Decade-old WiFi security protocol to be phased-out
Written by: Philip Mason | Published:

The Wi-Fi Alliance has launched what it calls “the next generation of WiFi security,” Wi-Fi CERTIFIED WPA3. The protocol will replace WPA2, which is over ten years old.

According to the organisation, WPA3 is designed to enable “more robust authentication”, as well as delivering “increased cryptographic strength for highly sensitive data markets.” It has two modes of operation - WPA3-Personal and WPA3-Enterprise.

Features - depending on the mode - include the equivalent of 192-bit cryptographic strength, as well as the leveraging of ‘simultaneous authentication of equals’ (SAE), a secure key establishment protocol between devices, designed to protect against ‘guessing attempts.’

Users of Wi-Fi in coffee shops, airports, hotels and other venues with open Wi-Fi network will benefit from Enhanced Open, a certification programme which will provide them with improved data protections.

In a nod to the growing use of IoT devices, the Alliance’s Easy Connect programme will allow users to securely add devices with limited or no display interface to a Wi-Fi network using another device with a more robust interface, such as a smartphone, by scanning a product quick response (QR) code.

Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of the Wi-Fi Alliance said: “WPA3 takes the lead in providing the industry’s strongest protections in the ever-changing security landscape. It continues the evolution of Wi-Fi security and maintains the brand promise of Wi-Fi protected access.”

Phil Solis, research director for IDC, said: “The Wi-Fi Alliance has been instrumental in Wi-Fi’s evolution. It has been diligent about delivering Wi-Fi CERTIFIED programs, so users and a variety of markets can rely on the convenience of Wi-Fi connectivity and security to meet their needs.”

The organisation has reassured users that WPA2 devices will continue to interoperate during the transition to WPA3. WPA2, which received some upgrades earlier this year, continues to be mandatory for all Wi-Fi CERTIFIED devices.

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