Wifi WPA3: a new, more secure version
The WiFi access security protocol, WPA2, dates all the way back to 2004, and the WiFi alliance had to remedy this situation since recent attacks known as KRACK have demonstrated the vulnerability of the system. Piracy of private accounts has been multiplying in recent months. The industry has responded and is now proposing a new standard: WPA3.
“WPA3 adds new features to simplify Wi-Fi security, enable more robust authentication, and deliver increased cryptographic strength.” notes the Wi-Fi Alliance (in its press release). Nevertheless, its deployment will take time because it means that all of the equipment of companies and individuals will have to be replaced.
But what are the real advances made by this new protocol?
Based on a protocol called “Simultaneous Authentication of Equals”, the negotiation phase of WPA3 will now be immune to the majority of the problems faced today. For example, if the password chosen by the user is weak, hackers will no longer be able to attempt their brute force or dictionary attacks. They will no longer have access to past conversations thanks to the forward secrecy. But the most remarkable progress concerns the general public. Until now, public networks were either completely open to access or accessible by a password known by many people (like that of a hotel or a restaurant). This new version will establish an encrypted connection between any user and the WiFi access point via a cryptographic algorithm.
Note also that WPA3 will make it easier to connect to all our connected objects without a screen. A simple QR code can be scanned and the terminal will directly send the security elements to ensure the connection. This is the official announcement. In concrete terms, it is necessary to wait for the end of 2018 to see the arrival of the first materials compatible with this new standard and the change of the required equipment will certainly take a little longer. This will be the case unless we adopt this protocol very quickly and our requirement to secure our data motivates all of the market players to force a faster pace of change.
Already seven generations of WiFi
Remember that WiFi is already in its seventh generation. At the end of the 90s, Apple’s first AirPort was the ancestor of the connection standard. In 99, WiFi, under the code names 802.11a and 802.11b (for individuals and businesses), allowed communications at a rate of 11 Mb/s. Now broadband can theoretically allow up to 5 Gb/s (about 500 times faster)! Most of our networks are saturated so it is rare that the flow is guaranteed and we all know about the micro-cuts that disrupt our downloads and the viewing of our favorite series. Optical fiber supports 100 Mb/s and this therefore requires the latest generation of WiFi for proper operation.
Should we forget WPA2?
The WiFi Alliance is trying to reassure us by noting that it “introduced enhancements and new features earlier this year . . . to ensure WPA2 maintains strong security protections as the wireless landscape evolves.” Everything is fine! Progress is being made everywhere…