It looks like Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA3) wireless network security has finally arrived and that might be a good thing at WPA2 has been around for almost 14 years. Recently a number of flaws have been discovered on the common security protocol used by most all modern Wi-Fi devices, including computers, phones, routers and IoT devices. The Wi-Fi Alliance claims that billions of devices use WPA2, so any vulnerability in Wi-Fi security is a big deal for all wireless users. The latest significant flaw in the WPA2 protocol let attackers intercept passwords was known as Key Reinstallation AttaCK (KRACK) in 2017. KRACK breaks the WPA2 protocol by forcing nonce reuse in encryption algorithms used by Wi-Fi. Thankfully firmware updates were able to mitigate the KRACK exploit, but it showed that more security was needed. Thankfully the WPA3 standard has been being worked on behind closed doors and promises to improve on the WPA2 protocol with more security features. Qualcomm announced this morning that they will be moving be moving to the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED WPA3 security protocol on the company’s portfolio of mobile and networking infrastructure products! What are the key new features of the WPA3 standard? The Wi-Fi Alliance has highlighted four new capabilities for personal and enterprise Wi-Fi networks as part of WPA3:
Four new capabilities for personal and enterprise Wi-Fi networks will emerge in 2018 as part of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED WPA3. Two of the features will deliver robust protections even when users choose passwords that fall short of typical complexity recommendations, and will simplify the process of configuring security for devices that have limited or no display interface. Another feature will strengthen user privacy in open networks through individualized data encryption. Finally, a 192-bit security suite, aligned with the Commercial National Security Algorithm (CNSA) Suite from the Committee on National Security Systems, will further protect Wi-Fi networks with higher security requirements such as government, defense, and industrial.
Qualcomm Technologies plans on incorporating WPA3 security features into their chipsets this summer for mobile devices beginning with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform and on all Wi-Fi networking infrastructure products. Qualcomm also announced implementation of these advanced security features, including the recently launched 2×2 802.11ax-ready solution for client devices, the WCN3998, and IPQ807x AP platform. WPA3 encryption in the WCN3998 and IPQ807x AP platform boosts security protections even when users choose Wi-Fi passwords that fall short of common complexity recommendations. These advanced security features are designed to enable consumers to use their smartphones to quickly configure their IoT devices to work on their home network. When using devices in public or open networks, users will also enjoy stronger data privacy protections, by receiving individual 192-bit user encryption.
“At Qualcomm Technologies, we’re committed to working closely with industry bodies like the Wi-Fi Alliance to develop security standards to best protect data traffic across networks and devices, especially as security threats and attacks continue to become increasingly sophisticated,” said Rahul Patel, senior vice president and general manager, connectivity & networking, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “By adopting the latest in encryption technology to protect Wi-Fi connected products from security attacks, Qualcomm Technologies helps customers build products that not only deliver the industry’s latest technologies to the market, but adopt the most advanced security standard available.”
The number and sophistication of security attacks continue to rise, so we are glad to see Qualcomm leading the way with the WPA3 security protocol. To the best of our knowledge, Qualcomm is the first company to implement WPA3 advance security features in 11ax solutions that are targeted to be deployed in late 2018 and early 2019. We can’t wait for WPA3 to be added as it means safer, more secure Wi-Fi networks. Eventually, all your devices will support WPA3 and you can disable WPA2 connectivity the same way you likely already do with WPA and WEP devices on your router today.