The Wi-Fi Alliance on Tuesday introduced the WPA3 protocol featuring next-generation WiFi security protections for personal and enterprise networks.
The new standard builds on the commonly used WPA2 security protocol and boasts features that enable more rigorous authentication, help to simplify WiFi security and provide more robust cryptographic strength for highly sensitive data markets.
The security protocol has two distinct modes of operation – WPA3-Personal and WPA3-Enterprise – both of which prohibit legacy protocols and require the use of Protected Management Frames (PMF) to preserve resiliency of mission-critical networks.
WPA3-Enterprise features key enhancements that offer added protections for networks with greater security needs, such as finance or government, by providing the equivalent of 192-bit cryptographic strength. The 192-bit security suite guarantees that a consistent combination of cryptographic tools are deployed across WPA3 networks, the organization said.
WPA3-Personal, meanwhile, now includes more stringent, password-based authentication even when users choose weak passwords. It also leverages Simultaneous Authentication of Equals (SAE) to provide stronger protection against password-guessing attempts by third parties.
“WPA3 takes the lead in providing the industry’s strongest protections in the ever-changing security landscape,” said Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance, in a statement. “WPA3 continues the evolution of WiFi security and maintains the brand promise of Wi-Fi Protected Access.”
Following the official program launch this week, Wi-Fi Alliance members are able to start certifying products for Wi-Fi Certified WPA3 and Wi-Fi Certified Easy connect programs. The Easy Connect program is a new project that seeks to simplify WiFi security configurations for devices that have limited or no display interface, such as Internet of Things gadgets. Users can add a device to any WiFi network using another device, like an iPhone, by scanning a product quick response code.
“The WPA3 program will bring much-needed upgrades to wireless security protecting all levels of customers from consumer to enterprise/government. Cisco is committed to integrating WPA3 features into our Aironet Access Points and Wireless Controllers via a firmware upgrade so that our existing and new customers can take advantage of the capabilities offered by WPA3,” Greg Dorai, VP of Cisco WLAN, said in a statement.
WPA3 will eventually be required for all Wi-Fi Certified devices as market adoption of the new security protocol proliferates. For now, however, WPA3 maintains interoperability with WPA2 devices through a transitional mode.
Wi-Fi Alliance members include big names like Apple, Intel, Qualcomm, Microsoft and Comcast, among numerous other tech companies.