New security standard could mean spending more.
A new version of the encryption technology that protects wireless network connections has been released. Version 3 of WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) was first announced in January 2018, but it’s now ready for manufacturers to include in their products.
Coming around 14 years after the release of its predecessor, WPA2, WPA3 has been ratified by the Wi-Fi Alliance, which will now start rolling out certification. As with previous versions, WPA improves on what came before, introducing stronger security and usability improvements.
There will be both consumer and enterprise versions of WPA3, with the latter including advanced functionality not required in the consumer version. Key features highlighted on the Wi-Fi Alliance website include:
WPA3-Personal: more resilient, password-based authentication even when users choose passwords that fall short of typical complexity recommendations. WPA3 leverages Simultaneous Authentication of Equals (SAE), a secure key establishment protocol between devices, to provide stronger protections for users against password guessing attempts by third parties.
WPA3-Enterprise: offers the equivalent of 192-bit cryptographic strength, providing additional protections for networks transmitting sensitive data, such as government or finance. The 192-bit security suite ensures a consistent combination of cryptographic tools are deployed across WPA3 networks.
Business Implications Of WPA3
While some networking equipment, such as wireless routers, may be able to support WPA3 after a firmware update, many will need to be replaced. The same goes for devices that connect to Wi-Fi, like smartphones and tablets.
There is, however, no need to panic. It will take quite some time for manufacturers to start producing WPA3-compatible devices and for users adoption to become widespread. In the meantime, WPA2 will work just as well as it always has, and even when you do finally upgrade to a WPA3 router, your old devices will still be able to connect via WPA2 if they don’t support the newer standard.
There isn’t, then, any need to rush out and replace all your networking equipment. However, it makes sense to plan for the future, and if you want your workplace Wi-Fi to be as secure as it can be, WPA3 will be the way forward.
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