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Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) is a security protocol used in wireless networks and encrypts all transmissions. It can be used in three different levels of encryption: Off, 64-bit (same as 40-bit), or 128-bit.
However, WEP has several important weaknessess which makes it very easy to crack. For example, it is vulnerable against collision-based attacks, and the number of possible combinations is only 16.7 millon.
Still, WEP has been the major encryption technique in wireless networks for more than ten years.

Wi-Fi Protected Access, abbreviated WPA was designed to be a improved version of WEP, where the security flaws have been sorted out.
For example, WPA features improved data encryption through the temporal key integirty protocol, TKIP. Also, WPA supports a 48 bit initialization vector (IV), which means 500 trillion possible key combinations.

Advantages with WEP

- Easy to set up
- Passphrases can be used, which are easier to remember but less secure

Advantages with WPA

Significantly higher security:
- 48 bit IV instead of 24, which gives over 500 trillion possible key combinations.
- Better encryption methods
- Master keys are not used
- Improved key management
- Improved message integrity checking
- User authentication through EAP (Extensible authentication protocol)

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