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Shared key authentication (SKA) is a verification method in which a computer or terminal uses the Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) protocol to access a wireless network. It pre-establishes that a requesting system has knowledge of a shared secret key required for authentication.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11 standard assumes that the key is delivered to wireless clients using a secured channel that is independent of the standard. In practice, the user simply types in the password for the Wi-Fi network in order to gain access.
Shared key authentication (SKA) is not considered a secure method of granting network access because it uses conventional unsecured channels, like writing and verbal exchange, to share a security key for granting access.
Although the dissemination of the key is a large security issue, the authentication itself is secured using 64 or 128-bit encryption. It is difficult for an intruder to gain access without knowledge of the key.
SKA employs the following steps: