New Wi-Fi standard offers 'robust' encryption and security
The Wi-Fi Alliance has announced WPA3, a next-generation security protocol to succeed the current WPA2 standard. The specification improves wireless security on open networks. It also increases encryption strength to protect users of sensitive networks.
Wrapping around WPA2
The Wi-Fi Alliance, an international network of companies behind the Wi-Fi ecosystem, unveiled WPA3 at the CES tech show this week. It's the first time Wi-Fi security has been fundamentally upgraded in over a decade. WPA2 is now aging and has known flaws which can expose its users.
WPA3 is designed to address many of its predecessor's issues. One of the most significant changes is the introduction of individualized data encryption, keeping your information secure when in public places. WPA3 will encrypt each connection with the router using a different key, preventing attackers on the network from spying on your traffic.
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Wi-Fi's core authentication model will be overhauled so it's more appropriate for the modern web. Attackers won't be able to use brute force dictionary attacks to guess your password. WPA3 will automatically block users who try to enter an incorrect password too many times.
For devices that don't have displays, WPA3 will include new configuration options that make it easier to setup and maintain security. This will enable Wi-Fi to grow its footprint in the Internet of Things (IoT), offering more robust security than rivals such as Bluetooth. Automatic testing enhancements will lower the risk of incorrect network settings inadvertently creating a security hole. This should assist businesses as they deploy new IoT solutions.
"Security is a foundation of Wi-Fi Alliance certification programs, and we are excited to introduce new features to the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED family of security solutions," said Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance. "The Wi-Fi CERTIFIED designation means Wi-Fi devices meet the highest standards for interoperability and security protections."
WPA3 also comes with a new security suite aimed specifically at high-risk networks. Government, defence, security and industrial providers using Wi-Fi networking will be able to access a 192-bit set of enhancements.
The dedicated suite is compatible with the Commercial National Security Algorithm and is intended to prevent information loss from sensitive environments. Full details of the suite haven't yet been released.
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For consumers, WPA3 will help to make smart devices and the web more secure. Businesses will benefit from improved security around their IoT networks and sensitive information. The enhancements make Wi-Fi more appropriate for the connected economy it's helping to create, offering long-overdue improvements that bring next-generation connectivity closer to reality.
WPA3 is expected to arrive in the first consumer devices from later in 2018. Customers will need new routers and client devices to benefit from the upgraded standard. The launch of WPA3 follows the widely reported KRACK WPA2 attack last year, an incident believed to have affected every existing WPA2 device.