Network Security Key plays a very important role in protecting Wi-Fi Network from malicious attacks. This post will discuss about what is a Network Security Key (Wi-Fi Password), it’s Types, How to find my Network Security Key on Computer Network/ Router. Post reading this post, we are sure that you will be competent enough to find and change your Wi-Fi passwords.
What is a Network Security Key
The Network Security Key (NSK) is familiar to us as the Wi-Fi Password or Wireless Network Password. It helps to connect number of devices to a Wireless Network. It is very important to protect the Network from intruders.
Fig. 1 – Introduction to Net Security Key
It is essential to realize that, if the network is not protected, then any person who gets access can send spam or perform illegal activities using your internet connection or monitor online activities. Data gets hacked and the Internet connection will also slow down due to unauthorized users.
To protect any wireless network, it is advisable to create a randomly long password or a Security Key (NSK). Long password makes it hard to hack into your network. If the network is secured, then the system or device will show password protected screen as shown in the Fig. 2.
Fig. 2 – Wi-Fi Password Protected Setup Screen
Types of Network Security Key
They are of three types namely:
- WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy)
- WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access)
- WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 2)
WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy)
Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) offers security through encryption keys. 40-bit key is used for encrypting the data between the router and computer. WEP keys are a string of hexadecimal values which uses the letters A through F and numbers from 0 through 9. “1A759C8FE2” represents WEP key. WEP-protected network can be easily hacked by using one of the software called as Aircrack-ng. Hence it has become obsolete.
WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access)
WPA is a security protocol developed for use in securing Wireless networks. It is similar to WEP but provides better security as it adopts AES (Advanced Encryption Standards) and TKIP Protocol (Temporal Key Integrity Protocol). The primary feature of WAP is message integrity verification to prevent the unauthorized user from modifying or getting messages.
WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 2)
Wi-Fi NSK encrypted with WPA2 are more secure and hard to hack. WPA2 uses CCMP instead of TKIP. (CCMP stands for Counter Mode Cipher Block Chaining Message Authentication Code Protocol). It provides end-to-end security and authentication.
Fig. 3 – Types of NSK
How to Find Network Security Key
It can be found in two ways as mentioned below:
- NSK for a New Router
- NSK for a System with Windows 10
How to Find Network Security Key for a New Router
The default Wireless Security Key for a new Router or Access Point is generally found on the device itself. A label on the back of the router displays “security key”, “WPA key”,”WEP key” or “passphrase.” This default key helps in connecting to the Wireless Network.
Once the default key is obtained, it is mandatory to change the Wi-Fi password as the wireless network is broadcasted to all the devices which are in the range of your device. Knowing the Routers IP address becomes a pre-requisite to change the Net Security Key.
Make a note of the Routers IP Address. Most of the Routers have the same IP i.e. 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1. Confirm the same with the details provided in the manual or can be checked on the Computer.
Steps to Follow to Check Router’s IP Address and Changing the Network Security Key:
- Right-click on start menu, select run and type cmd <enter>.
- Type ipconfig in the command box and press <enter>.
- Look for the line Default Gateway and the address displayed across it, is Router’s IP Address.
- Type the address that you found with ipconfig or 192.168.0.1 in the browser and press <enter>
- Login page of the Router is displayed on the screen.
- Enter the Login details as given in the manual.
- Search for Tab/Page which suggests Wireless, Wireless Security or Wireless Settings.
- Click/Select WPA/WPA2 accordingly.
- Change the password or key of the wireless network.
- Connect the devices with the new/changed password.
Fig. 4 – NSK on Router
How to Find Network Security Key for my Existing Router on Computer Network
Steps to Follow to find NSK with existing Router in a System with Windows 10 are:
- Right-click on the Start Menu.
- Context menu will be displayed.
- Click on Network Connections.
- Scroll and click on Network and Sharing Center.
- Click on Connections (Wireless network).
- Click on the Wireless Properties button.
- Select Security Tab.
- Masked password is displayed. By Selecting the “Show characters” checkbox, the Network Security Key is displayed.
Fig. 5 – NSK for Windows 10
Advantages of Network Security Key
The advantages include:
- Personal data of users will be safe.
- Network is secure and hence hacking is prevented.