The Wi-Fi Alliance today has unveiled the next generation of WiFi security protections for personal and enterprise networks with the introduction of WPA3.
Building on the commonly used WPA2 security protocol, the new standard includes added features that simplify WiFi security, allow more stringent authentication, and provide ramped up cryptographic strength for highly sensitive data markets.
There are two distinct modes of operation for the security protocol: WPA3-Personal and WPA3-Enterprise. Both networks disallow legacy protocols and require use of Protected Management Frames (PMF) to maintain resiliency of mission critical networks, the organization said.
Key enhancements to WPA3-Personal include more robust, password-based authentication even when users choose weak passwords; and leverages Simultaneous Authentication of Equals (SAE) to provide stronger protection against password guessing attempts by third parties.
As for WPA3-Enterprise – it offers additional protections for networks with higher security needs, such as government or finance, by providing the equivalent of 192-bit cryptographic strength. The Wi-Fi Alliance said the 192-bit security suite ensures a consistent combination of cryptographic tools are deployed across WPA3 networks.
“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.”
With the official program launch today, Wi-Fi Alliance members can now begin certifying products for Wi-Fi Certified WPA3 and Wi-Fi Certified Easy Connect programs. The latter program is a new initiative that aims to provide a simplified WiFi security configuration for devices with limited or no display interface, such as Internet of Things gadgets. Users are able to add a device to any WiFi network using another device, like a smartphone, by scanning a product quick response code.
“Security has always been a key component of WiFi’s broad appeal and Wi-Fi Alliance’s certifications. Ruckus is in full support of continuing to evolve the certification of security standards to meet potential new threats. We are actively developing new software to take full advantage of Wi-Fi Certified WPA3 for the benefit of our customers and their millions of end users around the world,” said Mark Hamilton, principal networking standards engineer at Ruckus Networks, an Arris Company, in a statement.
Eventually, as market adoption of the new security protocol grows, WPA3 will be required for all Wi-Fi Certified devices. However, WPA3 maintains interoperability with WPA2 devices through a transitional mode.
“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.
Wi-Fi Alliance members include big names like Apple, Intel, Qualcomm, Microsoft, and Comcast, among numerous other tech companies.