Everything you need to know about network security key

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PUREVPNDigital SecurityEverything you need to know about network security key

One of the most important considerations in any network is how to keep it secure.

In today’s world where technology has made everything faster and more efficient, protecting your computer is critical. This rapid advancement in technology comes at a cost, however, because hackers are constantly looking for new ways to break into computers or networks for a variety of reasons.

Moreover, keeping a strong password isn’t enough to keep you secure. You must also have a security key, as this is the only way to protect yourself from attacks. For years, hackers have been able to find flaws in passwords and other forms of security, making it crucial to have an extra layer of protection against those looking to break into your system to steal or alter your data. .

What is a network security key?

A security key is an essential tool for any network because it is the only way to prevent hackers from breaking into your computer. It’s simple to protect yourself by using a strong password and a security key, so make sure you always have one the next time you connect to a network.

A network security key is a string of alphanumeric characters that has special meaning for a network device. The character in the string for all keys used must be chosen at random, making it difficult to predict what sequence of characters is used by attackers.

The goal of employing a network security key is to keep attackers from hacking into the target network. A network security key is a string of characters made up of digits or letters that are chosen at random to make it difficult for an attacker to guess the key. 

Hackers can easily guess the combination used as a key on some networks because these keys are typically made up of dictionary words and alphabetic letters. For example, if a key combination is ABCD1234, a dictionary attack is all that is required to breach the network. Hackers can easily deduce such passwords.

Why do you need network security?

Having a network security key makes it difficult for hackers to infiltrate your system. Let’s break down the chances of getting hacked based on the number of codes you use as a password. The probability of correctly guessing Network Security Key with:

  • 3-digit code is 1/1,000 or 0.001%
  • 4-digit code is 1/10,000 or 0.00001% 
  • 5-digit code is 1/100,000 or 0.000001% 
  • 6-digit code is 1/1 million or 0.0000001%
  • 7-digit code is 1/10 million or 0.00000001%

Benefits of using network security keys

A network security key is a tool that employs public/private cryptography and consists of one or more pairs of mathematically linked public and private security keys for each software application. These keys are used to encrypt and decrypt messages sent over the internet; they can also be used to digitally sign important documents such as contracts or invoices, and then authenticate them through a process similar to signing with an ink signature. Forging digital signatures is impossible because it requires knowledge of the paired private key, which is never shared with third parties.

  • The process of signing and encrypting communications cannot be decrypted or forged by anyone who does not have access to the privately held network security key. They  can be used to provide a secure network environment for internet banking and online shopping services. These keys also ensure that all incoming and outgoing messages are sent or received by the intended sender or receiver.
  • It’s difficult for hackers to steal private information by breaking into password-protected accounts. Network security keys use special encryption algorithms that are nearly impossible to decrypt without access to the correct key, which is kept private by network security key servers. They can also be used to replace passwords, which are frequently shared across websites and can be easily stolen from one website account to gain access to all of someone’s online data.
  • The private key is never shared with other parties. A network security key can be used to enable additional secure logins such as Microsoft Account and Google Authentication for added protection on every login to prevent any outsider from accessing their information. Because the process of encrypting messages cannot be decrypted by anyone who does not have access to the correct private keys, network security keys can also be used to secure email logins such as Yahoo, Gmail, and Hotmail, among others.
  • You can access files downloaded from internet browsers because they can only be opened by the intended party who possesses the private keys used to decrypt messages and webpages. This ensures that the downloader is safe, and that their data and web browsing traffic can never be hacked, decrypted, or stolen unless they have access to their network security key, which cannot be duplicated without the private keys, which are kept secret for security reasons.
  • Network security keys are also available in physical formats that are attached to a USB drive, allowing your internet browser to detect the network security key and decrypt messages without interruption or delay when you log in to your online accounts.
  • Network security keys protect against man-in-the-middle attacks, which can intercept information on unencrypted networks such as WiFi hotspots, because when you connect to a secured network, all of your online data, such as emails and online banking transactions, cannot be decrypted or stolen unless your private keys are available. This ensures that hackers cannot decrypt messages encrypted with a network security key, thereby preventing man-in-the-middle attacks.

Types of network security keys

With a network security key, you’ve got instant access to the internet and connected devices on the network. Before we begin to explain how to find network security keys, let’s understand the types of network security keys and how they can be used to protect your router. These are three types of network keys:

1. Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP)

The WEP security key encrypts data sent over a wireless network, making it more difficult to intercept. It employs a 40-bit or 104-bit encryption key. This is an older type of encryption that has been superseded by WPA, or WiFi Protected Access. WEP encrypts radio frequency transmissions, but is no longer considered secure because the encryption key can be cracked in a matter of hours.

2. WiFi Protected Access (WPA)

WPA is a wireless encryption protocol developed by the WiFi Alliance that was first introduced in the early 2003 to improve on WEP, and was later expanded in 2004. The protocol was designed to provide a standardized security method for personal and enterprise wireless networks.

3. WiFi Protected Access 2 (WPA2)

WPA2 was created to succeed the previous security protocol, WEP. . WPA2 relied on a stronger encryption protocol, AES, short for Advanced Encryption Standard, as part of its design. Users benefit from increased security as a result of this.

4. Two-factor and biometric keys

Two-factor authentication is a process that requires the user to provide two forms of authentication. In other words, it necessitates more than a password or other forms of single-factor authentication.

When you log in to your email account, for example, you must enter your username and password. This is your solitary authentication method. When withdrawing money from an ATM, however, you will need more than just a password. In that case, you’ll need to enter your PIN, which serves as your single-factor authentication.

How to find your WiFi’s network security key

Wireless security keys can be found on the backside or inside of your WiFi router. The security key may be printed on an unchangeable label that you must first scratch off before reading. To avoid going through the trouble of doing this, take a picture of that section with your phone’s camera and then use an image editor to read the key. 

Another method is to copy the first 13-16 digits and search for them on Google. There are numerous websites where you can find network keys of any type, but it is always a good idea to double-check with the router’s manufacturer.

Find network security key on Windows machines (Windows 7, 10, & 11)

1. Select the start menu option and navigate to network connections.

2. Navigate to the network and sharing center.

3. Select the Wireless network option, which is WiFi.

4. Navigate to wireless properties.

5. Navigate to the security tab.

6. To make the network security key visible, check the show characters box.

Find network security key on Mac

If you use a Mac, the process is fairly straightforward and should take under a minute.

  1. Open the search function.
  2. Type keychain access.
  3. On the keychain access screen, search for your WiFi network.
  4. Click your WiFi network.
  5. Check show password.
  6. Enter your Mac password to confirm it’s you who is requesting the password.

Find network security key on Android

  1. Go to the Google Play Store and download Fing. 
  2. Launch Fing and use the search bar at the top to look for local devices that are connected to your network. You will be shown a list of devices that are connected to your WiFi, along with their name, IP address, MAC address, and the type of device (computer or phone).
  3. Click on the device’s settings icon, you will be presented with the WiFi access point to which it is connected. 
  4. Select the “status” button, which is located beneath the word “WiFi.” If your Android device hasn’t forgotten any passwords set up for accessing specific services, the network security key will be displayed on the next page. If it has forgotten a password, you can always enter a new one for that service, and your Android device will remember it from then on.

Find network security key on iOS

NSK is the network security key in Apple devices, which contains information about security settings as well as the device’s unique number. If a user has a wireless network at home or at work, they must enter this security key in order to connect wirelessly with their iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch.

  1. Select iCloud from iPhone settings.
  2. Tap on ‘keychain’ to enable the keychain feature.
  3. Now, return to the settings page and activate your personal hotspot.
  4. Connect your Mac to the iPhone’s personal hotspot.
  5. Open the spotlight search utility by pressing CMD + space and search  for keychain access.
  6. Enter the name of your WiFi network (also known as the service set identifier, or SSID) and double-click it.
  7. Check the box labeled “Show Password.” To prove your identity and obtain the network security key, enter your Mac’s admin password.

Find Network Security Key for HP Printer

To discover the network security key to your HP printer, you can check the printer’s control panel. 

Some HP printers have a button on the control panel that you can press to print a wireless data web page. 

This page will include the printer’s network security key. 

You can also check it through the Windows control panel as well by following the below-mentioned instructions:

  1. Visit the Windows Network and Sharing Center in your Windows PC control panel.
  2. Tap on the “Change adapter settings” hyperlink.
  3. Right-click on the wireless adapter that your printer is connected to and pick out “Properties.”
  4. Press the “Security” tab.
  5. Check the “Show characters” checkbox to show the network security key.

Find the Network Security Key on the Macbook

To discover the network security key on a Macbook, follow the below instructions:

  1. Open the “Keychain Access” app.
  2. In the app, type the name of the WiFi network in which you want to locate the network security key.
  3. Double-click on the network label.
  4. In the “Show Password” checkbox, enter your Mac’s administrator password and click “Allow”.
  5. The key will be displayed inside the **Show Password** area.

However, if you are using macOS Ventura or a higher version, follow the below procedure:

  1. Open the “System Settings” app.
  2. Click on “Network” within the sidebar and pick out “WiFi.”
  3. Press the “Advanced” button.
  4. In the “Security” tab, tick on the “Show Password” checkbox.
  5. Enter your Mac’s administrator password and click “OK”.
  6. The key will be displayed within the “Show Password” area.

Find the Network Security Key on the Samsung

To locate the network security key (additionally referred to as the WiFi password) on a Samsung device, you naturally have to access the WiFi settings. 

Here’s how you could do it:

  1. Visit your device’s “Settings” app.
  2. Scroll down and pick “Connections” or “WiFi & Network.”
  3. Tap on “WiFi” to look at the listing of your connected networks.
  4. Find your linked WiFi label within the list and press on it.
  5. A window will appear with your net details, along with the “Password” or “Network Security Key.” This is your WiFi password.

Why Do You Receive the “Network Security Key Mismatch Error”? 

A “Network Security Key Mismatch Error” is a common pop-up you’ll get while attempting to connect your device to WiFi. This error means the network security key (password) you entered is inaccurate. However, errors can occasionally arise even when the correct key is entered. 

But how? 

If you are using outdated community drivers, have identical IPs of two devices in your network, your firewall or security software does not allow your access, and last, if your hardware device, like router-modem, is not working correctly.

How to find a network security key without an internet connection?

Step 1: Open a command prompt window and type ipconfig/all into it. Make a mental note of the physical address of the wireless connection you’re using.

Step 2: Go to and enter your physical address in the space provided. This may take a few minutes, after which you will see your current and public internet address in the browser.

Step 3: Return to the command prompt and type ipconfig/all once more. Compare the displayed physical address to what is on the website to determine your public IP address.

Step 4: Call your ISP’s customer service number and ask if they provide public IP address information. If you don’t get this information right away, be persistent and don’t accept no for an answer.

Step 5: Now that you have your physical and public IP addresses, go to this website:

Step 6: On the GRC website, enter your public IP address in the box and click “where am I accessing the internet from?” You should see a list of websites that are being connected to using your public IP address.

Step 7: If you click any of these domain names that sound like they could be from your work or home network (for example, “linksys”), you’ll be taken to a page that displays the device’s registered owner, model number, name of the access point, wireless key or encryption passcode, and other associated information – including how to reset it if you know the admin password/passcode.

Step 8: Reset the router to factory settings if you know the network admin password/passcode. This will allow you to access it wirelessly. To connect to your home or office network at full speed, enter your SSID and wireless key into the browser. If you don’t know the administrator’s password, I believe you’re out of luck.

Step 9: If you know your router’s IP address but not its wireless key or SSID, visit this page for assistance in locating the defaults for popular routers.

Frequently asked questions

How do I protect my password?

Some of the best password-protection methods are:

  • Don’t use the same password for all of your accounts. To keep your passwords safe, use a password manager.
  • Use a private browser like TOR. There are numerous advantages to using a private browser, including increased privacy and a faster web experience.

How do I create a strong password?

Creating a strong password is critical for safeguarding your online data. Many people’s personal information has been compromised as a result of using overly simple passwords. A strong password should be at least 12 characters long and contain both numbers and letters. Furthermore, the use of punctuation marks strengthens the password. There are also a number of symbols, such as dollar signs and asterisks, that can add strength to a password without adding too many keystrokes. It is also important to avoid easily identifiable information, such as birth dates, when creating a strong password.


Sameed Ajax


December 12, 2023


8 months ago

6-Feet Tall Tech writer.

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