Is key length important when using WPA-PSK Encryption ?

Discussion in 'Wireless Networking' started by =?Utf-8?B?Um91Z2huZWNr?=, Oct 9, 2006.

  1. The default key that came with my DSL modem/router/switch is 10 characters
    long. I was planning to change the key and make it longer, but a DSL tech
    support person with my ISP indicated a longer key wouldn't be any more secure
    than a 10 digit key and that a longer key could/would cause my home network
    to slow down because of unnecessary overhead. Is this tech on top of his
    game?
    --
    So much to learn... So little time.
     
    =?Utf-8?B?Um91Z2huZWNr?=, Oct 9, 2006
    #1
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  2. =?Utf-8?B?Um91Z2huZWNr?=

    David Hettel Guest

    In simple words NO!

    The longer the key the more secure it is. Short keys in WPA can make it less
    secure than WEP!

    --
    David Hettel

    Please post any reply as a follow-up message in the news group
    for everyone to see. I'm sorry, but I don't answer questions
    addressed directly to me in E-mail or news groups.

    Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Program
    http://mvp.support.microsoft.com

    DISCLAIMER: This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and
    confers no rights


    "Roughneck" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > The default key that came with my DSL modem/router/switch is 10 characters
    > long. I was planning to change the key and make it longer, but a DSL tech
    > support person with my ISP indicated a longer key wouldn't be any more
    > secure
    > than a 10 digit key and that a longer key could/would cause my home
    > network
    > to slow down because of unnecessary overhead. Is this tech on top of his
    > game?
    > --
    > So much to learn... So little time.
     
    David Hettel, Oct 10, 2006
    #2
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  3. Thanks for the reply, David.

    Would a 10 character key be considered a "short" key?

    Is there any consensus or generally accepted rules in regards to how many
    characters would be needed in a key for it to be considered
    poor/fair/good/better/best? (I'm assuming the key does not consist of any
    words or combination of words that could be found in a dictionary.)

    Is there a point at which the benefit from increasing the number of
    characters might begin to fall off and/or begin to adversely affect network
    traffic?

    I assume there's a limit as to the number of characters that can be used in
    a key. If so, do you know what it is?

    Thanks so much for any additional help you can give.
    --
    So much to learn... So little time.


    "David Hettel" wrote:

    > In simple words NO!
    >
    > The longer the key the more secure it is. Short keys in WPA can make it less
    > secure than WEP!
    >
    > --
    > David Hettel
    >
    > Please post any reply as a follow-up message in the news group
    > for everyone to see. I'm sorry, but I don't answer questions
    > addressed directly to me in E-mail or news groups.
    >
    > Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Program
    > http://mvp.support.microsoft.com
    >
    > DISCLAIMER: This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and
    > confers no rights
    >
    >
    > "Roughneck" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    > > The default key that came with my DSL modem/router/switch is 10 characters
    > > long. I was planning to change the key and make it longer, but a DSL tech
    > > support person with my ISP indicated a longer key wouldn't be any more
    > > secure
    > > than a 10 digit key and that a longer key could/would cause my home
    > > network
    > > to slow down because of unnecessary overhead. Is this tech on top of his
    > > game?
    > > --
    > > So much to learn... So little time.

    >
    >
    >
     
    =?Utf-8?B?Um91Z2huZWNr?=, Oct 10, 2006
    #3
  4. =?Utf-8?B?Um91Z2huZWNr?=

    Gordon May Guest

    Gordon May, Oct 10, 2006
    #4
  5. Interesting! And I was wondering if I would be over-doing it with a 20
    character key.
    --
    So much to learn... So little time.


    "Gordon May" wrote:

    > http://www.kurtm.net/wpa-pskgen/
    >
    > read through this page, he gives some good advice
    >
    > GM
    >
    >
    >
     
    =?Utf-8?B?Um91Z2huZWNr?=, Oct 10, 2006
    #5
  6. =?Utf-8?B?Um91Z2huZWNr?=

    Rich Guest

    On Mon, 9 Oct 2006 15:35:02 -0700, Roughneck
    <> wrote:

    >The default key that came with my DSL modem/router/switch is 10 characters
    >long. I was planning to change the key and make it longer, but a DSL tech
    >support person with my ISP indicated a longer key wouldn't be any more secure
    >than a 10 digit key and that a longer key could/would cause my home network
    >to slow down because of unnecessary overhead. Is this tech on top of his
    >game?


    i use a 64-character WAP key on my wireless router. i've noticed no
    problems. if there is any slowdown its negligible.

    73,
    rich, n9dko
     
    Rich, Oct 10, 2006
    #6
  7. =?Utf-8?B?Um91Z2huZWNr?=

    Rich Guest

    On Mon, 9 Oct 2006 17:20:02 -0700, Roughneck
    <> wrote:

    >Thanks for the reply, David.
    >
    >Would a 10 character key be considered a "short" key?
    >
    >Is there any consensus or generally accepted rules in regards to how many
    >characters would be needed in a key for it to be considered
    >poor/fair/good/better/best? (I'm assuming the key does not consist of any
    >words or combination of words that could be found in a dictionary.)
    >
    >Is there a point at which the benefit from increasing the number of
    >characters might begin to fall off and/or begin to adversely affect network
    >traffic?


    at the rate at which data is processed the extra time needed must be
    infinitestimal.

    >
    >I assume there's a limit as to the number of characters that can be used in
    >a key. If so, do you know what it is?


    64. longer is better.
    >
    >Thanks so much for any additional help you can give.


    i think i typed "WAP" in an earlier post when i meant "WPA". in any
    case use the longer key and rest easy.

    73,
    rich, n9dko
     
    Rich, Oct 10, 2006
    #7
  8. Thanks again, everyone--you're help is VERY much appreciated. I'll get the
    key beefed up right away.
    --
    So much to learn... So little time.


    "Roughneck" wrote:

    > The default key that came with my DSL modem/router/switch is 10 characters
    > long. I was planning to change the key and make it longer, but a DSL tech
    > support person with my ISP indicated a longer key wouldn't be any more secure
    > than a 10 digit key and that a longer key could/would cause my home network
    > to slow down because of unnecessary overhead. Is this tech on top of his
    > game?
    > --
    > So much to learn... So little time.
     
    =?Utf-8?B?Um91Z2huZWNr?=, Oct 10, 2006
    #8
  9. "Rich" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On Mon, 9 Oct 2006 15:35:02 -0700, Roughneck
    > <> wrote:
    >
    >>The default key that came with my DSL modem/router/switch is 10 characters
    >>long. I was planning to change the key and make it longer, but a DSL tech
    >>support person with my ISP indicated a longer key wouldn't be any more
    >>secure
    >>than a 10 digit key and that a longer key could/would cause my home
    >>network
    >>to slow down because of unnecessary overhead. Is this tech on top of his
    >>game?

    >
    > i use a 64-character WAP key on my wireless router. i've noticed no
    > problems. if there is any slowdown its negligible.
    >
    > 73,
    > rich, n9dko


    The tech is completely wrong and has no earthly clue about how WPA-PSK is
    designed and implemented. The PSK (Pre-Shared Key) is not used to actually
    encrypt the data and its length does not change the length of the encryption
    key. The PSK is used by the client and AP to authenticate each other and
    produce the encryption key through a known shared algorithm (TKIP for WPA,
    AES for WPA2).

    Phil Doragh
     
    Philip Doragh, Oct 10, 2006
    #9
  10. Philip Doragh <> wrote:

    <snip>

    > The tech is completely wrong and has no earthly clue about how WPA-PSK is
    > designed and implemented. The PSK (Pre-Shared Key) is not used to actually
    > encrypt the data and its length does not change the length of the encryption
    > key. The PSK is used by the client and AP to authenticate each other and
    > produce the encryption key through a known shared algorithm (TKIP for WPA,
    > AES for WPA2).


    True, but a short key can be broken using a dictionary- or brute force
    attack. That said, the way WPA-PSK is implemented in no way slows down
    the connection because the RC4 cipher still uses the hardware on the
    chipset the same way as WEP.
     
    Axel Hammerschmidt, Oct 20, 2006
    #10
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