After over a decade of using the same security protocols, Wi-Fi is finally getting a security upgrade that it desperately needed. The Wi-Fi Alliance that manages Wi-Fi technologies has announced the official release of WPA3, which is the latest version of the Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), a user authentication technology for Wi-Fi connections.
"Wi-Fi Alliance introduces Wi-Fi CERTIFIED WPA3, the next generation of Wi-Fi security, bringing new capabilities to enhance Wi-Fi protections in personal and enterprise networks," the alliance wrote in a press release. "Building on the widespread adoption of WPA2 over more than a decade, WPA3 adds new features to simplify Wi-Fi security, enable more robust authentication, and deliver increased cryptographic strength for highly sensitive data markets. As the Wi-Fi industry transitions to WPA3 security, WPA2 devices will continue to interoperate and provide recognized security."
This upgrade brings "more resilient, password-based authentication even when users choose passwords that fall short of typical complexity recommendations," the alliance wrote. If you are in the market for a router, make sure you get one that supports this newly announced WPA3 protocol.
"WPA3 leverages Simultaneous Authentication of Equals (SAE), a secure key establishment protocol between devices, to provide stronger protections for users against password guessing attempts by third parties."
Hints of this WPA3 "Wi-Fi upgrade" first appeared earlier this year
Since the devastating KRACK vulnerability was discovered in WPA2, it was reported that the Wi-Fi Alliance was working on WPA3. This new standard is resistant to offline dictionary attacks where an attacker guesses a network's password by trying multiple passwords in a quick succession. WPA3 will block authentication requests after a few failed attempts limiting the impact of these brute-force attacks.
WPA3 also adds forward secrecy, which ensures that if an attacker manages to capture encrypted transmission and breaks into a network, older data isn't compromised and only the current data is exposed.
With this new protocol approved, it is expected that all the future devices will be WPA3 certified. While Cisco, HP, Broadcom, and Intel have voiced support for the upgrade, as we reported earlier Qualcomm has already started manufacturing chips for devices supporting WPA3.
The Wi-Fi Alliance has also announced an Easy Connect feature that enables a user to connect internet-connected devices that don't have a display interface to connect with a smartphone to configure its Wi-Fi settings.
"Wi-Fi Easy Connect enables users to securely add any device to a Wi-Fi network using another device with a more robust interface, such as a smartphone, by simply scanning a product quick response (QR) code," the announcement reads. "Wi-Fi Easy Connect and WPA3 represent the latest evolution in Wi-Fi Alliance programs to ensure users receive a positive experience while remaining securely connected as the security landscape evolves."