Wi-Fi Alliance announces WPA3

WPA3 protocol

Perhaps one of the best impacts of WPA3 is that it allows even open networks, such as public WiFi hotspots in coffee shops or airports, to adopt encryption for end-users (as opposed to being completely open).

The next generation of WiFi or Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) equipped broadband ISP routers and devices will benefit from a new security protocol called Wi-Fi Protected Access III (WPA3), which should eventually replace the WPA2 standard that has helped to keep networks encrypted since 2004.

When it lands later this year, WPA3 will offer new features to simplify and enhance security for users and service providers on personal and enterprise networks, the body claimed.

WPA3 will solve this problem by employing individualized data encryption, which will scramble the connection between any two devices on the network. This blocks any other connected device from snooping on or manipulating traffic of other devices connected to the same network.

The Wi-Fi Alliance announced the WPA3 standard officially on Monday. New testing enhancements will also reduce the potential for vulnerabilities due to network misconfiguration, and further safeguard managed networks with centralized authentication services.

The WiFi Alliance said that WPA2 will continue to be used in devices "for the foreseeable future".

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New features will rely on Protected Management Frames, which are already "broadly adopted in the current generation of Wi-Fi Certified devices", according to WFA, for protecting mission-critical networks.

Perhaps most interesting, though, is a 192-bit security suite meant to conform to the US Commercial National Security Algorithm (CNSA) - better known as "best practice".

The third security-related improvement is an improved cryptographic standard.

"Wi-Fi security technologies may live for decades, so it's important they are continually updated to ensure they meet the needs of the Wi-Fi industry", said Joe Hoffman, SAR Insight & Consulting.

At last, Wi-Fi security - or lack of - is about to get its day in the sun. Members of our collaboration forum come together from across the Wi-Fi ecosystem with the shared vision to connect everyone and everything, everywhere, while providing the best possible user experience.

The weaknesses are in the Wi-Fi standard itself, and not in individual products or implementations. The suite is aimed at users that require more robust security, such as those in government, the military and industry.