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Home » Hacking News » Microsoft offers WPA2 Wi-Fi security for Win XP

Microsoft offers WPA2 Wi-Fi security for Win XP

by Nikola Strahija on May 13th, 2005 Microsoft has added a key wireless LAN security specification to Windows XP. The specification, called Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 or WPA2, requires a Wi-Fi client to include the AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) algorithm for encrypting data traversing a Wi-Fi network.

AES is the type of encryption used in many government agencies and security-conscious industries.

The new, free software from Microsoft supports all features of WPA2, users must have Windows XP Service Pack 2 in order to use it. In order to take advantage of WPA2, users will also need a wireless LAN that includes the new standard and a Wi-Fi network adapter with the processing power to handle AES encryption.

Windows support may also boost Wi-Fi adoption in government, where some agencies are required to use AES encryption on their network traffic.
Concern about security has been a major barrier to enterprise adoption of Wi-Fi. The original Wi-Fi security mechanism, WEP, was easily broken. In 2002, the Wi-Fi Alliance industry group improved upon WEP with the first version of WPA, which required the TKIP (Temporal Key Integrity Protocol) algorithm and included AES as an option. After the stronger IEEE 802.11i standard was completed last year, the group introduced WPA2, which requires AES and includes TKIP as an option.

Microsoft's new software also includes WPS IE (Wireless Positioning Services Information Element), which lets a client detect both secured and non-secured wireless LANs that are operated from one access point. An ISP (Internet service provider) can run multiple networks from a single access point, such as secured and unsecured wireless LANs at a public hot spot, and broadcast the names of all of them. WPS IE lets a client discover all those networks, Microsoft's Baron said.

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