WPA3: The Safer Future of Wifi

WPA3: The Safer Future of Wifi

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According to Brian Barrett at Wired, there are currently more Wifi enabled devices in use around the world than there are people.  That means that protecting your connection from hackers has become one of everybody’s top cybersecurity concerns.

The current wireless security protocol, WPA2, dates back to 2004, a time when flip phones were cool… because there was no such thing as a smartphone.  This means that the WPA2 system has many holes in its security, leaving wifi users vulnerable to a cyberattack.

Password attacks are one of the most common cyber attacks and quite easy to do on the current WPA2 protocol.  Hackers can utilize “offline dictionary attacks” to take unlimited guesses at a password, without having to be on that network.  There is a way to protect yourself from these dictionary attacks, even with the WPA2 protocol: change your password. These dictionary attack hackers can no longer guess your password when it is 16 or 30 characters long.  

However, once you upgrade to the WPA3 protocol, you won’t even need to change your easily guessable password.  The new system uses a “Simultaneous Authentication of Equals Handshake.” This protocol forces hackers to interact with the system every time they take a guess at the password, making dictionary attacks significantly harder and less likely to occur.  It also ensures that if your password is compromised, “any traffic that came across your transom before an outsider gained access will remain encrypted,” Barrett said.

Connecting to new networks is another risky task on the WPA2 protocol.  Users are warned to never access sensitive data while on a public network.  The WPA3 system uses Wi-Fi Easy Connect. It automatically encrypts all of your data as soon as you connect to a new wifi network.  It also saves networks that it has established a secure connection with previously.

There are some downfalls to upgrading to the WPA3 protocol.  For one, everyone will have to purchase new WPA3 devices as well as purchasing new WPA3 networks.  It will take time to get the system fully integrated into the digital community.

Barrett is also concerned that consumers feeling more secure on wifi networks will cause them to be careless.  Users might no longer worry about creating secure passwords. They may also not be aware that the owner of a WPA3 network can turn off the encryption feature and still hack their data.

Story via Wired

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