Wifi Alliance introduces next WPA security generation

We’ve been securing our wifi connections with WPA2 for far too long, so the Wifi Alliance has introduced certified WPA3 to make things one better.

Scott Bicheno

June 26, 2018

5 Min Read
Wifi Alliance introduces next WPA security generation

We’ve been securing our wifi connections with WPA2 for far too long, so the Wifi Alliance has introduced certified WPA3 to make things one better.

The Wifi Alliance is one of those organizations, like Qualcomm and Intel, that seems really hung up on legal protection, so it’s WPA3™ and even the word wifi seems to be a registered trade mark, although maybe that’s only when it’s written this way – Wi-Fi® – which is another good reason not to muck about with capital letters and hyphens.

So, just to be clear, all this stuff belongs to the Wifi Alliance®™@#*FFS OK? It’s a non-profit sponsored by most of the usual tech sector suspects and is an important hub for wifi quality control. WPA2 (wifi protected access) was introduced all the way back in 2004 to address security flaws in WEP, so it seems like a refresh is overdue. The big change seems to be a forking of WPA in consumer and business directions, as described in the announcement.

  • WPA3-Personal: more resilient, password-based authentication even when users choose passwords that fall short of typical complexity recommendations. WPA3 leverages Simultaneous Authentication of Equals (SAE), a secure key establishment protocol between devices, to provide stronger protections for users against password guessing attempts by third parties.

  • WPA3-Enterprise: offers the equivalent of 192-bit cryptographic strength, providing additional protections for networks transmitting sensitive data, such as government or finance. The 192-bit security suite ensures a consistent combination of cryptographic tools are deployed across WPA3 networks.

“WPA3 takes the lead in providing the industry’s strongest protections in the ever-changing security landscape,” said Edgar Figueroa, President and CEO of the Wifi Alliance®™@#*FFS. “WPA3 continues the evolution of wifi security and maintains the brand promise of Wifi Protected Access.”

As is so often the way when cross-industry non-profits make an announcement, everyone involved has to have their own canned quote or they feel all left out, so here are the rest of them:

“2018 is a transformative year for Wi-Fi with new standards being published such as WPA3, which is the latest evolution of Wi-Fi Protected Access, taking security to a level of robustness and resiliency not seen before. Coupling WPA3 with the promise of 802.11ax’s efficiency will allow Wi-Fi to reach levels of security and performance unimaginable only a few years ago.” – Alan Amrod, SVP & GM, Products & Marketing, Aerohive Networks

“Security has always been a key component of Wi-Fi’s broad appeal and Wi-Fi Alliance’s certifications. Ruckus is in full support of continuing to evolve the certification of security standards to meet potential new threats. We are actively developing new software to take full advantage of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED WPA3 for the benefit of our customers and their millions of end users around the world.” – said Mark Hamilton, Principal Networking Standards Engineer, Ruckus Networks, an ARRIS Company

“As Wi-Fi evolves to deliver more value in an ever expanding array of use cases, it’s important that security evolves too. WPA3’s new features, such as improved password based authentication and stronger encryption, will further simplify and strengthen how consumers and businesses connect to the Internet every day.” – Vijay Nagarajan, senior director of marketing for Wireless Communications and Connectivity division at Broadcom

“Cisco is in full support of Wi-Fi Alliance’s continual focus on security evolution to WPA3. The WPA3 program will bring much needed upgrades to wireless security protecting all levels of customers from consumer to enterprise/government. Cisco is committed to integrating WPA3 features into our Aironet Access Points and Wireless Controllers via a firmware upgrade so that our existing and new customers can take advantage of the capabilities offered by WPA3.” – Greg Dorai, Vice President Cisco WLAN, Cisco

“WPA3 and Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Enhanced Open provide a comprehensive security offering without added complexity. With WPA3, users will receive better experiences with passwords that are easier to remember and manage, and IT will be able to ensure consistent and strong cryptography throughout their infrastructure. Aruba has already begun to incorporate and certify WPA3 for future designs to ensure the most advanced protection for our customer’s data.” – Dan Harkins, Distinguished Technologist, Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Company

 “WPA3 is another milestone for the Wi-Fi industry, the extreme high throughput and enhanced security delivered by Wi-Fi will provide an excellent end-user experience in both consumer and enterprise markets. We are pleased to see Wi-Fi to continue to enable the digital transformation in many sectors and businesses.” – Dr. Wen Tong, Huawei Fellow, CTO, Huawei Wireless

“WPA3 brings critical updates to Wi-Fi security for personal and enterprise networks. Intel supports WPA3 and through our involvement in the test bed, we are helping our customers incorporate WPA3 into their products for enhanced security protections.” – Eric Mclaughlin – GM, CCG Wireless, Intel

 “Marvell has worked in close cooperation with Wi-Fi Alliance on Wi-Fi CERTIFIED WPA3 and Wi-Fi Easy Connect.  WPA3 builds on the widespread adoption of WPA2 and delivers a high level of security for both personal and enterprise Wi-Fi networks. We support these latest programs as together they provide strong protection against security threats while also enhancing the connectivity user experience for our customers.” – Mark Montierth, VP and GM of the Wireless Connectivity Business Unit at Marvell

“Hospitals are keenly aware of the critical importance of data privacy and security, and maintaining a robust security policy means accessing the strongest security measures available. Philips applauds Wi-Fi Alliance for building upon the success of WPA2 with the latest security mechanisms now available in WPA3.” – Phil Raymond, Director, Wireless CoE, MA&TC CTO Office, Philips Healthtech

“Qualcomm Technologies is committed to safeguarding the trust that millions of users and businesses put in Wi-Fi every day. We are proud to be among the first companies to support WPA3 across our portfolio of mobile and networking infrastructure products, and we are working closely with Wi-Fi Alliance and key stakeholders to accelerate its adoption throughout all major industries and ecosystems that rely on Wi-Fi.” – said Rahul Patel, senior vice president and general manager, connectivity and networking, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

“Silicon Motion proudly supports the industry transition to WPA3.  Our new low power Wi-Fi SoC, built for IoT applications, supports both the mandatory and optional elements of WPA3 so that our customers can enable the highest level of security possible for their Wi-Fi and low power IoT applications.”  – David Cohen, Sr. Marketing Director, Silicon Motion, Inc.

About the Author(s)

Scott Bicheno

As the Editorial Director of Telecoms.com, Scott oversees all editorial activity on the site and also manages the Telecoms.com Intelligence arm, which focuses on analysis and bespoke content.
Scott has been covering the mobile phone and broader technology industries for over ten years. Prior to Telecoms.com Scott was the primary smartphone specialist at industry analyst Strategy Analytics’. Before that Scott was a technology journalist, covering the PC and telecoms sectors from a business perspective.
Follow him @scottbicheno

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