Ethical hackers at GNUCitizen.org have found out that the encryption used in one of UK's most popular wireless routers is so weak that the keys can be guessed in just 80 tries on average.
In a short entry (opens in new tab) posted on their blog, one of the members of the Security think tank, Kevin Devine, reverse-engineered the default WEP/WPA key algorithm used by some Thomson Speedtouch routers which includes BT's Home Hub, Orange, O2 and Bethere as well (see picture below).
He was able to devise an application that can automate the guessing process but has not released it for security reasons.
The issue arises because information such as the router's mac address and the SSID are already available and the default key used on those routers follow a certain algorithm.
GNUCitizen's advise is to use WPA (Wi-Fi protected access) rather than WEP (wired equivalent privacy) encryption as well as changing the default encryption key as soon as possible.
As Ethical hackers, GNUCitizen also released the WEP/WPA algorithm which means that criminals could use this information to target potential victims; which is made altogether more easier as by default, most ISPs leave their name in the router's identification tag.