TKIP (Temporal Key Integrity Protocol)

Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) is a security protocol used in the IEEE 802.11 wireless networking standard. TKIP was designed by the IEEE 802.11i task group and the Wi-Fi Alliance as an interim solution to replace WEP without requiring the replacement of legacy hardware. This was necessary because the breaking of WEP had left Wi-Fi networks without viable link-layer security, and a solution was required for already deployed hardware. However, TKIP itself is no longer considered secure, and was deprecated in the 2012 revision of the 802.11 standard.

Technical Details

TKIP and the related WPA standard implement three new security features to address security problems encountered in WEP protected networks. First, TKIP implements a key mixing function that combines the secret root key with the initialization vector before passing it to the RC4 cipher initialization. WEP, in comparison, merely concatenated the initialization vector to the root key, and passed this value to the RC4 routine. This permitted the vast majority of the RC4 based WEP related key attacks. Second, WPA implements a sequence counter to protect against replay attacks. Packets received out of order will be rejected by the access point. Finally, TKIP implements a 64-bit Message Integrity Check (MIC).

To be able to run on legacy WEP hardware with minor upgrades, TKIP uses RC4 as its cipher. TKIP also provides a rekeying mechanism. TKIP ensures that every data packet is sent with a unique encryption key.

Key mixing increases the complexity of decoding the keys by giving an attacker substantially less data that has been encrypted using any one key. WPA2 also implements a new message integrity code, MIC. The message integrity check prevents forged packets from being accepted. Under WEP it was possible to alter a packet whose content was known even if it had not been decrypted.

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