The new WPA3 security protocol is now official

The Airport Utility icon

Officially announced in January by the Wi-Fi Alliance, a non-profit that promotes Wi-Fi technology and certifies Wi-Fi products, the new WPA3 security protocol specification has been finalized and released today as a certification program.

WPA2, the current standard of Wi-Fi protection, has been around since 2004.

With the enhanced security protections, the new WPA3 protocol was designed to guard users against brute-force offline attacks on their network passwords. Even if a rogue party successfully captures a wireless stream, they only get one go at guessing your password because WPA3 will render the data useless, plus they won’t be able to read your old data.

Two flavors of WPA3

There will be two flavors of WPA3:

  • WPA3-Personal: A more resilient, password-based wireless authentication even when users choose passwords that fall short of typical complexity recommendations. WPA3 leverages Simultaneous Authentication of Equals, a secure key establishment protocol between devices, to provide stronger protections for users against password guessing attempts by third parties.
  • WPA3-Enterprise: This protocol offers the equivalent of 192-bit cryptographic strength, providing additional protections for networks transmitting sensitive data, such as government or finance. The 192-bit security suite ensures a consistent combination of cryptographic tools are deployed across WPA3 networks.

Aside from these, the organization unveiled Wi-Fi Easy Connect.

Introducing Easy Connect

Easy Connect aims to simplify the process of pairing Wi-Fi devices with limited or no display interface, like new devices coming to market for Internet of Things, while still maintaining high security standards. This will let you securely add any device to your Wi-Fi network via another device that has a more robust interface, like your phone, with a quick scan of a QR code.

Connecting to a Wi-Fi network in iOS 11 and newer is as easy as scanning a QR code with the Camera app

iOS 11 has a similar feature where you connect to a Wi-Fi network by scanning a QR code containing access credentials or by authorizing access from another iOS device.

It’s a wrap-up!

Eve though WPA3 brings new protections like 192-bit encryption, simplified configuration on screen-less devices, individualized data encryption in open networks and robust protections of weak passwords, WPA2 is going to be used for the foreseeable future.

Moreover, they’ll continue enhancing WPA2 to ensure it has strong security protections.

The new protocol will roll out to device vendors, suppliers and early adopters over the next year. It’s unclear if existing routers will be able to support WPA3 via a firmware upgrade.

Cumulative shipments of Wi-Fi devices are expected to hit an ABI Research-estimated 20 billion units this year, with 3 billion new Wi-Fi devices to be shipped in 2018 alone.

What are your thoughts on the new WPA3 specification?

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