Part of the reason public Wi-Fi is so risky to use is that the security built into this short-range wireless networking standard hasn’t had a significant upgrade since 2004. But that’s about to change.
The Wi-Fi Alliance introduced Wi-Fi CERTIFIED WPA3, the next generation of Wi-Fi security. This adds new features to simplify Wi-Fi security and enable more robust authentication. The enterprise version offers increased cryptographic strength.
“WPA3 takes the lead in providing the industry’s strongest protections in the ever-changing security landscape,” said Edgar Figueroa, President and CEO, Wi-Fi Alliance.
WPA3-Personal promises more resilient, password-based authentication even when users choose terrible passwords. This version adds Simultaneous Authentication of Equals (SAE) to provide stronger protections for users against password guessing attempts by third parties.
WPA3-Enterprise: offers the equivalent of 192-bit cryptographic strength.
As its name implies, the new version builds on WPA2, which is nearly ubiquitous. And WPA2 is likely to stay around for a while because current hotspots, wireless routers, and computers, phone, tablets, et al will need to be upgraded.
It’s much too early to say which Macs and iPhones will be upgradeable, but certainly many older ones will not. The same goes for networking equipment. Fortunately, WPA3 maintains interoperability with WPA2 devices through a transitional mode of operation.
For many people and organizations though, the only option to take advantage of the new security features will be to invest in new equipment,
Still, this is a necessary move. “As Wi-Fi evolves to deliver more value in an ever expanding array of use cases, it’s important that security evolves too,” said Vijay Nagarajan, senior director of marketing for the Wireless Communications and Connectivity division at Broadcom. “WPA3’s new features, such as improved password based authentication and stronger encryption, will further simplify and strengthen how consumers and businesses connect to the Internet every day.”