The WiFi Alliance has announced that the WPA3 security protocol will be released later this year, a move intended to provide more secure WiFi networking following the KRACK security flaw uncovered in autumn last year.
It will be the first upgrade to the WiFi Protected Access (WPA) protocol since 2006, and the WPA3 update had been planned for some time before KRACK made it a matter of urgency.
WPA3 follows on from WPA2 (logically enough). New features will include extra protection for people who come up with ridiculously insecure passwords, a better way of configuring devices that don't have displays in a manner more secure than WPS, better privacy for WiFi from public hotspots and other open environments by individualising the encryption.
Perhaps most interesting, though, is a 192-bit security suite intended to conform to the US Commercial National Security Algorithm (CNSA) - better known as "best practice".
Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of WiFi Alliance said: "Security is a foundation of WiFi Alliance certification programs, and we are excited to introduce new features to the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED family of security solutions."
He added: "The WiFi CERTIFIED designation means WiFi devices [will] meet the highest standards for interoperability and security protections."
Given the number of network devices that will be announced or on show at CES, there's likely to be a fair amount of hubris among vendors whose equipment will be able to conform to the new WPA3 standard with little more than a firmware upgrade combined with, perhaps, an air of despair among manufacturers that will need to rush out new products to conform, in view of the current febrile atmosphere surrounding IT security.
The WiFi Alliance has promised that WPA3 will be backwards compatible for those who are likely to be slow to upgrade.
But very likely that a lot of WiFi equipment won't be upgradable and this kit will increasingly be targeted by malicious threat actors, no doubt forcing a round of updates.
Hopefully, ISPs will be among the first to offer WPA3-compatible kit to customers, especially ISPs that already have a tarnished reputation for IT security.
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