Researchers at the Technische Universitat Darmstadt have found a way to crack 104-bit WEP, a typical security tool for 802.11b/g/n networks. The team used a 1.7GHz Pentium-M machine to compute the success rate of grabbing the key. The attack needs sufficient traffic, so the researchers made the protected network generate packets. At 40,000 packets, the probability of extracting the key is at 50 percent. This could go up to 80 percent with an additional 20,000 packets, and rise to 95 percent when traffic involves 95,000 packets. Hitting 95 percent, based on the experiment, would only take 1 minute and 51 seconds.
Because of WEP’s vulnerabilities, it is recommended that wireless network owners opt for WPA2, which is yet to be cracked by any known cryptographic attacks. The mechanism also provides support for infrastructure and ad-hoc networks, and includes pre-authentication and CCMP encryption features.