IT'S BEEN A LONG TIME COMING, but WiFi is finally getting its largest security upgrade in over a decade.
The rollout of the WPA3 certification has started and unsurprisingly will replace the WPA2 security protocol. Go figure.
WPA2 has been around since 2004, so in tech terms is pretty much a fossil. It's successor, WPA3, will bring in more security protections for devices connected and communicating over WiFi, notably making it tougher for hackers to break through password protection using guesswork and brute force techniques including those that are conducted offline.
It'll also mean that the data hackers can view becomes limited even once they've passed password protection. Security configurations for devices that have no user interface will also be simplified, which should be a boon for the small Internet of Things devices with limited UI and onboard software.
One interesting addition is "forward secrecy" which the WiFi Alliance, the folks behind WPA3, noted will prevent older data from being access even if an encrypted WiFi transmission is intercepted by a hacker and cracked. Older data will remain secured and hackers will only be able to glimpse at the data flowing across the network at the time; not great, but a lot better than seeing a hacker with access to historical data.
The changes will affect pretty much every WiFi connection around, from home setups to major enterprise networks.
That being said, the adoption of WPA3 won't be made mandatory in new products for the time being, which could raise an eyebrow towards those companies that aren't adopting the protocol. It's worth noting, though, that WPA2 has been updated over the course of its life and still offers a decent measure of security.
Expect the likes of Intel, Qualcomm, Huawei, Cisco and other big tech brands to spearhead the adoption of WPA3, with others likely to follow suit as 2019 comes rolling around. µ
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