Wi-fi has been vulnerable to various security threats posed by hackers. The WPA2 security protocol that has been protecting wi-fi–not very securely though–will get an upgrade after 14 years. Hackers or other data thieves will not be able to steal information with the conventional methods as the upgrade offers additional features. The Wi-Fi Alliance, which sets new standards for wi-fi security have begun WPA3 certification. This protocol would, as expected, provide additional protections which will make it difficult for hackers to crack the password only by guessing it number of times. Furthermore, another addition restricts what hackers can see if they somehow discover the password. On the other hand, users will not experience any change. They need to type the password and connect to the network. However, these new standards will not be implemented overnight. It will be a long process.
A new router supporting the new standards need to be brought. The same goes for the gadgets. Another commendable feature introduced by the group is, the devices and routers that support WPA3 will also support WPA2. So, the new devices will not stop working if they support the upgraded standards.
Among new protections offered by the Wi-Fi Alliance is the security against offline and password-guessing threats. In this type of attack, the attacker collects data from wi-fi stream, gets it to a personal computer, and guesses the password until matched. With new protection guidelines in place, the hacker will be able to guess the password only once against the offline data. However, hackers need to guess the password with the live wi-fi.
Another significant addition made by the alliance is the forward secrecy. This is a privacy feature which enables security of the data from the attack. If the hacker collects an encrypted wi-fi transmission, determines the password, and tries to read the older data, it will be impossible to gain access to the older data. They will see the information flowing at that time over the network. These changes are applicable to home as well as personal wi-fi uses.
The rollout for WPA3 will begin to accelerate over the next year. It has not been made mandatory in new routers and gadgets. The next generation of Wi-Fi, 802.11ax, would emerge and hit huge adoption in late 2019. As these devices will emerge, the Alliance projected that the speed of adoption of WPA3 would ramp up considerably. As the adoption increases massively, the Alliance stated that it will be necessary to get WPA3 certified. Although the WPA2 protocol is more than a decade old, there were few changes made as the new exploits were discovered.
Along with the announcement of WPA3 protocol, the Alliance announced another feature of wi-fi called as Easy Connect. It would facilitate the process of connecting smart home gadgets to the router. Connecting smart home gadgets would be difficult if there is no buttons or screen on those gadgets. With the help of Easy Connect, users need to scan the QR code with phone and send wi-fi credentials automatically to the new device. However, the support from many parties will be required for this feature to work. The vibe is positive around WPA3 announcement. Many telecom companies have revealed their support and began producing gadgets that would support 802.11ax and WPA3. Let us see how this new standard will be adopted.