the good guys will recognize it's locked and stay out while the bad guys simply hit the lock with a hammer to break it.

WPA-2, however, is much more secure.  I'm not aware of any cracks for it.  Verizon's routers now ship with WPA enabled instead of WEP.

So yes, if you are concerned about keeping bad buys off  your network, switch to WPA-2.

The most likely source of these downloads is someone you've authorized to use your WiFi.  Maybe someone in your family, a friend, or somebody who got the key from someone you trust.  If you're certain you've never let anyone else use your WiFi, then a WEP crack is more likely.

Regardless, if you really suspect other people of using your network, you should switch to WPA-2 and carefully control who you let on your network.  You may even want to change your passkey every so often.

Good Luck!

Re: Should I change from wep key to wpa?

My short answer is: YES

As gs0b said, WEP is easy to crack now. Plus many newer wireless devices seem to connect much more easiy when the router is using WPA2 than they do when it is using WEP - Smart TVs, wireless printers, smartphones, etc. all just seem to do better.

IMO, the only reason not to switch would be if you have some devices that you use wirelessly that do not support WPA2, but in that case they must be pretty old and ready for replacement anyway.  Smiley Very Happy

FiOS TV, 25/25 Internet, and Digital Voice user
QIP7232, QIP7100-P2, IMG 1.9.1
Keller, TX 76248

Re: Should I change from wep key to wpa?

WEP can be cracked within minutes.  My only suggestion on using WPA is to use a totally random password, with letters, numbers and a special character too.  I'm pretty certain WPA can be cracked using brute force - so make the password random.

Re: Should I change from wep key to wpa?

In my case, the device that does not support WPA2 is the Rev A router that Verizon has never upgraded.

Re: Should I change from wep key to wpa?

Take it to a Verizon FIOS store, they'll surely upgrade it for you.

Re: Should I change from wep key to wpa?

Most definitely. WPA2 is the best form of Wi-Fi encryption to use. It's required on the ActionTec Rev. F to Rev. I to make use of Wireless N anyways. WEP is stupid easy to crack (takes less than 10 seconds, and old FiOS routers had keys that could be cracked by calculating a formula from the MAC address of the router), and WPA is somewhat crackable. WPA2 basically requires brute force until a proof of concept comes out and is solid enough to crack WPA2 without brute forcing using a GPU farm.

So the answer is Yes. If you're still running a Rev. A too, I'd suggest ditching it or shutting off the Wi-Fi on it (my solution) and getting an access point. That is old hardware.

Re: Should I change from wep key to wpa?

wpa2 can be hacked by brute force if you use a dictionary word for your password. Security measures are only as good as the password you use to access the service . Randomization , mixing caps , numbers , etc. into your password , and NOT using full words is the key . Harder to remember for you , inconvenient , but how mych is your security worth to you ? use the first syllable of your dogs name , throw your childhood zipcode in the middle , then last syllable of your spouses middle name , then maybe throw in your goldfishes birthdate at the end.  Fractions of info you can remember strung together , the longer and more random it appears , the better. 8 digit is ok , 16 digit of seemingly random info from what I've read is almost hack proof . You can set up a guest access on your router for visitors to use so you don't have to give them the secure password , it should be firewalled from the rest of your system .