Wi-Fi Security Finally Gets Its First Major Upgrade in 14 Years

June 26, 2018, 1:24 PM UTC

Wi-Fi is quickly becoming ubiquitous through society, permeating not only the home and office, but public spaces as well. The technology’s wide footprint, though, has underscored some of its security issues. Now, for the first time in 14 years, it’s getting a big update.

The Wi-Fi Alliance has launched WPA3, a new standard for wireless internet that better encrypts data, making it harder for third parties to intercept that information. Password sign-ins will also offer an extra layer of protection.

Beyond that, a program announced in conjunction with WPA3 will make it easier to hook up smart home devices to your Wi-Fi network. Easy Connect will let you use your phone to set up connections that have no display or a minuscule one.

The new standard won’t automatically appear on current devices, though. You’ll have to install patches as they’re offered by your manufacturer and some older devices may not receive updates.

If you’ve got an older Wi-Fi device, don’t worry, the current standard (WPA2) isn’t going away in the short term. The two protocols are interoperable, though WPA3 will become required over time, according to the Wi-Fi Alliance.

The group didn’t give a timeline for that mandatory integration, but if history is any indicator, it could be sometime in 2020. WPA2 began certification in 2004 and became mandatory in March 2006.

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