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Difference Between WEP Open and WEP Shared

WEP Open vs WEP Shared

WEP, which stands for Wired Equivalent Privacy, is one of the protection mechanism set in place to make WiFi more secure. With WEP, there are two authentications methods that users can choose from, Open and Shared. The main difference between the two is the actual conduct of the authentication. Shared actually does an actual authentication while open automatically authenticates any client regardless of whether he actually has the correct WEP keys.

In WEP shared, a client initiates the connection by requesting authentication from the access point, which then sends out a clear text challenge. The client needs to encrypt the clear text then send it back to the access point. The access point decrypts the encrypted message and compares it to the clear text it sent out. If the two matches, the authentication succeeds and the client is connected. With WEP open, there is no challenge and clear text. The request of the client is automatically authenticated and connected. Using WEP open doesn’t really mean that anyone can openly use the network. Even if they manage to connect to the network, they still need to have the WEP keys since it is used to encrypt all the traffic and the client will not be able to decrypt that without the appropriate WEP keys.

By the way that the two are structured, you are likely to believe that WEP shared is more secure since it does the challenge to confirm that the client actually has the correct keys; this is not really the case. WEP shared is a bit weaker than WEP open because the way the challenge mechanism works makes it easier for clients to figure out the WEP key. It just needs to collect enough challenge frames in order to derive the WEP key.

It is worth noting that WEP is the most insecure security algorithm for WiFi. With the right tools and knowledge, any WEP network can be hacked within a matter of minutes. There are many ways to secure individual connections; i.e. using secure protocols like SSL or SSH. But the best way to solve this problem is to utilize another security algorithm known as WPA. It is much harder, and in instances impossible, to crack and restores the security of the access point as a whole.


1.WEP Shared performs and authentication method while WEP Open does not
2.WEP Open is more secure than WEP Shared

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