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WPA3 and how to improve the security of your wi-fi

The future is smart; the future is connected. Wi-fi has become central to how we live and work, but portability, the Internet of Things and working across multiple devices come with a hefty risk of wireless network attacks.

Introduced earlier this year by the Wi-Fi Alliance, WPA3 is the next generation of wi-fi security, offering improved encryption and authentication. That’s good news for both home and business networks.

How WPA3 works

WPA3 incorporates Simultaneous Authentication of Equals (SAE), a secure key establishment protocol between devices. By using a stronger ‘handshaking’ protocol, users should be protected from password guessing attempts. For home networks, that equates to password-based authentication that’s more resilient, even if users choose unsophisticated passwords.

For businesses, WPA3-Enterprise essentially offers 192-bit cryptographic strength to bolster the security of corporate networks that might be transferring sensitive data. Bigger session keys are generated, making them harder to crack. And there are Protected Management Frames, designed to confound authentication attacks.

How to get WPA3 protected

New routers should ship with WPA3 technology as standard, as endorsed by some of the biggest tech brands. While WPA3 takes hold, WPA2 devices use a ‘transitional mode of operation’.

The biggest risk in moving over to the new technology lies in low uptake – or even some systems reverting to previous standards to preserve backward compatibility. The original WEP standard is even still in use on some networks.

What it means for your small business

A few months on from the launch and it’s clear that it will take some time for manufacturers to release their own WPA3-enabled devices and for most users to move over. In the meantime, WPA2 will continue to do a good job, and, even when you do finally upgrade to a WPA3 router, your old devices will still be able to connect using WPA2 if they don’t yet support the newer standard.

So, there’s no need to rush out and replace your networking equipment. It is, however, worth planning for the future. If you want your business’ wi-fi to be as secure as possible, WPA3 should be on your horizon.

With over 25 years’ experience helping small businesses in London and the south east succeed, we’re well placed to help you navigate connectivity and cyber security. Get in touch to find out how we can improve your IT.