WPA3 Wi-Fi protocol aims to improve security in 2018

Wi-Fi symbol in the sky

The Wi-Fi Alliance, with members including Apple, Dell Technologies, Intel and Microsoft, is rolling out WPA3, its replacement for WPA2, to help mitigate the risk of open Wi-Fi networks, according to the organization's announcement.

Chances are that you connect to Wi-Fi every day, but you might not realize that "Wi-Fi" is in fact a trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance, a non-profit that promotes the use of wireless technology and sets voluntary safety standards for all wireless devices.

The Wi-Fi Alliance introduced the next generation of Wi-Fi Protected Access - WPA3 - which aims to improve password security as well as security for IoT devices.

In the intervening period, the Wi-Fi Alliance will enhance WPA2 to ensure that it provides strong security protection. WPA2 uses the four-way handshake to authenticate data exchange by facilitating the process of creating encryption keys.

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"New testing enhancements will...reduce the potential for vulnerabilities due to network misconfiguration, and further safeguard managed networks with centralized authentication services", the organization said. Wi-Fi Protected Access 3 (WPA3) has actually been around for quite some time, but now might finally be coming into play on upcoming routers. WPA3 will adhere to the security demands of modern devices including Internet of Things (IoT) and connected medical devices.

WPA3 will also protect users whose passwords are considered weak and don't abide by complexity regulations.

Evolving security threats call for change in network security standards, which is why WPA3 has been so highly anticipated. And the other is a stronger 192-bit security suite, which the Wi-Fi Alliance says is aligned with the Commercial National Security Algorithm Suite from the Committee on National Security Systems. Now in an open Wi-Fi network the connections between devices are not protected in any way, and thus listening and manipulating traffic is very easy. Passwords can also be cracked offline if a cyberattacker observes an authorized user connecting to the network. Most of these capabilities will emerge later this year during the introduction of WPA3.

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