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What Android networking protocols/encryption actively in use?

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by bazzaman, Jul 28, 2019.

  1. bazzaman

    bazzaman Newbie
    Thread Starter

    Can anyone shed some light please? I've been trying to find out what networking protocols (e.g. WPA, WPA2) and encryption standards (e.g. AES/CCMP, TKIP) are actually in active use on some Android devices.

    Firstly, all my Android devices are running on either 5.1 or 5.1.1.

    My router's WiFi is set-up to be “WPA2 only” (there is not an option to specify the encryption algorithm).

    I also have a WiFi extender (a Tenda A9) which does not have any facility to select any standards. The manufacturer's website states “WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK” and “TKIP algorithm”. Contradictorily, the PDF user guide downloaded from the site states "Mixed WPA/WPA2-PSK, AES to encrypt the WiFi network that ensures the security. Be compatible with the uplink device’s WiFi encryption type: None, WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK and Mixed WPA/WPA2-PSK" [sic].

    I've installed WiFiAnalyzer (open source) from VREM Software Development on the Android devices (I tried various similar apps and this one seemed to give the most comprehensive info).

    For the router (regardless of whether connected to the router or the extender) WiFiAnaylzer reported “[WPA2-PSK-CCMP][ESS]”

    For the extender (regardless of whether connected to the router or the extender) WiFiAnaylzer reported “[WPA-PSK-CCMP][WPA2-PSK-CCMP][ESS]”. This suggests the manufacturer's website is wrong (and so the user manual is right) – and I would hope that if the extender uses CCMP(AES) for the downlink side, it would also use it for the uplink side (if the router supports it).

    But to confound matters, on the Android devices (for the status of the currently active WiFi connection under Settings, WiFi) the following is shown:
    When connected to the router: WPA/WPA2 PSK
    When connected to the extender: WPA2 PSK​

    I can't find anywhere on the Android devices that show the encryption algorithm in use (e.g. TKIP, AES/CCMP).

    It is worth noting that all my Windows laptops (Win7, Win10 and even WinXP) are set-up to connect with WPA2-PSK with AES and they connect quite happily to the router and the extender.

    So, is there any way to establish the encryption algorithm in use on Android (esp. 5.1 / 5.1.1)? This also begs the question as to what standards does Android even support (e.g. is TKIP sufficiently deprecated that Android does not support it all)?

    And any views on the “anomalies” between what WiFiAnalyzer reports and the information from Android's own WiFi connection status screen?

    Thanks in advance,
    Bazzaman
     


  2. svim

    svim Extreme Android User

    The issue as to whether Android ver. 5.x not supporting any of the security protocols you referred to isn't an issue, if you're having problems connecting your mobile devices to your home WiFi, focusing on the security standards (WEP, WPA, WPA2) or encryption protocols (TKIP, AES) isn't likely to be the source why things aren't working out for you. They were already established back in the mid 2000's, even the first devices Google released to the public didn't happen for a few years afterward, more than enough time to incorporate the current WiFi standards that were already existing. (Just anecdotally, the earliest version of Android I can recall using would have been Ice Cream Sandwich, well before Lollipop, and connecting to WPA2 networks with TKIP or AEA encryption wasn't a problem even back then.)
    The fact that your router not having any options to select encryption standards is an indicator that alone might be an issue to look into. A router that dated will probably also have other issues. And before you add a reminder that you have laptops that connect to your home LAN without a problem, this only proves that your laptops don't have a problem connecting to your home LAN. The problem you need to address is the connectivity issues with your Lollipop mobile devices, not your laptops.
    What model router are you using?
     
  3. bazzaman

    bazzaman Newbie
    Thread Starter

    Whoa there! Don't think I said anything about having problems connecting. But thanks for the reply anyhow.

    Just interested in what protocols / encryption algorithms are actually in use for a connection at any given time (in order to be sure I'm getting the best protection I can from the configuration, esp. as Tenda's website stated “WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK” and “TKIP algorithm” - the lack of mention of AES was [and ostensibly still is] a concern)- but see below.

    The router is a BT Home Hub 5 (Type A), which I believe is a re-badged Sagecom piece of kit of some sort. Software version is 4.7.5.1.83.8.264 (Type A) - firmware last updated 03-Mar-19 (automatically by ISP). The router is set-up by me to be WPA2 only (but it does have options for: WPA only; WEP; None ).

    The Tenda A9 extender firmware is the latest available (v12.01.01.23) dated 12-Dec-18. To confound matters even more, I have just found a datasheet for the A9 on their website that states "Secuirty Mode: Mix WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSk" and "WPA Arithmetic: TKIP & AES". So now three varying statements on these matters from Tenda. Maybe I'll ask them to clarify (but won't hold my breath).

    I did wonder whether, due to known secuity concerns, Google might have clamped down on Android using TKIP (just as they have endeavoured to enforce certain security practices with Chrome). So that Android would either only use AES, or at least flag a warning if only TKIP (or worse) was available.

    More generally, my impression (maybe right, maybe wrong) is that access points often (always?) have some capability to fallback to a lower / previous standard if something tries to connect at something other than the optimum. Which gets to the real nub of the matter - how does one find what encryption algorithm is actually in use for any specific connection - whether that be from Windows or Android, or even other platforms (but other platforms do not directly at this time).

    This also begs the question as to whether devices (e.g PCs, tablets, phones) have some fallback capability if the access point does not meet the best standard that such devices support.

    Even with Windows, as far as I can see, one can only see the encryption type that has been configured to be used, not what has actually been used for a connection.

    But on Android I cannot see anything concerning the encryption type. This is the main focus of my post (as this is an Android forum) allied to whether Android enforces any use of the more secure standards.

    Thanks again in advance for any further thoughts.

    Bazzaman
     
  4. svim

    svim Extreme Android User

    OK, so your posting isn't about any kind of actual problem but rather you have suspicions (very unfounded as far as I tell) that Android doesn't support long-established, some before even the first Android was released to the public, WiFi connection and security protocols?
    Since you can't get your Android devices to use the encryption schemes that aren't an issue for others, that would indicate some kind of configuration issue with your either your router and/or extender.
     
  5. svim

    svim Extreme Android User

    Given you have doubts to the contextual info on the encryption schemes the WiFiAnalyzer (Open Source) app is showing, you might want to use other utilities to confirm or disprove your suspicions. Try installing the popular Wireshark utility on a computer connecting to the same local network as your mobile devices, it's free, with a very reputable, long history, and available for Linux, Mac, and Windows.
    https://www.wireshark.org/
    Install and configure Wireshark, and do a scan on your home LAN, making sure one or more of your mobile devices is awake, and preferably actively doing something that's online. Following these directions you should be able to at least get some corresponding data on the encryption scheme in use:
    https://wiki.wireshark.org/HowToDecrypt802.11
    You might also want to install the GlassWire app, it's a network monitor and firewall utility that you can also use to correspond with the information from the WiFiAnalyzer app and Wireshark scan results.
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.glasswire.android&hl=en_US
    https://www.glasswire.com/features/#network-monitoring
    A last suggestion is to try to crack your own home WiFi network and see if it is or isn't as openly vulnerable as you think it is:
    https://www.krackattacks.com/
    https://github.com/vanhoefm/krackattacks-scripts
     
    MoodyBlues likes this.
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