Wi-Fi network security key: what is it and why is it needed?
Many internet users ask why you need a Wi-Fi network security key, what it is, how to find it, and how to change it if necessary. Knowing these nuances is extremely important because it allows you to protect yourself from hacking and potential loss of your confidential data.
Let’s look at each of the questions in detail.
Do you know all types of networks that exist today? Read the article Use It Right: What Are the 4 Types Of Network? and understand their main differences and how to use each of them.
What is a network security key?
In simple terms, a network security key is a password that is set by the owner of a Wi-Fi router or other access point for using the internet. The security of the network and its protection from outsiders depends on this code.
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The encryption type is set along with the key. It determines the complexity of the password and the degree of Wi-Fi protection from unauthorized users. The use of such a system eliminates the connection of outsiders, who will not know the wireless network security key unless the owner provides this information.
Why do you need a security code?
Every user should understand why they set a password and what functions it has. Installing the code has a number of goals:
- Protection of the network from unauthorized access and PC hacking.
- Preserving the connection speed that the provider gives you.
- Control of users who have access to the internet distributed by a specific device.
In other words, the password protects you from connections by unauthorized persons. As a result, the network is safe from hacking and from speed problems due to unauthorized persons using the network’s bandwidth.
What does the network security key look like?
The main requirement for a Wi-Fi password is reliability. The network administrator must come up with a combination of characters that will be difficult to crack using conventional descriptors.
What does the security key look like on the router? Basically, it is a set of alphanumeric characters. Their number depends on the type of encryption and the person who sets the password. To ensure proper reliability, 8-10 characters consisting of letters of different registers, numbers, and even special characters are enough.
Some people use their name, date of birth, or other simple words as a Wi-Fi code. This approach is high risk because such a password is easy to crack using special programs or even manually. Many still use simple keys in the form of eight digits from “1” to “8,” so even a schoolboy can hack such a Wi-Fi network.
Network security issues: Key types
Each of the key types has its particular purpose and usage aims.
- WEP is the oldest method of protection, which appeared in 1997 and is still used in older systems. It provides the lowest level of security.
- WPA is a more modern type of encryption, which eliminates a number of disadvantages of its predecessor. It provides a temporary key security protocol that protects the Wi-Fi system from hacking. In parallel, a system for checking messages for changes in information packets by hackers has been added.
- WPA2 is a more advanced secure access protocol that uses an improved encryption method. The method appeared in 2004 and is still used in routers manufactured since 2006.
- WPA3 is the newest technology that is installed in the “freshest” routers produced in 2019. This encryption guarantees maximum protection when using Wi-Fi on a public network. At this stage, it has just appeared, so consideration of WPA3 is not relevant yet.
In simple terms, the type of encryption affects the number of characters that can be set in the password. From the point of view of reliability, WEP is the weakest, so it is better to choose WPA2. This encryption is sufficient to protect your personal or public network. Please note that many routers support all types of encryption, so you need to make the right choice when configuring.
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How to find a Wi-Fi key
To connect to the wireless internet, you need to find out the wireless network security key on the router. There are several ways to do this: using your laptop, phone, or the router itself. Let’s look at these questions in more detail.
On a laptop
There is two working types: the built-in features of the operating system or special programs. The general instructions for Windows (with minor changes) look like this:
- Right-click on the wireless network image at the bottom right.
- Go to the Network and Sharing Center section.
- Go to the desired network and enter the menu.
- Click on Properties.
- Open the Security section and check the box that allows you to display hidden characters.
In a special column, you can view the wireless network security key on your computer or laptop. On Windows 7, you need to log in to your network, select Properties, and then in the Security section, check the box “display input characters.”
*Note: This method does not always work. In particular, in updated versions of Windows 10, you will not be able to see the Wi-Fi password.
On an iPhone
On an iPhone, there are many methods for finding the key. We’ll consider one of them.
If your phone is connected to Wi-Fi and you need to find out the security key to use the internet on other devices. In iOS 7, all password information can be accessed via the menu. For example, when you go to settings, log in to Safari and Passwords, you can view keys to Internet pages and accounts. But you won’t be able to find out the Wi-Fi code using the standard method (without a Mac). An alternative solution is to install the Wi-Fi Passwords tweak. After installing it, restart Springboard, open the utility, and view the security keys for all previously used Wi-Fi networks.
In the future, when setting a password for blocking and checking, use Touch ID technology. If this is not done, a person who finds the phone may gain access to your accounts and personal information for authorization.
On the router
Many people ask where to find the necessary key on the router. The answer is: nowhere. The router does not have a password to log in to Wi-Fi. It contains data for authorization in the device admin panel and no more. The rest of the information is set by the user. To get the necessary information, follow these steps:
- Open the browser.
- Enter the router address (indicated on the bottom of the product, or use 192.168.0.1).
- Enter your username and password.
Next, go to the section where the security key is located on the router and write down the data. Most often, you need to search for the Wi-Fi settings item.
How to increase a key’s security level?
- Set a strong password
For reliable protection, you should come up with a strong password for your network. For this you can use a special password generator.
Read the article Funny Passwords Ever Hacked and don’t make these mistakes when choosing a password to protect your network.
Also, think about a safe place to store the selected password. After all, storing it in your phone’s notes is also not the safest option. Google Docs, Notes, and Excel, are unsuitable because all these programs are easy to hack.
- Update your firewalls and antivirus software
Firewalls work to prevent unauthorized access to your network. In other words, they create an obstacle for all traffic, from which they choose what to block and what not to block.
Antivirus programs perfectly scan all files that come to your computer for viruses and malware. The first thing you should do is install an antivirus on your device. This way, you can protect your computer and the data stored on it.
We’ve collected all the types of malware you need to know in order to protect yourself from them. Read the article and know how to do this right.
- Choose reliable software
Reliable software will help you reduce the risk of possible cyber threats. In addition, you need to update it as early as possible so that it meets all current standards.
For example, you can enable automatic updates of your OS to protect yourself and your computer from hacking in time.
You can learn more working tips in the article Fully-Fledged Guide on Ways to Protect Your Data Online.