The Wi-Fi Alliance announced the launch of the WPA3 security standard

Pierluigi Paganini June 26, 2018

The Wi-Fi Alliance announced late on Monday the launch of the WPA3 security standard that promises to increase the Wi-Fi security.

The Wi-Fi Alliance officially launched the WPA3, the new Wi-Fi security standard that will address all known security issues affecting the precious standards and will mitigate wireless attacks such as the KRACK attacks and DEAUTH attacks.

The Wi-Fi Alliance includes tech giants like Apple, Cisco, Intel, Qualcomm, and Microsoft.

WPA Wireless security standard designed to authenticate wireless devices using the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) protocol and to establish secure connections that hackers cannot spy on.

The new security standard replaces the WPA2 that is currently used by billions of devices every day.

WPA3 implements important improvements for Wi-Fi enabled devices, it aims at enhancing configuration, authentication, and encryption issues.

“WPA3 takes the lead in providing the industry’s strongest protections in the ever-changing security landscape,” said Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of the Wi-Fi Alliance. “WPA3 continues the evolution of Wi-Fi security and maintains the brand promise of Wi-Fi Protected Access.”

WPA3 could operate in Personal and Enterprise modes for personal, enterprise, and IoT wireless networks.

The Personal mode implements enhanced protection against offline dictionary attacks and password guessing attempts. It offers a higher level of security even when the users choose weak passwords. The new standard leverages SAE (Simultaneous Authentication of Equals) handshake to introduce the use of forward secrecy in order to protect communications in case the secret password has been compromised.

The Enterprise mode implements 192-bit encryption for networks that require extra security.

Both the Personal and Enterprise modes don’t allow the use of legacy protocols and they require Protected Management Frames (PMF) to avoid eavesdropping.

Let’s summarized some of the most important improvements implemented by the new standard:

Protection Against Brute-Force Attacks

WPA3 provides enhanced protection against offline brute-force dictionary attacks, even when the users don’t choose complex passwords.

WPA3 Forward Secrecy

WPA3 provides forward secrecy to protect communications even if the attackers have compromised the password.

WPA3 strengthens user privacy in Public/Open Wi-Fi Networks

WPA3 improves user privacy in open networks through individualized data encryption. Communications between a device and the Wi-Fi access point is encrypted to prevent MitM attacks.

The system protects connections against passive eavesdropping without requiring a password by using Opportunistic Wireless Encryption (OWE). It provides each user unique individual encryption that secures traffic between their device and the Wi-Fi network.

Enhanced protection for Critical Networks

Critical networks, such as the ones used in financial and government environments, are protected with 192-bit encryption.

WPA3 security standard

The WiFi Alliance also announced the Wi-Fi Easy Connect, a new feature that makes it easier for users to connect IoT devices to wireless networks.

Wi-Fi Easy Connect is a replacement for Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS), which has been considered insecure. It allows users to add a new device with the router by simply scanning a QR code with your smartphone to automatically send Wi-Fi credentials to the new smart device.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – WPA3 security standard, wireless security)

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