Today, a little over five months after it was announced in January, WPA3, a new Wi-Fi security protocol and the successor to WPA2, is finally official. The Wi-Fi Alliance, the nonprofit organization that certifies Wi-Fi networking standards, introduced a certification program for the two forthcoming flavors of WPA3 — WPA3-Personal and WPA3-Enterprise — alongside Wi-Fi Easy Connect, a new program that simplifies the process of pairing Wi-Fi devices without displays.
“It’s the next generation of security for personal and enterprise networks,” Kevin Robinson, vice president of marketing at the Wi-Fi Alliance, told VentureBeat in a phone interview. “One of the most important roles for the Wi-Fi Alliance is to ensure that the industry is staying ahead of emerging threats.”
WPA, an acronym for Wi-Fi Protected Access, authenticates wireless devices using the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) protocol. It’s intended to prevent malicious third parties from spying on wireless data, but in October 2017, security researchers uncovered KRACK, a flaw in WPA2 that allows determined attackers to see, decrypt, and even manipulate network traffic. In the intervening months, most newer phones, laptops, and Wi-Fi routers received firmware updates containing patches for the exploit, but WPA3 was engineered from the ground up to address WPA2’s technical shortcomings.
WPA3-Personal and WPA-Enterprise networks have a few things in common. They both disallow legacy protocols, meaning that WPA2 devices can’t connect to WPA3-exclusive hotspots that don’t have a special transitional mode enabled, and…