Can I Find My WiFi Encryption Key from a Machine That’s Online?

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I took a little trip to my sister’s house a few weeks ago and I needed to get some work done. I whipped out my HP 2510P Tablet and proceeded to connect to their wireless network named ever so cleverly… “TheInternet”.

So when I saw the custom name on their router’s SSID, I figured someone configured it and could give me the WEP key. I asked and I was met with a dead stare.

“What’s a WEP? Is that like a USB?”

“It’s the password you set when you set up the router”

“What’s a router?”

Are you sure you are really my sister?”

Have you had this scenario happen to you? You have one machine online and want to bring another one up and you have no idea what your key is? I can’t say I have done this personally but I see it happen on a daily basis around the office. Don’t get me wrong this IS a security risk to your key but if your machine is locked up when not in use you should be ok! Don’t tell my IT buddies I told you about it though – I would probably get kicked out of the Admin’s club :(.

The freeware we are looking at today is called WirelessKeyView from Nirsoft. WirelessKeyView finds ANY wireless network keys (WEP/WPA) stored on your machine. This includes keys stored by the ‘Wireless Zero Configuration’ service of Windows XP and by the ‘WLAN AutoConfig’ service of Windows Vista. In other words it will work on XP or Vista (XP requires you have the KB918997 update installed) It does not matter which flavor of 802.11 you are using. This app will retrieve any Wireless Key stored.

(The image below was used directly from the NirSoft website as I am not about to share my WEP’s with the general public for obvious reasons!)

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Once you have found your keys, WirelessKeyView allows you to export them to an HTML or TXT file as well as copy them to the clipboard for some easy pasting action;

Alrighttty then, let’s get back to getting my tablet online.

I walked over to my sister’s laptop which was already on line via WiFi. I browsed on over to the NirSoft website; which makes some really cool free software. (I have used lots of their products before to recover all sorts of office document passwords) Now upon firing up their “Wireless Key View” i instantly saw her WEP passcode. It was a computer generated strange looking password, I might add!

Now I popped that key into my tablet and back to blogging working I go.

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