Your router comes with a layer of security that keeps the network safe. To the average person, this security is the password they need to enter in order to connect to the network but it’s far more complicated than that if you look under the hood. The password is part of the security protocol that a router uses to keep your network and your connection safe and your router isn’t the only one that employs a security protocol.
Your devices, whether it’s your phone or your computer, also make use of a security protocol to protect your online activity as well as your devices from hackers. At present, all devices and routers use the WPA2 security protocol but that is going to change over the course of the next few years. The next WiFi security standard developed by the WiFi Alliance is ready for certification. Dubbed WPA3, this new security protocol is built to tackle the shortcomings of WPA2, and meet the security needs of growing IoT devices.
WPA3 WiFi Security Standard
The WPA3 WiFi security standard is the successor of WPA2. At present, it’s only in its certification stage and you can’t find a device that supports it just yet. Once it rolls out though, it will make WiFi, particularly public WiFi more secure. It will also plug security holes created by IoT devices on your network, make hacking your network much more difficult, and encrypt your data better.
Protection Against Brute Force Attacks
WPA3 offers protection against brute force attacks. At present, the WPA2 protocol allows hackers to basically bombard your network with attempt after attempt at guessing the password. In many cases, they succeed by sheer force and volume of tries but also by relying on intelligent guesswork, and poor password setting conventions followed by users. With WPA3, this method will no longer work because passwords are authenticated differently. Each password attempt forces the device to communicate with the network. The devices will authenticate differently compared to the way they did in WPA2 making a brute force attack much less effective.
WiFi Easy Connect
One of the chief things this new protocol targets is security for IoT. WPA2 never had to deal with devices that had no proper control panel for connecting to networks. At the time, not many people might have envisioned their fridge or thermostat connecting to the internet, or their WiFi network but that is how things are today. To make it easier to connect these devices to your network, WPA3 has WiFi easy connect whereby a reliable device already connected to your network such as your phone will scan a QR code on your router and the device you want to connect to. Your phone will act as an intermediary to connect the device to your network. Easy Connect is optional so while it’s a great new addition, users will need to consciously look for and buy devices that support it if they want to use it.
Data Encryption On Public WiFi
It’s no secret that public WiFi is never considered safe. Even for private WiFi networks, security experts recommend using a VPN to keep your data safe. With WPA3, you no longer have to worry about public WiFi being unsafe. If the router, and your device both support this protocol your data on the network will be encrypted.
Impact On Devices
Devices, both routers and network cards used in phones and computers, will need to be updated to this standard. In some cases, existing routers and devices will be able to switch to WPA3 with a firmware or driver update however, in most cases you’re looking at buying new hardware. This means buying a new phone, a new computer, and a new router. It might sound expensive but the new protocol will become common in the next few years and most people are likely to buy a new device. Older devices that can only support WPA2 will still be able to connect to a router that supports WPA3 so you’re not going to wake up one day with a device that cannot connect to the internet.
At present, there are no devices that comply with WPA3. Certifications for it have only been announced a few days ago and it will take a reasonable amount of time for device manufacturers to become certified. Only time will tell which existing devices can be updated, and which ones need an upgrade.