In the world of technology and security, there is plenty of room for improvements and upgrades. Especially when it comes to wireless internet connectivity, the number of problems to be solved is quite significant. The new WPA3 standard may finally help to shake things up a bit. The Wi-Fi Alliance is quite confident this new standard will replace WPA2 very quickly and improve all wireless internet security.
A Brief Introduction to WPA3
Over the past few years, multiple Wi-Fi standards have come and gone. Every new iteration provided more security without sacrificing convenience or user-friendliness. In fact, most people don’t even remember when WPA32 was first introduced, as it has become such a common standard these days. Moreover, most devices which connect to the internet wirelessly are more than capable of supporting the WPA2 standard without any issues.
When the new WPA3 standard is officially integrated, however, it may take some time until consumer-grade devices support it. It shouldn’t require much of a hardware upgrade, but manufacturers will need to issue new firmware to support this new authentication model. Given the plans by the Wi-Fi Alliance to have WPA3 replace WPA2 altogether, it is evident some things will need to change in the coming months. After all, WPA2 has been around for nearly two decades now, and thus it is due time to look for new solutions.
What this new standard introduces is a major solution to a common security problem. Most consumers are comfortable using open Wi-Fi networks, despite the security risks they present. Unprotected networks can be hijacked by criminals who can then snoop on all internet data passing through the hijacked hotspot. Most coffee shops, airports, and other public places nowadays provide wireless internet to consumers. Unfortunately, such internet traffic is unencrypted, and thus the current standard must be replaced.
More specifically, WPA3 introduces individualized encryption of data. The connection between devices and the network will be scrambled, and it ensures that secrets are kept safe. Moreover, this should prevent attackers from manipulating the websites people visit when they’re connected to such a network. Furthermore, WPA3 will protect against brute-force dictionary attacks, which can only be considered a good thing. It will be interesting to see whether hackers come up with clever ways to successfully crack passwords, though.
Last but not least, the new standard automatically blocks attackers after a certain number of invalid login attempts. For some reason, such a feature has never been present in WPA2 by default. It will be interesting to see how long it takes the entire world to embrace WPA3 in this regard, as it will require a fair amount of work on the part of device owners. At the same time, no one will deny there is a need for a more secure Wi-Fi standard, as things have gotten somewhat out of hand lately.
It is expected that the first devices to support WPA3 will come on the scene at some point in 2018, though no specific date has been announced as of yet. It will be interesting to see how many device manufacturers decide to upgrade their existing firmware to accommodate the new standard. Given the millions of wireless devices out there, it is not unlikely that quite a few will be left out. New security standards can only protect people if adoption happens fairly quickly.