What is my Network Security Key? Network security keys are network passwords that protects the access to a wireless network by unwanted users. More commonly, it is called the Wi-Fi password. Having a strong network security key is paramount for protecting your privacy. Anyone that can access your network, can also potentially access your personal information through it.
However, hard Wi-Fi passwords are also equally difficult to remember. If you want to learn how to find your network security key, here I have discussed the steps to do it.
What Is My Network Security Key?
The three most common type of security keys are Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) and WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 2). Let’s learn a little about them first.
1) WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy)
WEP is the older type of Wireless password. It allows exchange of encrypted messages among the devices connected to the network without being easily decoded by outsiders. The WEP only accepts a password made from numbers 0 to 9 and letters A to F.
The required WEP password length depends on the version of the WEP standard that the network runs on. These are the 3 WEP standards and their required password lengths:
- a) 40-bit or 64-bit: 10 digit key
- b) 104-bit or 128-bit: 26 digit key
- c) 256-bit: 58 digit key.
WEP keys long ago lost favor as a network security key as they are easy to crack.
2) WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access)
After WEP lost favor, WPA replaced it. It’s also an old network security type, around 16 years old. It brought many security features that the WEP lacked like using a fixed key system to encrypt wireless connection, the ability to check message integrity and Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP).
Even though WPA was more secure than WEP, it was deemed to be vulnerable to supplementary attacks. The WPA 2 has taken its place since 2012.
3) WPA 2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 2)
WPA 2 is currently used as the primary network security key after WPA was retired in 2012. It uses the AES algorithm, which is faster and more advanced than what was used in both WEP and WPA. Soon it is expected that the WPA 3 will replace the WPA 2 as it did to its predecessors.
How Do I Find My Network Security Key?
If you are setting up a new router or if you have forgotten the network security key of your old router, there are easy ways to find it. Here I have mentioned the ways on how to find the network keys on Windows 10 and Mac.
How to Find the Network Security Key on Windows 10
If you are connected to the Wi-Fi but don’t recall the network security key in Windows 10, you can find it out using the steps given below:
Note: You will need to be logged in as an Administrator to execute the following steps.
- Right-click on the Start button. This will open a menu.
- Click on the Network Connections option. The Network and Internet settings will appear on your screen.
- Scroll down and click on the Network and Sharing Center option.
- Click on the name of your Wi-Fi network to open its status window.
- Select the Wireless Properties option. This will open the Wireless Network Properties window.
- Click on the Security tab and check the Show characters box.
After you have completed the above steps, the network security key will be revealed.
How to Find the Network Security Key on a Mac
The same thing can be done on a Mac but with different steps. If you are a Mac user, follow the steps given below:
- Click on the Search icon and type ‘Keychain Access’.
- Select the top search result to open the Keychain Access screen.
- Click on the name of the Wi-Fi network and select the Show password option.
- The system will ask for your Mac password before it reveals the Network security key.
After you have entered the correct Mac password, the network security key will be revealed.
How To Find the Network Security Key On A Brand New Router?
If you have bought a brand new router or access point, you may be wondering where to find its network security key. Most likely the security is already printed on a label attached to the router. There are many labels with different codes and serial numbers, which may confuse you. Look for the following labels:
- Security Key
- Wireless Password
- WPA Key
Look under the router if there is no label on the device. Check the box and the manual if the label is not attached on the router.
How To Find the Network Security Key When Your PC Is Not Connected To The Wireless Network?
If you have forgotten you Wi-Fi password and your PC no longer remembers it, you can still find/change it by logging into the router’s configuration page. To do this, follow the steps given below:
- Type the IP address of your router in the address bar of your internet browser. You should find it written on the router. Look for “access URL” on the bottom or side of the device or check the box and manual.
- The login page will open. Enter the username and password of the router. It is generally ‘admin’ or ‘userAdmin’. If these don’t work, contact the router manufacturer or the ISP. Sometimes the login information is also found on the device, or in the manual of the device.
- After you have logged in, find the Wireless or Wireless Security section. The options may differ for different router models.
- The Wi-Fi password should be visible on your screen now. You can also change it from here.
So, there you have it. Now you have the answer to ‘What is my network security key’ and you should be able to find it easily using the above steps. If you have any questions regarding this topic, ask them in the comment section below.