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WPA3 to feature much needed security enhancements

WPA3 to feature much needed security enhancements WPA3 to feature much needed security enhancements
Melba Vasquez | 09 January, 2018, 17:59

The attack method, known as KRACK (key reinstallation attack) affects almost every Wi-Fi-enabled device including PCs, smartphones and routers, because WPA2 is the de-facto standard for security.

WPA2, which has been protecting virtually all wireless devices in use today, will soon be retired after almost two decades, after the Wi-Fi alliance, an industry body made up of the likes of Microsoft and Qualcomm, announced a new wireless security standard - WPA3.

Four new capabilities for personal and enterprise Wi-Fi networks will emerge in 2018 as part of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED WPA3™. Another feature will strengthen user privacy in open networks through individualized data encryption.

Another key improvement in WPA3 will protect against brute-force dictionary attacks, making it tougher for attackers near your Wi-Fi network to guess a list of possible passwords. This is a basic feature found in many web or software authentication systems and makes flawless sense to be deployed with WiFi networks, which are most often subject to dictionary brute-force attacks. Requests will be blocked after the system notices several failed authentication attempts.

No information other than that it is a 192-bit security suite was revealed. "But now devices are required to support them, otherwise they're won't receive the "WPA3-certified" label". Basically, what it enables users to do is set up WPA3 options a device using another device. 802.11ax is expected to roll out this year but might not see much traction till at least 2019, and promises to improve speeds to up to 600MBps, manage device connections more intelligently, and direct radio waves at specific devices rather than broadcasting in all directions.

"The standards behind WPA3 already existed for a while", said Mathy Vanhoef, the author of the KRACK attack on WPA2.

The Wi-Fi Alliance is also working on the emerging Wi-Fi 802.11ac and 802.11ax standards, created to support multiple access points covering larger areas, and to help users manage traffic and prioritisations between multiple devices on their Wi-Fi networks.

In conjunction with this week's commencement of CES - letters that once stood for Consumer Electronics Show and now come meaning-free - the Wi-Fi Alliance on Monday heralded the arrival of WPA3 as the successor to WPA2, the flawed but widely used network security protocol for Wi-Fi communication. It is unclear whether there will be backward compatibility to allow older devices to continue to work.

"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.

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