Don’t buy a new Wi-Fi router without checking for WPA3 security

Doris Richards
June 28, 2018

The number and know-how of devices connected to Wi-Fi networks have both exploded since late 2004, but nearly 15 years later, the Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) security protocols are still responsible for protecting them. There are two modes, WPA3-Personal and WPA3-Etnerprise, both of which use the latest security methods and disallow outdated legacy protocols.

In addition to WPA3, the Wi-Fi Alliance is also introducing Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Easy Connect. You'll be able connect such devices by scanning a QR code on the device without compromising your connection's security.

After over a decade of using the same security protocols, Wi-Fi is finally getting a security upgrade that it desperately needed. The organization started working on WPA3 after a security researcher revealed KRACK, a vulnerability in the WPA2 WiFi protocol that made it somewhat trivial for an attacker to gain access to WiFi transmissions protected by WPA2.

WPA3-Personal: more resilient, password-based authentication even when users choose passwords that fall short of typical complexity recommendations.

Above: A diagram illustrating the connection flow of Wi-Fi Easy Connect devices.

If you're using professional-grade WPA3-Enterprise security, you'll get the "equivalent" to 192-bit encryption strength that should make it tougher to crack secure data.

WPA3 is the successor to the widely deployed WPA2 WiFi security model that was launched in September 2004. A date has not been set yet, but the new WPA3 will retain interoperability with older WPA2 devices to ensure as less friction as possible during the transition to WPA3.

New security protocols are created to make your Wi-Fi routers harder to hack. Security problems in WPA2 cropped up occasionally in that time, reminding us that unsecured Wi-Fi is bad news.

The new WPA3 standard brings over enhanced protections against offline, password-guessing attacks.

And, even though the Wi-Fi Alliance is only releasing the new protocol today (26 June), it doesn't expect broad adoption until 2019. "Wi-Fi Alliance has been instrumental in Wi-Fi's evolution, and diligent about delivering Wi-Fi CERTIFIED programs so users and a variety of markets can rely on the convenience of Wi-Fi connectivity and security to meet their needs".

You'll need to buy Wi-Fi routers, phones, and more that support WPA3 out of the box, but if you're lucky, the manufacturers of your current gadgets will update them so you don't have to go out and buy all-new tech to benefit from WPA3. Devices that use the old WPA2 will still work fine, and will be interoperable with ones that use the new WPA3 standard.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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