• It’s your Wi-Fi password protecting your Internet
  • WEP, WPA, WPA2, and WPA3 are the network security key types
  • Your choice of security key determines how safe your connection is

The Internet has changed how we access information and services, offering easy convenience. However, this technological progress has also led to an increase in cyber threats, ranging from personal data breaches to large-scale corporate attacks.

Fortunately, with greater awareness and the availability of digital security tools, you can protect yourself online. One such tool is a network security key, which helps secure your information and online activities. 

Essentially, your network security key is an encrypted way to protect your Internet connection; it’s your password to your Wi-Fi. 

Network security key: What it is & how it works 

When setting up your Wi-Fi or switching plans, you'll encounter the network security key, which enables you to access your network securely and prevent unauthorised access. 

This key is also used when joining public Wi-Fi networks, such as those in restaurants and airports, among other public places. While having a network security key can reduce the likelihood of cyber incidents, breaches can still occur, leading to various issues:

  • Network hacking: Attackers may target a network for various reasons, ranging from preventing access to exposing sensitive business data, causing disruption and inconvenience.
  • Compromised information: Without a network security key, personal information like addresses, passwords, and financial details can be compromised on unprotected networks. Using a network security key helps keep this information private.
  • Software and hardware hacking: Reports exist of large corporations, including banks and entertainment businesses, being hacked by groups that steal sensitive data and render the hardware unusable, leading to business disruptions and affecting consumer trust.

Types of network security key 

Over time, network security keys have evolved into various sophisticated types, each with its own unique functions. Understanding the type of network key your router uses is crucial for setup and issue resolution.

There are four primary types of network security keys:

WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy)

Developed in 1999, WEP was intended to provide wireless networks with security comparable to wired networks. Despite improvements in encryption (64- to 128- and 256-bit), WEP's security flaws became evident as computers became more powerful. 

WEP remains in use due to its compatibility with older devices, but it is the least secure option, leaving networks vulnerable to cyberattacks.

WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) and WPA2

Introduced in 2003, WPA addressed vulnerabilities in WEP networks. However, WPA still had issues, which were further resolved with the introduction of WPA2 in 2006. WPA2 uses the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), considered more secure than WEP and WPA. 

While WPA2 has vulnerabilities primarily in large business networks, it is the recommended choice for personal Wi-Fi networks due to its enhanced encryption and authentication.


WPA3, the latest Wi-Fi security protocol, is more secure than WPA2. It was released in 2018 to improve security for personal and enterprise networks. WPA3 addresses the KRACK vulnerability found in WPA2 in 2017. 

It offers stronger data encryption with unique encryption keys for each transmission. This makes it harder for attackers to decrypt intercepted data. WPA3 also uses the SAE protocol for AES, providing better protection against offline attacks. 

It improves defences against brute force attacks and dictionary attacks on Wi-Fi passwords and encryption keys.

Where to find your network security key

Finding your network security key depends on the type of key you're using. For default WEP keys, you'll typically find them on a piece of paper provided by the network owner along with the router. Default WPA/WPA2 keys are usually printed on a sticker on the side of your router.

When setting up your router, it's advisable to create a new password that's easier to remember. You can also change your Wi-Fi password at any time.

If you've forgotten your Wi-Fi password, don't worry. If your computer is already connected to the router, you can retrieve the password from there. This method works on both Mac and PC. Additionally, you can share access with others using Apple devices, whether it's a Mac or an iPhone.

Creating a strong network security password

Creating a strong password is crucial for maintaining network security, especially in today's digital world where most of our activities are conducted online.

Experts suggest that a strong password should possess the following qualities:

  • Be 12 characters or longer, as longer passwords are harder to crack.
  • Include a mix of numbers, letters, and symbols.
  • Avoid common substitutions, such as using "0" for "O" or "$" for "S."
  • Avoid using easy keyboard patterns like "asdfjkl," "qwerty," or sequential numbers like "123456."

One highly recommended method for creating a secure password is to use a random combination of words that are not typically associated with each other, or to use a simple sentence. 

For instance, "PeanutButterManPants" and "PutThatDownJordan" are both considered strong passwords. Adding numbers or symbols to these words can further enhance its strength, making them excellent defences against hackers.

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Your network security key plays a critical role in safeguarding your data from potential breaches. Just as you'd carefully select the best Wi-Fi plans, choosing a strong password is essential for keeping your information secure. 

If you need assistance in finding the right Wi-Fi plans, feel free to contact us at Compare Broadband.