1, 2, 3: secure your WiFi

Image: Wi-Fi Alliance

Wi-Fi alliance introduced a new version of Wi-Fi security that should become available in 2018, called WPA3.

A little bit of history: wireless signals are particularly vulnerable to people who want to listen in on your communication, or even manipulate it. As the signal travels freely through the air, anyone in the general vicinity can pick it up, really.

The first attempt at securing Wi-Fi was called WEP.  It didn’t last long. WEP encryption was implemented in such a way that encryption codes were reused periodically. A hacker could just eavesdrop for a while, record the conversation and then crunch the numbers, looking for similarities. As the guys in this video show, getting the password can be done in minutes.

New security measures were introduced: first WPA, then WPA2. You may have been told to configure your home router to use WPA2 and that’s still solid advice! Some vulnerabilities in WPA2 have popped up, but unless your password is 12345 or secret, WPA2 can still be considered secure for all practical purposes.

However: a large group of Internet users were left out in the cold! What if you happen to run a restaurant, cafe, bus service or airport and want to provide free Wi-Fi as a service to your customers?  You could either protect your network with WPA2, and be bothered constantly by people asking you for the Wi-Fi password. Or, you could just make it an open hotspot. People could connect a lot more easily, but the downside is that their communication will not be protected against those with bad intentions. If your customers get hacked on your network… well, that’s not a good show.

WPA3 promises improvement by offering individualized data encryption in open networks. Furthermore, it should make it easier to connect IoT devices to your network and finally it will even help you out if you did, in fact, choose 12345 to be your password!

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