Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Operations

WPA3 Brings New Authentication and Encryption to Wi-Fi

The Wi-Fi Alliance officially launches its latest protocol, which offers new capabilities for personal, enterprise, and IoT wireless networks.

Wi-Fi connections soon will become easier to secure with a newly available security protocol from the Wi-Fi Alliance.

WPA3 is the latest version of Wi-Fi Protected Access, a suite of protocols and technologies that provide authentication and encryption for Wi-Fi networks. WPA3, which was first announced earlier this year, is now available for inclusion in products. It brings two deployment models, personal and enterprise, along with a related security set called Easy Connect.

Kevin Robinson, vice president of marketing for the Wi-Fi Alliance, says WPA3 is intended to meet the security needs of wireless users in a security landscape that has become very dynamic. "WPA3 simplifies configuration and adds more authentication and increased cryptographic levels," Robinson says.

The primary enhancement to WPA3 Personal is in the authentication process, where WPA3 makes brute-force dictionary attacks much more difficult and time-consuming for an attacker. "For every guess at a password the attacker has to interact with the network," Robinson explains.

WPA3 Personal authentication is a process called a simultaneous authentication of equals (SAE), which comes from the IETF Dragonfly key exchange. Robinson says that with SAE, the authentication requires interaction, and only after authentication will the keys be generated. This makes attacks that depend on cloud-based server farms and automated key attempts unavailable to attackers.

WPA3 Enterprise provides 192-bit encryption, critical for Wi-Fi networks handling sensitive personal or intellectual property data. In addition, both WPA3 flavors disallow certain previous encryption algorithms while still providing a path for transition to the new standard. "You do have to think about how to transition. [The standard does] define a transition network, but they only allow WPA2 to blend with WPA3," he says.

While WPA3 Personal and Enterprise will see primary deployment for end devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones, IoT devices get their own new security with Easy Connect. This standard allows a device with a rich user interface to on-board devices with no UI. For example, a tablet or phone can be used to bring Web cams onto the network.

Robinson says that in a typical device enrollment, the new device will come with QR code, which the administrator will scan with a phone. The phone then "introduces" the IoT device to the network.

Asked about large-scale device enrollment, Robinson says that Easy Connect is scalable so that devices can be batch-introduced to the network. Easy Connect supports WPA2 and WPA3 networks and has provisions for future enhancements such as individual device management through the standard.

Robinson says that, as adoption grows, WPA3 will become mandatory in certified equipment. "Right now, WPA2 is mandatory, with WPA3 optional," he says though he expects that, by late 2019, there will be near-universal adoption of WPA3. 

Roughly 3 billion devices connect to a Wi-Fi network each year, according to the Wi-Fi Alliance.

Related Content:

Why Cybercriminals Attack: A DARK READING VIRTUAL EVENT Wednesday, June 27. Industry experts will offer a range of information and insight on who the bad guys are – and why they might be targeting your enterprise. Go here for more information on this free event.

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Editor at Dark Reading. In this role he focuses on product and technology coverage for the publication. In addition he works on audio and video programming for Dark Reading and contributes to activities at Interop ITX, Black Hat, INsecurity, and ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Mobile Banking Malware Up 50% in First Half of 2019
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  1/17/2020
Exploits Released for As-Yet Unpatched Critical Citrix Flaw
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  1/13/2020
Microsoft to Officially End Support for Windows 7, Server 2008
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  1/13/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
The Year in Security: 2019
This Tech Digest provides a wrap up and overview of the year's top cybersecurity news stories. It was a year of new twists on old threats, with fears of another WannaCry-type worm and of a possible botnet army of Wi-Fi routers. But 2019 also underscored the risk of firmware and trusted security tools harboring dangerous holes that cybercriminals and nation-state hackers could readily abuse. Read more.
Flash Poll
[Just Released] How Enterprises are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
[Just Released] How Enterprises are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
Organizations have invested in a sweeping array of security technologies to address challenges associated with the growing number of cybersecurity attacks. However, the complexity involved in managing these technologies is emerging as a major problem. Read this report to find out what your peers biggest security challenges are and the technologies they are using to address them.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-7227
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-18
Westermo MRD-315 1.7.3 and 1.7.4 devices have an information disclosure vulnerability that allows an authenticated remote attacker to retrieve the source code of different functions of the web application via requests that lack certain mandatory parameters. This affects ifaces-diag.asp, system.asp, ...
CVE-2019-15625
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-18
A memory usage vulnerability exists in Trend Micro Password Manager 3.8 that could allow an attacker with access and permissions to the victim's memory processes to extract sensitive information.
CVE-2019-19696
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-18
A RootCA vulnerability found in Trend Micro Password Manager for Windows and macOS exists where the localhost.key of RootCA.crt might be improperly accessed by an unauthorized party and could be used to create malicious self-signed SSL certificates, allowing an attacker to misdirect a user to phishi...
CVE-2019-19697
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-18
An arbitrary code execution vulnerability exists in the Trend Micro Security 2019 (v15) consumer family of products which could allow an attacker to gain elevated privileges and tamper with protected services by disabling or otherwise preventing them to start. An attacker must already have administr...
CVE-2019-20357
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-18
A Persistent Arbitrary Code Execution vulnerability exists in the Trend Micro Security 2020 (v160 and 2019 (v15) consumer familiy of products which could potentially allow an attacker the ability to create a malicious program to escalate privileges and attain persistence on a vulnerable system.