As the technology continues to progress and develop further, so do the threats that reside in the online world. Cyber threats become more sophisticated as time goes by. Fortunately for everyone, new cybersecurity measures are also being developed to counter the rising threat of cyber crime. Nowadays, many people are highly dependent on the Internet connections and their access to the online world. The most popular method of accessing the web is certainly via wireless connections or simply Wi-Fi. However, Wi-Fi connections aren’t as secure as people would like them to be.

This is especially true for public connections, such as coffee shops, libraries and others people so often love to connect to, in order to cut costs of Internet provider’s services. Those Wi-Fi connections that were more secured, utilized the good old WPA2 (Wireless Protected Access) security protocol. However, after 14 years of implementation, WPA2 is becoming outdated and easily exploitable by hackers. As mentioned before, new security measures are here to make people safe. The new WPA3 will soon replace the old protocols, in order to make the Wi-Fi connections more secure. Here a few things to look forward to.

Farewell to WPA2

WPA2 was the latest generation of wireless security protocols. It’s a direct successor of older WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) and WAP protocols. The way it works is that it encrypts the communications between wireless access points and devices using the connection, by utilizing passwords and security checks called handshakes.

The main difference between WPA2 and its predecessor WPA is that WPA2 uses AES (Advanced Encryption Standard), as well as CCMP (Counter Cipher Mode with Block Chaining Message Authentication Code Protocol) systems. They replaced the old TKIP (Temporal Key Integrity Protocol) used in WPA. Essentially, this security system prevents attacks such as “man-in-the-middle” from taping into wireless data. Still, hackers are managing to breach these security protocols which is an important concern for consumers. Luckily, WPA3 is going to change all that.  

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Welcome WPA3

Due to the increase in cyber attacks, the Wi-Fi Alliance has announced the development and release of the newest WPA3 security protocol for wireless devices. What’s more, manufacturers who wish to produce devices with this protocol will have to fully implement its new features, in order to market their devices as Wi-Fi Certified for WPA3. That being said, the new WPA3 protocol will add four new security features that aren’t present in the old WPA2 protocol. In addition, the WPA3 will be available on the market later this year.

Secured public connections

As mentioned before, people often prefer to connect to public Wi-Fi connections in order to save money. Connections in cafés, libraries, hotels and so on aren’t secured at best. Sometimes, they don’t even require a password. This is a major flaw and can be easily exploited by hackers. Since people don’t want to worry about security, the WPA3 protocol will do it for them.

One of the features in WPA3 is that it will automatically secure and encrypt the connection between a device and public connection, even if the connection is not secured or lacks password security. This feature is called “Individualized Data Encryption“, which will make even the open and public connections private. In other words, anyone wishing to snoop on your activity will have to bypass the encryption first, which is hardly worth the trouble.  

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Protection from brute force attacks

One of the major flaws in WPA2 protocols is that it could be hacked via brute force attacks, such as guessing the password until the correct one is found. The WPA3 protocol offers more security from such attacks, even if users choose a password that’s not long or complex enough. The way it will work is that WAP3 will carry improvements to the handshake security checks. It will provide more robust protection against similar hack attempts.

More friendly towards IoT devices

Internet of Things (IoT) has become omnipresent in today’s world. People rely more and more on smart devices and often connect them to their Wi-Fi network or their smartphones. The old WPA2 protocol was designed to interact with devices that utilize screens, such as phones, tablets, laptops and so on. Nowadays, there are smart devices that don’t have a screen, which means you cannot set specific passwords for them. WAP3 will gap this problem by allowing you to configure security measures for such devices. However, it’s still unclear as to how this feature will work exactly.

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More security for governments

WPA3 protocol will utilize 192-bit security with the addition of CNSA (Commercial National Security Algorithm) developed by Committee on National Security Systems. It’s primarily meant for industrial applications, governments and defense agencies, to allow them the use of Wi-Fi connections in a more efficient and secure way.

 

The new WPA3 security protocol is certainly a much-needed improvement. It will not only improve the security measures of Wi-Fi devices, but it will also help protect users who are not much worried about implementing proper security.

Posted by Raul Harman