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Mel K
LInux Guru and Technical Writer

WPA3 – The Promise of Security

Wi-Fi is the most used tech in our everyday life. From our desktops, laptops to smartphones – all connect to the internet via the routers using Wi-Fi. For personal/corporate wireless usage, Wi-Fi is the best of all. Unfortunately, in the year of 2017, several serious bugs were found in, threatening the security of the web. Now, developers are working on a better, safer and tighter security suite for Wi-Fi protection – WPA3.

How Wi-Fi works

Wi-Fi works using radio wave signals that emit around. Anyone intercepting those signals can read the data. That’s why security measures were taken to ensure that data transmission is protected. The security protocol was called WPA2. WPA2 is an expansion of WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) that provided improved and powerful data encryption and data transfer.

Wi-Fi transmitted data encrypted with a unique encryption key per device. WPA2 used a method called “4-way handshake” with the client device to determine the encryption key. Unfortunately, it had a serious flaw in the mechanism, discovered in October 2017. This serious bug, codenamed “KRACK”, simply broke Wi-Fi. KRACK allowed hacked to access user data without any access to the Wi-Fi network. Fortunately, companies like Microsoft, Google, and Apple patched the bug in their software.

Why we need WPA3

With so many bugs, WPA2 is really obsolete. The Wi-Fi Alliance, a clutch of companies who certify products as capable of data transmission over Wi-Fi, is working on an improved security protocol, called WPA3.

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This is a big switch. WPA2 has been around for 14+ years! That’s a very old protocol. Now, we’re on our way to WPA3. There’s been tons of new features and advanced methods included to ensure the top-notch security and robust performance.

What’s inside WPA3?

Let’s take a look.

  • Better handshake method. The previous “4-way handshake” contained severe flaws. Now, the new, improved handshake method will provide impenetrable security.
  • A better & simplified process for configuring security for devices having limited/no display interface.
  • Robust protection without following the typical password complexity recommendation.
  • A 192-bit security suite connected with CNSA (Commercial National Security Algorithm) to ensure even stronger security.
  • Improved protection against brute-force attack. This attack tries every possible combination to get access to the access point. New security measure will block an attacker after many failed password guesses.
  • Individualized data encryption to scramble the connection between each device on the network and the router. This will ensure that no one can manipulate data.
  • Fixes to common Wi-Fi issues. Wi-Fi currently contains a number of security issues that need to be taken into account when accessing any public Wi-Fi. WPA3 seeks to fix these issues.

WPA2 is pretty old for the current age. WPA3 is on its way. However, it’s not anytime soon. WPA3 enabled devices might be available later this year. What about the present devices? Unfortunately, it’s at the mercy of the manufacturers. It’s unknown if current devices can apply WPA3 protocol via the firmware update, but there’s a scope for it.

We all are waiting for the new WPA3 standard. Security is a serious issue now, and improved protection methods are the only way to ensure protection against critical vulnerabilities.

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  1. “Now, the new, improved handshake method will provide impenetrable security.”

    There is no doubt it will be better, but it will only provide impenetrable security until somebody discovers one or more bugs.


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