Simplifying the Process
This was a down-and-dirty look at how a hacker could deduce a secret key, byte by byte. If they had to do this by hand, the threat of this weakness would be seriously lessened. However, this process has been written into a program that can perform this process in seconds if enough data is captured. For example, WEPCrack (which was written as an educational tool) and AirSnort are both programs that can crack the secret key in a matter of seconds if enough data is present. The catch is with the data.
Due to the requirements, roughly 7GB of data must be captured, on average, to crack the password. This is A LOT of information. In fact, most home users and small businesses will have a tough time meeting this mark in two weeks. However, on the other hand, if a WLAN is fully maxed out, it can send this much data in two to four hours. So, the threat of WEP is a real and dangerous risk.