Months after the official announcement at CES 2018, Wi-Fi Alliance, a consortium of companies that sets up standards for consumer Wi-Fi, on Monday introduced WPA3 - the next-gen security protocol that will soon become the norm for authenticating individual devices on the same network. This long-awaited update comes 14 years after WPA2 was first introduced in 2003. But the need for a more secure protocol became evident in late 2017 when KRACK (key reinstallation attack) affected nearly every WPA2-compatible device.
"All WPA3 networks use the latest security methods, disallow outdated legacy protocols, and require use of Protected Management Frames (PMF) to maintain resiliency of mission critical networks," said Wi-Fi Alliance in a blog post. The consortium has released improvements in terms of WPA3-Personal and WPA3-Enterprise.
WPA3-Personal includes "more resilient" password-based authentication despite the usage of non-complex combinations. This is made possible with the help of Simultaneous Authentication of Equals (SAE), which is a secure key establishment protocol that provides protection against password guessing attempts.
On the other hand, WPA3-Enterprise offers a 192-bit security suite for networks transmitting sensitive data, including the ones owned by finance and government organisations. Wi-Fi Alliance suggests that WPA3 will be required for all Wi-Fi Certified devices as market adoption of the new standard increases. WPA3 will maintain interoperability with WPA2 devices.
For Internet-connected devices with a limited or no display interface, the new Wi-Fi Certified Easy Connect is also being introduced. This programme helps ease the process of onboarding such devices while maintaining security standards. Devices can jump on to the Wi-Fi network simply by scanning a QR code using a smartphone or tablet.
Add to that, Wi-Fi Certified Enhanced Open ensures improved data protections while maintaining the convenience of not inputting credentials in open and public networks.
"The evolution of Wi-Fi to stay ahead of market needs has been critical to it remaining one of wireless technology's greatest success stories. Wi-Fi Alliance has been instrumental in Wi-Fi's evolution, and 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," said Phil Solis, Research Director for IDC.