WPA is nothing but Wifi Protected Access which is the high security standard especially designed for wireless networks. This security standard actually makes your wireless networks more protected and secure from any unauthorized access. The wifi alliance actually released WPA in the year 2003 as WEP was sometimes considered insecure and the security update of the IEEE was taking more time. When it comes to wifi alliance, it simply named the first generation as wifi protected access instead of WPA1 that was particularly designed for providing the best data encryption and user authentication than its WEP. After that, the second version WPA2 was released in the year 2004 and WPA3 in 2018.
WPA2 is Wifi Protected Access II which is the first major update to this wireless network security standard. It is specifically designed to enhance the security of available 802.11 networks. The main purpose of developing this security standard was to design something which could be organized with the easy firmware upgrade without worrying about hardware upgrades.
Whenever you are considering WPA2, it replaces the weaker option of WEP key with the highly robust and finer AES CCMP algorithms designed to replace TKIP. It is highly reliable and also very powerful than the original TKIP protocol.
If you are considering this second version of the wireless network security standard, it was completely based on the completed specifications of 802.11i that permit the use of the 802.11 x authentication. It is generally used to safeguard the wireless networks with the help of two encryption methods such as TKIP (Temporary Key Integrity Protocol) and AES (Advanced Encryption Standard).
Still, it has some weaknesses and one of them is that AES is highly computationally demanding. Other than that, still it is a healthy encryption standard that is really very hard to hack into by anyone.
The four ways handshake of WPA2 was vulnerable to offline attacks through the dictionary, particularly when the short form of passwords under 16 characters was used.
Unlike WEP & WPA, this second version of WPA2 is using the best level of AES standard rather than RC4 stream cipher. CCMP actually replaces TKIP protocol of WPA.
WPA2 is highly recommended over WPA and WEP and it is highly secure when WPS (Wifi protected Setup) is disabled. It is not actually recommended over WPA3.
WPA2 in fact gives support of PMF actually from early 2018. When it comes to the older routers, they are with unpatched firmware which will not support PMF.
Everything about WPA3 and its benefits
WPA3 is actually the Wifi Protected Access 3 which is the 3rd iteration of security protocol or standard developed by the wifi alliance & also announced in the year 2018. This third generation of wifi protected access was designed to replace the previous version of WPA2 security standard.
It actually adds a huge range of security enhancements & undertaking several options of the security vulnerabilities of the Wifi Protected Access 2 to the best level of enterprise wireless networks and also secure personal wireless networks.
- WPA3 is using the robust and highly powerful encryption by AES along with the Galois/Counter Mode Protocol (GCMP).
- Unlike WPA2, it is generally using 192 bit encryption which means that 192 credible combinations of 1s and 0s for every bit which is encrypted.
- It is the next and new generation of the well security protocol which takes the security of your wireless network to the next higher level.
- It can be possible by delivering enhanced cryptographic potency and also enabling more robust authentication for mission critical enterprise networks.
WPA3 also includes several other features such as,
- Protected Management Frames (PMF)
- Simultaneous Authentication of Equals (SAE)
- Forward Secrecy
On the other hand, WPA3 is replacing the PSK protocol with the more secure and reliable handshake mechanism called SAE (Simultaneous Authentication of Equals). It is also using the enhanced and powerful system called wifi DPP that allows all persons to use NFC QR codes in order to allow the different types of devices being connected on the wireless networks, without disturbing about passwords. This device provisioning protocol is replacing the readily usable WPS.
When considering the authentication of the WPA3, it has the highly improved authentication to connect the wireless devices. It enhanced upon the open authentication support of WPA2 by using something called OWE (Opportunistic Wireless Encryption) to encrypt all traffic of the wireless network.
WPA3 is completely safe from offline KRACK attacks and dictionary attacks. WPA3 encryption is equipped to be better than the earlier iterations of wifi technology. The security of WPA3 actually discards older encryption mechanisms in favor of the individuals who have not been broken.
During the transfer of the encryption keys between the devices and routers, wifi security of the WPA3 uses 384 bit hashed communication verification mode so both the devices confirm that they can connect to making the best level of communication.