Security

Wireless LAN Key generator

Note: WEP should no longer be used to secure any WiFi network given the weakness of the encryption system. Instead WPA (WiFi Protected Access) should be used. This is far more robust and offers a much greater level of security. WPA key generator

DO NOT CONTINUE TO USE WEP TO SECURE YOUR WIFI NETWORK

This article is saved here for historical purposes only!

WEP Strong Key Generator

Whatever bad you may have heard about WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) encryption for wireless networks, not using it is asking for trouble.  Usually it is quick and easy to set up, and at the very least, it doesn't cost you anything!  

However, generating random WEP keys to use can be a pain - it's difficult to think up new ones, and if you want good security on your wireless network, you need to change them regularly.  I was getting ready to write a simple script that would do all that for me when I came across the WEP Strong Key Generator by Warewolf Labs.  They've written JavaScript code that will generate different kinds of keys for you with a click of a button, and have kindly made the code available free for distribution.  I've checked the code for anything suspicious and I can tell you it's not there - many thanks to them for a great job!  So, instead of reinventing the wheel, I decided to use the code here.  Using this page you can generate good WEP keys for your wireless LAN.  

If you are worried about using WEP keys generated on a Web page, then you have a few options:

 - Don't!  Think up keys for yourself.
 - The code authors have made the code downloadable so you can run it locally from your PC.  That gets around any worries you may have about Internet generated passwords.
 - Use another password generator.  A good (and free) one is PasswordGeneratorXP by WinCatalog.com.  To use this you'll have to set the length to 10 for a 64-bit key or 26 for a 128-bit key, uncheck all the options apart from "Other (your symbols)" and into the text box paste the following 16 characters ABCDEF0123456789

To generate a random WEP key, select the bit key length to generate and press the corresponding button; the ASCII or HEX key can then be copied to your clipboard manually or via the copy to clipboard button to the right of the generated key text field.

A good primer on WEP key setup and terms is located here.

As well as resetting your WEP key, you should follow these simple rules for making WEP as secure as possible. 

 - If your WEP software asks you for a passphrase or string to generate a key, do not use simple, easy to guess stuff like your SSID (Service Set IDentifier), company name, network name, or any other easy to guess alphanumeric string. 
 - If your software allows it, disable SSID broadcasting.  It means that you won't have automatic network detection but it does add to the security of the network.
 - Treat setting WEP keys the same way you a strong password.  Choose good ones and don't write them down, send them b email and so on.
 - If you must manually enter the key, you're restricted to the numbers '0-9' and letters 'a-f'.  In this case, don't simply hit the same key over and over again or use some simple pattern like 1,2,3, and so on.  These are not only easy to guess but quick to break.

Stay safe!

NOTES:

- If your product vendor requests 40-bit keys, use the 64-bit key
- If your product vendor requests 104-bit keys, use the 128-bit key
- Apple users can enter HEX keys into their AirPort setup by prefixing the generated string with a"$" symbol
(i.e. if the generated HEX code is 6b5e454532 then you would enter $6b5e454532 into your configuration)
- One ASCII Character is Eight (8) Bits 
- One HEX Character is Four (4) Bits
- 40 or 64 bit ASCII WEP code has 5 characters 
- 40 or 64 bit HEX WEP code has 10 characters
- 128 bit ASCII WEP code has 13 characters 
- 128 bit HEX WEP code has 26 characters 

Random WEP Key    
 
     
 
     
 
     
 
     

Custom WEP Key

   

NOTE: 5/13/16/29 characters are needed for 64/128/152/256-bit WEP

Custom Phrase

 

Character Count

 

   

Generated Key

 

ASCII

 

HEX

 


Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
Last updated: Nov 11th 2005
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