Whether it’s to stream our favorite movies, update our apps or play our favorite games online, Wi-Fi has become a staple part of our lives. This is especially true if you’re primarily using a portable device such as a laptop, tablet or mobile phone.
Wi-Fi networks are great for networking because everything is connected without a mess of cables. On the other hand, this breeds security issues as well. Did you know that WPA2, the current Wi-Fi security protocol is 20 years old? For a technology that is a must have these days, you would think that stronger and/or updated protocols would be put in place.
Well, that’s precisely what’s the Wi-Fi Alliance is working on. Comprising of tech giants such as Apple, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Intell, Dell, Broadcom, Motorola and more, the Wi-Fi alliance promotes the use of Wi-Fi and certifies Wi-Fi products to conform to certain standards. What’s really important here is that the Wi-Fi alliance announced its next generation WPA3 security protocol.
Well, unlike WPA2 and WPA, WPA3 would finally have the ability to secure open Wi-Fi networks by utilizing individualized data encryption. Simple translation? This means that the connection between your PC or laptop or phone on the Wi-Fi network and the router are encrypted. This means that no one can mess around with the websites you visit
In addition, WPA3 also introduces a 4-way handshake. This makes it easier for devices with pre-shared passwords to connect to a network, but also will give network attackers a tough time due to its stronger protection from brute-force dictionary attacks. In case you were wondering, a dictionary attack is a hacker will use a collection of words to guess your Wi-Fi password (and not someone throwing dictionaries at your router).
If you’re in a government, defense, or industrial network, WPA3 also implements a 192-bit security suite that conforms to the Commercial National Security Algorithm. This provides a better level of protection for these networks.
Is your Wi-Fi password your name followed by 12345? Well, WPA3 has your back. It also simplifies the task of security configuration for devices that have no display or a relatively small display.
In case you didn’t know WPA2 and WPA faced a fair share of trouble with the recently uncovered KRACK exploit. KRACK or Key Reinstallation Attack essentially targets the third step in a four-way handshake. Since the encryption key can be resent multiple times during step three, attackers can collect the packets and then attempt to reassemble your network password and gain access to it.
According to reports, around 41% of Android devices were vulnerable to the KRACK exploit despite Google having pushed out security patched to resolve them. While it is unlikely that current devices will be updated to support WPA3, official WPA3 certified products are expected to ship out towards the latter part of 2018.
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