WiFi's tougher WPA3 security is ready

WPA3 adds better encryption and safer smart homes.

WiFi security is finally getting an upgrade after 14 years. The Wi-Fi Alliance has officially launched WPA3, the next-generation standard that promises to tackle many of the vulnerabilities that have persisted in wireless networking. Most notably, it brings individualized data encryption that should protect your data against eavesdropping from within the WiFi network. You'll also get tougher password-based sign-ins through Simultaneous Authentication of Equals, a key establishment protocol that reduces the chances of someone guessing your password -- even if it's lousy.

If you're using professional-grade WPA3-Enterprise security, you'll get the "equivalent" to 192-bit encryption strength that should make it tougher to crack secure data. There's also easier setup for smart home devices through Easy Connect, which lets you use your phone to set up WiFi on devices that have either a tiny display or no display at all.

Just when you'll see WPA3 on your devices depends on individual companies introducing support through patches and new hardware. You won't automatically enjoy stricter security, folks. However, it may soon become the default option. WPA2 won't stop working any time soon (it'll remain interoperable), but WPA3 support will eventually become mandatory on any Alliance-certified product. And that's good news for the tech industry at large. It'll increase the likelihood that every device you use, whether it's a router or your smartphone, is reasonably well-protected against attacks that are all too feasible today.