The new WPA3 protocol

The Wi-fi Alliance has officially announced the release of a new wireless  security protocol: Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA3).

WPA3 will be the successor of WPA2, the widely used wireless protocol that has been used for 15 years by billions of computers, laptops and smartphones. This new installment of the Wi-fi Protected Access protocol will focus on the security of the data transferred.

 

What is Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA)?

 If you have ever connected to a wireless network, WPA or WPA should sound familiar. Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) and Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) are two security protocols and security certification programs developed by the Wi-Fi Alliance to secure wireless computer networks. These protocols were intended to protect the data from malicious attacks in a wireless network, by encrypting it.

 

Why do we need WPA3?

WPA2 has been long considered insecure due to open Wi-Fi networks: wireless networks that do not have a passwords (malls, public parks and public transport being just a few examples). These networks allow  anyone on them to intercept connections and see what information is being sent. This information could include passwords, e-mail addresses or even bank accounts.

WPA2 has been shown to be vulnerable also to KRACK (Key Reinstallation Attack), which  makes it possible for an attacker  to intercept and decrypt  Wi-Fi traffic  passing between computers.

WPA3 will improve the security and privacy of the users’ data:

  • it will strengthen user privacy in open networks through individualised data encryption.
  • it will protect against brute-force dictionary attacks, preventing hackers from making multiple login attempts by using commonly used passwords.
  • it will offer simplified security for devices that often have no display for configuring security settings, i.e. IoT devices.
  • for Wi-Fi  networks with higher security requirements, such as government, defence and industrial organisations, there will be a 192-bit security suite for extra protection

But since  hardware must get certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance to use the new WPA3, we may have to wait for the new security standard. It is expected that the first WPA3-certified devices to be shipped later this year.

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