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WEP Key Generator Utility for Wi-Fi Networks

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WEP Key Generator Standard (up to 2 wireless access points)
WEP Key Generator Professional (unlimited number of wireless access points)

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Why do you NEED this tool?

The short answer...
There are millions of 802.11b Wi-Fi wireless access points and other devices installed in homes and small businesses around the world.  Until now, there really hasn't been an easy way to manage the security of these devices. 

The Wi-Fi WEP Key Generator Utility is used to quickly and easily create more secure WEP keys than can be created by using the built in passphrase generators contained in Wi-Fi networking equipment.

In a nutshell, a WEP key is a 'token' of hexadecimal characters (from 40-bit to 256-bit, depending upon the equipment manufacturer, that provides an encryption key for data on your Wi-Fi network. 

Up until recently, the technology required to crack WEP keys has not been readily available.  Now there are several tools available that allow hackers to crack WEP keys with far less effort.  

if you have a wireless network, you need to change your WEP (Wired Equivalency Privacy) keys often. This tool makes it easy and convenient to keep your Wi-Fi wireless network more secure. Wi-Fi WEP Key Generator runs under Windows 98/98se/NT/2000/XP.

The Wi-Fi WEP Key Generator Utility also allows you to create WEP keys that work between manufacturers.  Now you can use D-Link with Linksys with Netgear with Belkin with SMC, etc. and maintain your wireless networking security without worrying about equipment WEP key incompatibilities.

The longer answer...
Wireless networking has become increasingly popular over the past couple of years. 802.11b (or g) wireless access points and broadband router / switches, commonly known as Wi-Fi, can be found nearly everywhere these days.  Home, small to medium sized businesses and local government networks are popping up all over the place.

While these networks are fairly easy to set up, they do have their drawbacks. Out of the box they are just not very secure. There are several things you can do to increase the security of your wireless network, but in many cases most of these networks are administered by individuals who are not professional network administrators. 

Most people will only have one wireless network to worry about, while there are increasing numbers of people who must manage and keep track of security for several wireless networking installations, sometimes under the same roof. Whether you are managing one wireless network or a thousand, this utility will be one tool you will not be able to do without.

The WEP Key Generator Utility was born out of my necessity to more effectively manage my wireless network (and networks belonging to my local consulting clients). 

There is a multitude of wireless networking equipment manufacturers and it is impossible to keep all of the setup parameters in your head. Some companies support ASCII passphrases as well as HEX, some equipment comes with passphrase key generators built in and others do not.  I am sure you will find the WEP Key Generator as useful as I have in the short time I have been using it.

Why do you want THIS tool?

WEP Key Generator - main window image
WEP Key Generator Utility main screen

As you can see from the screenshot above, you have the ability of keeping track of more than one wireless router or access point.  Often times you will need a particular piece of information pertaining to your router and having a central repository for this information makes your task of managing your wireless network much easier.

Most of the parameters you will usually need are displayed on the main screen of the utility. All you have to do is select the particular wireless router in question and you will be immediately presented with the information you need. IP addresses, MAC identifiers, DNS settings, it's all here.

When you are adding the wireless router record to the database you can connect directly to the router (provided you have the administrator id and password) by clicking on the "Connect" button located beside the LAN IP address for the router. 

This will allow you to easily navigate through the router configuration pages and provide easy access to the information in the router so you can copy and paste into the various fields to record the router parameters. 

The WEP Key Generator Utility does NOT automatically connect to the router unless you click the "Connect" button and you have the administrator id and password for the router.  It also does not automatically update the WEP key or SSID settings in the router. You will need to do this manually via copy and paste.

WEP Key - Entry form for router and network parameters
Example of network parameters being entered.

The main focus of this utility is to assist you in managing your wireless security. 

As wireless networks become more popular, more and more people are finding ways to enter your network without your knowing about it.  There are several steps you need to take in order to ensure your wireless network is as secure as possible.

We have built in some capabilities that greatly enhance the security of your wireless network. 

First, and perhaps most important is your SSID.  The SSID allows wireless equipment to differentiate between networks. The SSID of the wireless access point or router must be identical with that of the client wireless adapter settings. 

One drawback of the SSID is that most wireless equipment comes, by default, configured to broadcast the SSID to the world. This lets everyone know you have a wireless network available in your general vicinity.  This is a much debated issue and you should know that if you elect to turn off broadcasting your SSID, your wireless transactions will take longer for the router or access point to process.

Most people who set up the SSID use a short, easy to remember name for their network.  The specification for the SSID allows for up to 32 characters, however it is extremely rare for anyone to use an SSID this long. The reason... it's just too hard to remember one longer than 7 or 8 characters. 

With the WEP Key Generator, you don't have to.  To generate a more secure SSID, all you have to do is enter the simple SSID name you can remember and then press the Scramble SSID button to create an SSID number of specially encrypted letters and numbers.  This is the SSID you will post into your wireless network equipment settings.

WEP Key - Entry form for wireless parameters
Example of WEP parameters being entered

Next, we have the Wired Equivalency Privacy protocol method of security.

There are several implementations of WEP and their different naming conventions do nothing but confuse people who are trying to implement WEP:

WEP Encryption
Name
Hexadecimal Characters Data
Byte Length
64 bit (40 bits) 10 5
128 bit (104 bits) 26 13
(152 bits) 38 19
256 bit (232 bits) 58 29

You can use 64 bit, 128 bit, 152 bit and 256 bit  encryption to protect your transmissions.  Most people forego the use of 64 bit encryption and opt for the more secure 128 bit or higher methods. 

While the 64 bit implementation of WEP is part of the official standard, you should be aware that the 128 bit (and higher) implementations are not officially recognized and vary widely between manufacturers.  Using our Wi-Fi WEP Key Generator Utility, you can generate keys for any of the above bit lengths and at the same time, enhance compatibility between equipment provided by different vendors.

What is the benefit to you?

There are literally millions of older Wi-Fi equipment installations that cannot benefit from the newer WPA wireless protection encryption algorithms. Primarily because the equipment manufacturers have abandoned the equipment and no longer provide updated drivers / firmware upgrades.

Some manufacturers build what are known as 'passphrase generators' into their equipment. This basically allows the user to enter an easily remembered phrase and the equipment generates the WEP key based upon an algorithm built into the equipment... and there lies the rub.

Every manufacturer seems to do it a bit differently, if they do it at all.  There doesn't seem to be any kind of standard toward implementing WEP.  This creates lots of problems when you are trying to connect devices from various manufacturers because the results from their built in passphrase generators are different across devices.

With the WEP Key Generator Utility, you can generate keys based on a passphrase that is compatible with all wireless systems because all wireless network systems must support hexadecimal based keys.

Instead of using the passphrase generator that is built into the router, or your wireless card on your laptop or PDA, you use the WEP Key Generator utility to generate the WEP keys and manually enter them into your wireless router settings and wireless network adapters.

As you can imagine, this greatly simplifies the implementation of equipment from different manufacturers.   Now you can easily use Orinoco, Netgear, and D-Link wireless cards with a Linksys, SMC or Belkin router / switch and not have to worry that one manufacturer uses ASCII based WEP keys and the other doesn't support it. You are not limited in your choice of equipment by brand.

Not only do we support creating a key with a passphrase, we also have created a way to generate WEP keys based upon any particular file on your computer.

That's right.  You can now generate a key based upon your resume, or even an image of your favorite pet.  Simply select the file and click on the "Calculate WEP Key File" button. Keys are created automatically.  This keeps someone from typing in passphrases trying to guess your WEP keys.

The Wi-Fi WEP Key Generator allows you to more effectively manage the security of your Wi-Fi network and extend the life of your existing equipment.  It is important that you change the WEP keys used in your Wi-Fi devices often. 

The 'truth' about WEP cracking.

First, you need to understand that achieving complete security is impossible. This is especially true with consumer grade wireless networks. The best that you can do is make it as difficult as possible for someone who wants to get into your network to do so. 

It is true that WEP encryption has been 'cracked', however it takes someone who is pretty skilled and can capture a several million packets from your network traffic to actually enter a network at random.  This takes time to do and isn't, as the hype in the media would have you believe, instantaneous. 

Cracking WEP is not a trivial task, and if you secure your network with strong WEP and SSID keys, it is far more likely that anyone wanting to leech bandwidth will move on to a network that is less secure.

Getting from here to 'there'...

Distributing new WEP keys is easy. With the Print WEP Fax Report feature you can print a hardcopy report to fax to everyone who needs to be updated with the new WEP key information. You can also scan the hardcopy and email it as a graphics attachment to provide a more secure method of distributing them than sending them in a plain text email message.

The WEP Key Fax report features the WEP keys printed in a FIXED PROPORTIONAL font to allow for easy reading when entering the WEP key into your Wi-Fi devices.

facsimile report image showing wep key distribution
Example of the WEP Key Fax Report faxed to www.K7.net and received via email.

Other hard copy reports include printing of all router information for every record in the database and printing a single record as highlighted in the list of routers on the main screen.

Soon there will also be a WEP Key Generator client module (at a small per client purchase price) that will allow you to  communicate between the WEP Key Generator utility and the computers on your wireless network. You will have the option of transferring your WEP keys to the remote devices (you will still have to enter them into the wireless network settings manually, the client will just make the data easier for you to get to the computer).

It's EASY to use!

Step 1. Start the program and click on the Add / Edit Router button to enter new wireless networking parameters. 

Be sure to enter as much information as possible. This will become very handy later on. Once you have entered the LAN IP address, you can click on the "Connect" button to launch the router configuration in the lower half of the entry form in order to cut and paste the router parameters into the entry fields on the form.

Required fields are LAN IP Address, LAN subnet mask, domain name and SSID. If you want to keep track of non-Wi-Fi equipment, make sure you enter the word "None" in the SSID field. 

If your router does not support the use of a domain name, simply enter a uniquely identifiable word here such as "Home", "Work" or "Office" into this field. It's primary use is for sorting entries in the list to group them together so you can identify which wireless access points belong to a particular network.

Step 2. Enter your desired SSID and click on the Scramble SSID button to generate a more secure SSID.  This feature allows you to mask your network's identity.  Having an SSID that is scrambled will alert most people who are trying to access Wi-Fi networks that you take your network security serious.

Step 3. Enter a passphrase into the passphrase field OR select any file from your computer by clicking on the ellipsis button next to the WEP Key File entry field to generate a series of WEP keys you can use.  Click on the "Calculate WEP Keys" button to generate the new WEP keys.  Be sure to select which key will  be 'Active'. 

Step 4. Save the record and return to the main screen. Now you can implement your new scrambled SSID and WEP keys. Simply click on the buttons to copy each of them to the Windows clipboard and paste into your wireless router or client card setup screens. 

You can even print out the settings in the event you have to take them with you or give them to one of your network users to configure their wireless network cards. Or you can print a Fax report to send to other users who might currently be away from your network.

NOTE: Do NOT use the passphrase generator on your Wi-Fi client  adapter to generate your key.  Use the manual entry method and input the WEP key you generated with the WEP Key Generator utility.

Version History:

3/23/2005 - 2.2 Added fields to store the port number for connection parameters to the router for LAN and remote WAN connection to facilitate administration of the router.  Added fields for storing the fax number related to each network domain and modified the FAX report to display the number for each page to be sent.

1/21/2005 - 2.1 Added the ability to right click copy and paste to and from entry fields in the Router Update form to make it easier to transfer information to and from the router.

1/20/2005 - 2.1 Added the ability to log into the highlighted router by clicking on the connect button. The user id and password is automatically passed to the router to bypass the prompt dialog that would be normally presented to the user.  This is an advanced security feature and should not be used unless it is necessary.

8/31/2004 - 2.0 Added additional data fields to keep track of WPA settings for routers that are WPA capable.  WPA Active, WPA Shared Key, IEEE 802.1x authentication, Authentication Key and Encryption algorithm.

8/23/2004 - 2.0 The WEP Key Generator Utility is no longer free.  Although it has been very popular as a free product, I simply cannot afford to continue to host the files for free any longer. See the FAQs for more information

NOTE: There are now two (2) different versions of the WEP Key Generator Utility.  One is the WEP Key Generator and the other is the WEP Key Generator Pro Utility. The only difference between the two versions is the Pro version allows you to manage more than 2 wireless access points.

Added eSellerate integrated shopping cart to allow easy purchase of the WEP Key Generator Utility. 

Added product registration and unlock code routines.  Both versions have a 10 day free trial period, more than sufficient to evaluate whether you can use the product for your purposes.

5/19/2004 - 1.9 Added another field to the database called Comm Start Date which is the date communications will start for posting to the secure web site to the WEP Key Generator client.  I also modified the error checking routines for Comm Lead Days, and Effective date to make entry of these items a bit more flexible and self-correcting.  If you make an error during entry, the values will be defaulted to a known good value. 

This should be the last modification to the database structure until the Options are modified to encompass the communications parameters needed for the WEP Key Client.

5/17/2004 - 1.8 Rewrote router record editing form to correct an intermittent problem with saving the record.  Modified the orientation of screen fields and buttons.  Moved several code blocks to local routines instead of mainline code.

Added background coloring to required fields in the entry form.

5/16/2004 - 1.7 Added new fields to the database to allow the entry of the firmware version of the router / access point, the communications lead days, the effective date and the expiration period for the WEP keys to be implemented. 

The communications lead days is based upon the Communications Lead Days settings in the Options settings. The value in the settings is the default setting and can be overridden in the actual data record for the router.  The default setting is 3 days. 

This value will be used in conjunction with the WEP Key Generator client module to determine the number of days allowed for communications of the new WEP key prior to the effective date and the expiration date.

The effective date is based upon the Communications Lead Days in the data record and is calculated by using Options settings.

The effective date for a new record is calculated with TODAY( ) + Communications Lead Days.

The Expiration Date is now based upon the Effective Date + Expiration Period.   The default Expiration Period is stored in the Options settings and may be overridden in each record.

As an example, if you wanted to make the new WEP key effective 3 days from now, the Communications Lead Days setting would be 3 and when a new record is added, the Effective Date would be 3 days from today. The Expiration Period is used to calculate the Expiration Date and would be Effective Date + Expiration Period.

This gives you a period of time prior to activating the new WEP keys so you can communicate the new keys to the clients prior to making the change to the network. 

There has been extensive error checking implemented in the entry of Communications Lead Days, Effective Date, Expiration Period and Expiration Date fields.  I am sure you will find it to be very flexible to use and you should not be able to make a mistake in scheduling the deployment of WEP keys. 
NOTE: If you have existing data records in the database, you will need to enter the Expiration Date first, then the Effective date (make it a few days in advance, then the Communications Lead Days.  Then you should be able to save the record.

Modified the main screen to eliminate confusion for users in terms of which WEP key is active and whether DHCP is enabled or disabled on the router.  Also modified the Router Entry form to blank the DHCP Range Start field IP address if the DHCP Enabled check box is cleared.

Modified the Channel drop list to support Chan. 12 - 14 used in Europe and Japan.

Modified all reports to reflect the additional fields as necessary.

5/15/2004 - 1.5 Modified the 'Copy Scrambled SSID to Clipboard' and 'Copy Active WEP Key to Clipboard' buttons to ensure that only the actual correct number of characters are placed in the Windows clipboard. 

A user reported that some wireless equipment does not fully support the standards for SSIDs and would only accept 31 characters.  There is a possibility that what actually happened was the end of string terminator for the field was copied to the clipboard along with the complete length of the string. This would result in 33 characters being pasted into the entry field of the wireless device rather than the maximum allowed 32. To prevent this from happening, since I could not duplicate the problem, the modification was made to ensure the terminator does not get copied to the clipboard.

Also, the URL for this web page has changed. It can now be accessed via http://www.wepkeygenerator.com as well as http://www.clariondeveloper.com/wepgen

5/13/2004 - 1.4 Modified the WEP key encryption algorithm slightly to allow a user selectable option for the 'seed' value.  There are now three choices, Random, Static or Custom.  (This modification was as a result of discussions and feedback from the Pocket PC Magazine forums.)

The random choice allows for the use of a constantly changing seed value based upon the system clock. The static choice uses the SSID as entered into the router record.  The custom choice allows the user to input a 'seed' passphrase of up to 32 characters long.  The impact of this modification is:

Random - Best level of security. WEP key cannot be 'reproduced' by another machine running the WEP key generator.
This option provides the best security and is useful for users who use desktop and laptop computers that can run the WEP Key Generator client (soon to be released).  If you are using handheld computers, such as Pocket PC or PalmOS based devices, you will have to manually distribute and / or enter the WEP keys as they are released.

Custom - Moderate level of security.  If someone knows your custom seed value and your WEP passphrase they can duplicate your WEP key. 
This is  useful in the situation where you need to be able to reliably generate WEP keys for devices like PDA's or other devices and you want a higher level of security (using the soon to be released WEP Key Generator clients). This makes it possible to generate a WEP key on Pocket PC or PalmOS devices (when the client for the specific hardware is released).

Static - Lowest level of protection. If someone knows your SSID, and WEP passphrase, they can duplicate your WEP key.
This is  useful in the situation where you need to be able to reliably generate WEP keys for devices like PDA's or other devices (using the soon to be released WEP Key Generator clients). This makes it possible to generate a WEP key on Pocket PC or PalmOS devices (when the client for the specific hardware is released).

5/2/2004 - Added a "Connect to Router" button to the main window to make it easier to manage the router parameters. 

Added an instructional message when the 'Copy WEP Key to Clipboard' and 'Copy Scrambled SSID to Clipboard' buttons are pressed.

Added WEP Fax report to allow for the distribution of WEP key change information via a 'lower tech' method.  Sending it via facsimile allows for better security than email when you need to distribute sensitive information.

5/1/2004 - 1.3 Added functionality to display color attributes for Expiration Date field in Router list to identify WEP keys that must be changed within a certain number of alert days. The option for Alert Days is user configurable and the default setting is 7 days.

Added a field to the database structure to store the name of the physical location of the router.

Modified the algorithm used to create the WEP keys by using a constantly changing 'seed'. This should be the last modification needed to the encryption / generation algorithm.

Here's how the WEP keys are produced.  First, I obtain an MD5 signature on either the key file selected or the passphrase that is manually entered. If a key file is selected from the hard disk, the passphrase is the MD5 signature of the key file. If the passphrase is manually entered, I obtain an MD5 signature for that at the start of the generation algorithm.  Next, I return a value from the system clock in one hundredths of a second and calculate an MD5 signature on that value.  This gives us a possible 8,640,000 MD5 signatures to work with.

At this point we have either an MD5 signature for the passphrase and an MD5 signature for the clock value OR we have an MD5 signature of an MD5 signature (if a key file is chosen) and the MD5 signature for the clock value.  Next, each of these two values is merged into a 256 bit string value using alternating bytes from each MD5 signature.  Then, depending upon which WEP mode is selected, the string is 'sliced' to the appropriate byte length for the mode and the result is passed back to the database and displayed upon the screen.  

4/30/2004 - 1.2 Added functionality to support 152 and 256 bit WEP keys.
NOTE! - This required a change to the original algorithm used to generate keys. If you have keys in place, you will need to re-generate them even if you are using 64 or 128 bit WEP.
(This modification was requested by participants of the alt.internet.wireless USENET newsgroup. Thanks for the information. This newsgroup is HIGHLY recommended.)

Modified main screen to display a tool bar with browse navigation buttons.

4/29/2004 - 1.1 Added functionality to connect to the router in the router entry screen to provide easy access to the router parameters for the purpose of cutting and pasting data.
Modified file structures to provide field for administrator id to be stored in the database.
Modified file structures to allow for entry of multiple IP addresses of 192.169.1.1 with the uniqueness being constrained by the domain name.  You cannot have duplicate IP addresses within a domain. This modification simply makes it easy to keep you from entering duplicate IP addresses.

4/27/2004 - 1.0 Added functionality to sort records by Domain and Frequency / Channel.
This will provide a method to determine whether a conflict exists between devices Reformatted list box to accommodate additional fields. Added functionality to automatically update file structures.

4/26/2004 - 1.0 Added reporting capability to print a single record highlighted in the browse.

4/25/2004 - 1.0 Initial release.

FAQ:

Q. Why are there two separate versions of WEP Key Generator?
A. It's quite simple. Most people using this product would only have need to manage one or two wireless access points and do not have that many wireless clients to maintain. WEP Key Generator (standard) allows for the management of up to two WAPs, WEP Key Generator Pro, allows for the management of 1 to unlimited (virtually) WAPs and will also support the soon-to-be-released client module that will communicate WEP settings between the main program and wireless clients to make keeping the security settings on wireless clients up to date a no-brainer. 
WEP Key Generator is half the price of WEP Key Generator Pro. Since the majority of users would only have one or two WAPs we wanted to give you the option of buying the product at a lower price.

Q. Why isn't the WEP Key Generator Utility free anymore?
A. Unfortunately, as of 8/23/2004 it is no longer free. After many thousands of downloads my wife and I simply cannot afford the bandwidth charges.  We now must charge a reasonable price for the utility in order to cover our expenses for hosting.  We had originally relied on the goodness of people to provide a donation to help offset the cost of hosting the file, but to date have only had literally a handful of donations.

Just like millions of other programmers around the world, I have financial responsibilities like the mortgage, utilities, groceries, etc.  I am not trying to get rich and anyone who sells software on the Internet can tell you, it's a lot of work for the financial return. 

Why do I do it?  The simple answer is,  I am an older programmer who is disabled. It's pretty tough to find work at my age with the medical issues I have.  Most companies want to hire the kids getting out of college because they can get them on the cheap. They don't have families, mortgages and all of the other expenses that come with age.  Even though I haven't been able to find a programming job in a few years now, I still love to program. So, I decided that in order to keep my skills up, I would write some (what I think) are useful utilities and provide them for free or at a nominal cost. 

Q. What kind of technical support do I get?
A. You get the same level of commitment that is provided to our customers who have purchased our very popular firewall log reporting and analysis tools.  Since I am here at home all day (and most of the night) the most exciting things I get to do (besides spending time with Rita) are to answer email questions and watch TechTV, other than writing code.  If you have any questions about the utility, just with your questions and I'll be glad to answer them.

Q. Why do you charge for the WEP Key Generator Client?
A. The answer to this is pretty simple. Most people who use the utility only have a single wireless access point or router and a single client. As such, it's not difficult to manage the settings on a single device. For those people that require distribution of the wireless network settings to multiple devices, it is a cost effective means to get the data to the device. There is an additional cost to me in providing support for these users so it's only fair to charge for the client.

Q. I am using the WEP Key Generator Client but I don't have a web site to store the settings to update the clients?
A. No problem. For a small monthly subscription fee you can post your encrypted wireless security settings on our secure web server (which is only accessible by the WEP Key Generator client) to facilitate transfer to the clients.

Q. Are there any Wi-Fi devices that are not completely compatible with the WEP Key Generator Utility?
A. Unfortunately, not all vendors embrace quality the same way. The WEP Key Generator Utility is written to conform to the official Wi-Fi specification.
The following devices have known issues:

Wi-Fi Device Problem Workaround
SMC7004AWBR - Barricade
Runtime Code Version:
V1.42.005
Boot Code Version:
V1.20

 

 

SSID only accepts 31 characters in the router configuration page.

 

 

 

If using scrambled SSID, leave off the last character when entering the SSID.  NOTE: This will require you do the same for any other wireless devices you might have accessing this router.
     

WEP Key Generator Utility Box Image

 

See Leo Laporte's review of the WEP Key Generator on The Screensavers

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What's New?  Version:

2.2

Date:

03/23/2005

MD5 Signatures: Check MD5 with this tool

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WEP Key Generator Standard Edition (limited to two WAPs) Version: 2.2
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WEP Key Generator Pro Edition (unlimited WAPs) Version: 2.2
8C0C88665B169678BF11986D00A79643
 

New! Online Help Page and FAQ's
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Ben E. Brady - Brady & Associates, LLC.
Copyright � 2004 Brady & Associates, LLC.. All rights reserved.
Revised: 10/17/05