If you have had issues with the security of your internet connectivity, it is quite possible the technician would have told you the vulnerability is in your Wi-Fi connection.
Well, the Wi-Fi Alliance appears to have woken up to this fact, now introducing a new security protocol to take care of it.
It is after a gap of almost 14 years that this version of Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA3) will be released. The previous version, WPA, was first released more than a decade ago in 2004.
The new version should be made available for use during this year. Interestingly, the announcement regarding WPA3 was made during the 2018 Consumer Electronics Showheld in Las Vegas last week.
Four Distinct Changes Made in WPA3
If one were to go deeper and find what enhancements have been brought about in WPA3 as compared the predecessor version, there are four features that can be highlighted.
The security experts at Wi-Fi Alliance—a worldwide network of technology companies including giants like Apple, Microsoft, Intel, Samsung and Cisco—listened to public feedback on the vulnerabilities many users are experiencing.
And officials are now addressing those comments in the new version of WPA3.
The first aspect relates to password protection and using firewall to avoid possible attacks. The second new feature will take care of the configuration process, where the display interfaces are not very elaborate.
This can be applied to technology such as sensor and IoT devices—WPA3 will fortify the security and make them less vulnerable to attacks.
There have been reports that devices like home speakers, invariably connected through Wi-Fi, are extremely risky when it comes to cyber attacks. Hopefully, the new revision will put an end to this.
Vulnerabilities in Open Networks Addressed in WPA3
The third factor that WPA3 has tried to address is the security risk users face when they use open networks.
Increasingly, public places like malls and restaurants are offering their customers free Wi-Fi connectivity. The new WPA3 devices will allow for data encryption and do away with the configuration of a network password.
It should be noted here that the Alliance has not yet provided the full details of the technical aspects they have incorporated into the WPA3 edition.
In the absence of such details, it may not be feasible to understand the implications of this improvement.
WPA3 Offers Enhancements to Government Networks
The Wi-Fi Alliance’s latest attempt at improving the security environment is aimed at networks used by the government, particularly within defense and large industrial establishments.
Here, the WPA3 has chosen to adopt and comply with the Commercial National Security Algorithm (CNSA) Suite. This security protocol has to be followed by networks that connect to any government-run site and/or service.
Wrap Up of WPA3
With all these improvements, it is hoped that users belonging to each of these categories will feel safer from undesirable breaches in their networks connected through Wi-Fi.
As even the makers of devices like routers are also present in the Alliance, it is hoped that the next generation of devices adopting the WPA3 protocol will ease users’ concerns in the future.
With the introduction of the new and improved protocol, device developers must have their products “certified” to be able to sell them to customers.
The surprising element in this whole exercise is that the Alliance, with many major tech giants as members, took more than a decade to employ these improvements and enhancements in the security protocol.
With the end-users of Wi-Fi being of all ranks of society, there is always the issue of very weak passwords being created, thus exposing public networks to hackers.
But with WPA3, this aspect is being addressed through a system that protects weak passwords. Additionally, the new protocol directly addresses users’ concerns about the security of open networks.
Wi-Fi users at large, whether commercial or individual, will likely be quite satisfied with the enhanced security of the new protocol. In fact, many have already welcomed the move.
The next phase will be to wait until the new “Wi-Fi Certified” devices will hit the shelves so users can browse the internet with more confidence in their security.