Compared to the predecessor standard WPA2 introduced by the Wi‑Fi Alliance in 2004, the WPA3 standard introduced in 2018 offers improved security by combining various security methods. Like WPA2, WPA3 also exists in the versions WPA3-Personal and WPA3-Enterprise.
WPA3-Personal uses the Simultaneous Authentication of Equals (SAE) authentication method, which only requires a password for authentication but which prevents brute-force and dictionary attacks. Furthermore, for the first time this method offers forward secrecy, i.e. captured WPA3-secured traffic cannot be decrypted subsequently after the attacker gains knowledge of the pre-shared key.
In addition, the WPA3-Enterprise uses the Commercial National Security Algorithm (CNSA) Suite B cryptography. Suite B ensures that all links in the encryption chain match with one another. Suite B forms classes of bit lengths for hashed, symmetric, and asymmetric encryption in order to provide suitable levels of protection. For example, an SHA‑2 hash with 256 bits matches AES with 128 bits. Where Suite B is operated, the support of all other combinations is expressly excluded. Consequently, the encryption chain consists of links of equal strength.
Both variants now require the use of protected management frames (PMF) according to IEEE 802.11w. PMF prevents attackers from computing the WLAN password from captured material gained by using fake management frames to force a disassociation and then eavesdropping the re-authentication.