Question about WEP and passwords

Discussion in 'Apple' started by Keeper of the Purple Twilight, Aug 18, 2004.

  1. I found this page on Apple's support site. It explains how different
    manufacturers of wireless products use different 'hashing' methods to
    create hex passwords (for WEP) and suggests using characters of a
    certain length. Here is the page:

    http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=108058

    Basically, it suggests that if you create a password of exactly 13
    characters (if using 128-bit WEP) or 5 characters (if 64-bit), then you
    don't have to worry if you're entering an "alphanumeric" or "hex" key.
    (For wireless products, when you're entering a WEP password, most
    products ask you if you're entering an alphanumeric key or a hex key.
    This page suggests that, if you use a password of the length that it
    suggests, you could enter the same password as alphanumeric or hex.)

    Am I getting close to the truth here?
     
    Keeper of the Purple Twilight, Aug 18, 2004
    #1
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  2. Keeper of the Purple Twilight

    r5 Guest

    If you entered a 13-digit password in a 3rd party router, you
    can still use the 26-digit hex code (preceded by the $-sign)
    when setting up your airport client.
     
    r5, Aug 19, 2004
    #2
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  3. No. Each character of an alphanumeric key corresponds to two digits of
    a hex key. A 128-bit key requires 104 user-supplied key bits, which
    corresponds to 26 hex digits or 13 alphanumeric characters.

    The point of the article is that many manufacturers allow you to enter
    an alphanumeric key shorter than the required length; e.g. if you're
    using 128-bit WEP, you could enter a 10-character alphanumeric key. The
    system will perform a hash to get an equivalent 13-character key. The
    problem is that different manufacturers may use different hash
    mechanisms; so if you enter that 10-character password on the computer
    and the router, they may treat them differently and you won't get a
    connection.

    Some simple hash functions that might (but probably aren't) used would
    be to fill out the password with a simple character sequence. E.g. one
    manufacturer could treat "shortpass" as "shortpassXXXX", while another
    might treat it as "shortpassABCD".

    By entering all 13 characters, you'll avoid this type of
    incompatibility, since all the devices will treat the password the same.
     
    Barry Margolin, Aug 19, 2004
    #3
  4. Now this is where things start to get really weird. Understand that,
    even if what I'm about to say, does not make a ton of sense, this is
    what I did, and it works this way:

    I entered my password, a 26-digit code, *as an alphanumeric password*.
    That's what I did on every wireless thing I have: my iMac, my cable
    modem (Toshiba PCX5000), printer (HP DeskJet 5850), and my TiVo. They
    all accepted the code and work with it. The computer doesn't ask
    whether or not the code I'm entering is alphanumeric or hex, but the
    TiVo, cable modem, and printer all do, and I told them all it was an
    alphanumeric code - and that worked.

    As for the AirPort, I entered that same code as both an alphanumeric
    and a hex, and NEITHER of them worked.
     
    Keeper of the Purple Twilight, Aug 19, 2004
    #4
  5. Then I wonder why most of my stuff lets me enter a 26-digit
    alphanumeric code...
     
    Keeper of the Purple Twilight, Aug 19, 2004
    #5
  6. Keeper of the Purple Twilight

    Rick Jones Guest

     
    Rick Jones, Aug 19, 2004
    #6
  7. That may very well be. I don't suppose there's any way to find out if
    this is what they're doing? (I had assumed that if I entered a code
    that was too long, it would be rejected)
     
    Keeper of the Purple Twilight, Aug 19, 2004
    #7
  8. How do I find out the equivalent hex version of an alphanumeric key?
     
    Keeper of the Purple Twilight, Aug 19, 2004
    #8
  9. If the alphanumeric key is 13 characters long, it's just the character
    codes. I'm sure there are plenty of web sites that have ASCII character
    charts that show all the character codes in decimal, octal, and hex.
     
    Barry Margolin, Aug 19, 2004
    #9
  10. Keeper of the Purple Twilight

    David C. Guest

    If your string is larger than necessary, it will be "hashed" down to
    a shorter length. Perhaps by truncating the end, maybe by truncating
    the beginning, or maybe with something else.

    -- David
     
    David C., Aug 19, 2004
    #10
  11. If your string is larger than necessary, it will be "hashed" down to
    a shorter length. Perhaps by truncating the end, maybe by truncating
    the beginning, or maybe with something else.[/QUOTE]

    I see. Well, I changed to a different alphanumeric password, which is
    exactly 13 characters long, and this seems to work. Maybe I'll give
    the Airport Express another chance...
     
    Keeper of the Purple Twilight, Aug 19, 2004
    #11
  12. Keeper of the Purple Twilight

    Kyle Jones Guest

    In fact, such a chart is on his system. See /usr/share/misc/ascii .
     
    Kyle Jones, Aug 19, 2004
    #12
  13. Keeper of the Purple Twilight

    Jeff Wiseman Guest

    This may be just off the wall, but do you actually have
    encryption turned on? Many systems allow you to set the key even
    if WEP is not enabled and using it.

    - Jeff
     
    Jeff Wiseman, Aug 19, 2004
    #13
  14. Found it! Thanks very much.

    Now if only I could actually get my hands on another Airport Express
    itself, I'm set. :)

    One other question: If I'm entering a hex password like this, must I
    use the Airport Admin Utility (on the brand-new straight-outta-the-box
    Express), or can I enter a hex password via the Setup Assistant?
     
    Keeper of the Purple Twilight, Aug 21, 2004
    #14
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