What is PSK?

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What is PSK?
PSK or “Pre-shared key” refers to a string of text or a “passphrase” that is required by a protected network before allowing someone to have access to it. In the field of cryptography, PSK or pre-shared key is also referred to as a “shared secret” between the parties involved in using a secure channel or network. Pre-shared keys are commonly used in secure and protected WiFi (Wireless Fidelity) networks wherein clients or users are required to enter the string of text of PSK before he/she is allowed access to the network. In this WiFi setup, the “pre-shared” key refers to the shared key by all the clients and the wireless AP or access point.

Nowadays, many buildings, offices, and establishments are equipped with WiFi networks. Some WiFi services are offered for free and are not protected by pre-shared keys and or passwords. But with the increasing threat of cyber attacks on business and personal websites, many have made their internet connections via WiFi secured. And one level of security is provided by configuring pre-shared keys on the network. Pre-shared keys may be setup to one’s preferences and may contain random numbers or words. In this way, users that connect to a particular network are required to “key in” or enter the pre-shared key before he/she is allowed to connect to the network and start surfing the internet.

In the VPN or virtual private network setup, pre-shared keys also provide security to the network. Through the string of text included in the pre-shared key, users go through an authentication process. This process will not work if a particular user cannot provide the correct “passphrase” or pre-shared key. In this setup, if the VPN server does not receive the correct “shared secret” or pre-shared key, then it will not provide the username and/or password that is needed by the end-user and so connection to the network is not granted.

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