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Wi-Fi networks to get a major security boost

(Image credit: Image Credit: Chris Oakley / Flickr)

Wireless networks around the world are about to get a much-needed security refresh with the news that the WPA2 standards governing safety are being renewed.

WPA2, which has been protecting virtually all wireless devices in use today, will soon be retired after nearly two decades, after the Wi-Fi alliance, an industry body made up of the likes of Microsoft and Qualcomm, announced a new wireless security standard – WPA3.

One of the biggest advantages of WPA3 is the way it protects public, open Wi-Fi networks – the ones you see in cafes or airports. These are usually open and unencrypted, which means whoever uses them is quite vulnerable to snooping and data theft.

WPA3 will solve this problem by employing individualized data encryption, which will scramble the connection between any two devices on the network.

WPA3 will also eliminate the possiblity of brute-force dictionary attacks. Basically, an attacker could sit on your Wi-Fi network and start guessing a list of possible passwords until once, eventually, he nails it.

The new protocol will limit the number of attempts you have.

Mathy Vanhoef, a computer security academic, told ZDNet WPA3 "not be vulnerable to dictionary attacks."

Public, open Wi-Fi networks have also been a pain point in security. Security experts have been constantly warning not to use such networks for private things like banking or accessing social media accounts.

Image Credit: Chris Oakley / Flickr