Saturday, May 21, 2022

Windows 11 will block WEP and TKIP Wi-Fi connections

Windows 11 will soon block Wi-Fi connections to networks running the ancient WEP and TKIP security protocols, according to a Microsoft blog posted on Feb. 16.

“TKIP and WEP are deprecated security standards and Windows 11 will no longer allow connections to those types starting with this build [Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22557]. Contact your network administrator or update your router to one that supports at least WPA2 (WPA3 is the current standard).”

Microsoft had deprecated WEP and TKIP in 2019. Accessing networks with these security protocols triggered a warning message but Windows still allowed the connection. That will no longer be the case once the features in this Insider preview make their way into the release build. Windows 11 will completely reject the connection if it detects a deprecated security protocol.

This change will likely only impact users with dated network hardware. Most routers and access points purchased in the past ten years use WPA2 or WPA3 protocols as the default and are unaffected by this change.

Released in 1997, the Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) protocol’s insecurity was well-documented through a number of exploits, attacks and breaches throughout the 2000s, and was superseded by the Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) protocol released in 2004. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) subsequently deprecated WEP in 2004. By 2016, only 2.66 per cent of Wi-Fi hotspots were using WEP, according to Kaspersky.

TKIP, or the Temporal Key Integrity Protocol, was used by the first WPA protocol and aimed to rectify some of the most damaging WEP vulnerabilities. It introduced a new key mixing function and protection against replay attacks. Ultimately, TKIP was more of an update to the WEP protocol rather than a new one. The key motivation was to have it run on WEP-capable devices without having to upgrade the hardware. IEEE deprecated TKIP in January 2009.

Microsoft also announced a number of other changes to Windows 11 in the build, including the requirement for the use of a Microsoft Account in setting up Windows 11 Pro. However, the presence (or removal) of a feature in an Insider build does not guarantee that it will move into production builds.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Tom Li
Tom Li
Telecommunication and consumer hardware are Tom's main beats at IT World Canada. He loves to talk about Canada's network infrastructure, semiconductor products, and of course, anything hot and new in the consumer technology space. You'll also occasionally see his name appended to articles on cloud, security, and SaaS-related news. If you're ever up for a lengthy discussion about the nuances of each of the above sectors or have an upcoming product that people will love, feel free to drop him a line at tli@itwc.ca.

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