Windows XP gets Wi-Fi security upgrade

One three letter acronym replaces another...
Written by Joe Wilcox, Contributor

One three letter acronym replaces another...

Microsoft has released a Windows XP update designed to enhance security for computers that connect to a wireless network. The software update would change how the operating system connects to 802.11/Wi-Fi networks and base stations. Under the older method, one encrypted key is used by everyone connecting to the wireless network. The update would provide a means of associating a separate key for each computer connecting to the network, a change that in theory should increase security. Businesses are increasingly concerned about wireless security, particularly since a breach through a single base station could expose an otherwise fortified network to infiltration by hacking or snooping. The update adds support for Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), which is intended to replace the current standard, Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP). WPA has been approved by the Wi-Fi Alliance, which is the group responsible for establishing standards governing wireless networking. "The weakness of WEP as part of the 802.11 standards has been clearly demonstrated," said Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg. "Since security remains one of the biggest inhibitors of Wi-Fi deployments, Microsoft felt the need to step in and offer an integrated OS alternative." Still, Gartenberg remained cautious about the WPA update. "Given Microsoft's track record on security, this initiative is going to require very careful scrutiny before most users will feel comfortable with deployment," he said. Joe Wilcox writes for News.com
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