The category of tools involved in head-on wireless encryption cracking specifically targets WEP and WPA-PSK. In the area of WEP cracking, tools include WEPCrack, Airsnort, Aircrack-ptw, and Aircrack-ng. All these tools rely on the attacker having to collect a sufficient number of WEP-encrypted data frames from the target wireless network in order to pass them to a cracker program such as Aircrack-ng. The amount of data frames required varies according to the cracking schema used. The newer Pychkine-Tews-Weinmann method only requires 40,000 to 80,000 frames whereas the older KoRek method in Aircrack-ng requires 500,000 to 1 million data frames.
For WPA-PSK cracking, these cracking tools rely on the PBKDF2 or Password-Based Key Derivation Function v2.0 mathematical formula where the master key used in the creation of session keys is generated by hashing the SSID and SSID length, as well as the passphrase to a 256-bit key. The derivation and establishment of the temporal session keys used for the actual data encryption is done via a four-way handshake, which can be easily sniffed by a wireless sniffer while an authorized client is trying to associate with the AP. After the four-way handshake is captured, an offline dictionary attack on the passphrase used can be employed. Examples of tools include Cowpatty and Aircrack-ng v0.7 and up.
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