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Introduction to WPA3

In this episode, we are providing an introduction to WPA3. We also show how to configure it on a Cisco controller as well as how you could validate it by looking at Wi-Fi frames:


Introduction

WPA3 is the improved version of Wi-Fi security. It updates WPA2 which is commonly used everywhere in Wi-Fi networks. 

Why the need for WPA3?

WPA3 brings the following:

  • Increased crypto strength
  • Dumps legacy protocols
  • Mandates Protected Management Frames (PMF)
    • https://www.cleartosend.net/802-11w-management-frame-protection/
  • Mandatory for Wi-Fi 6 (more and more devices will support WPA3)

There are two versions of WPA3 which are similarly named from WPA2:

  • WPA3-Personal
    • Pre-shared Key
    • Simultaneous Authentication of Equals (SAE) is used
  • WPA3-Enterprise
    • Builds upon WPA2-Enterprise
    • Enhanced encryption
    • WPA3-Enterprise also offers an optional mode using 192-bit minimum-strength security protocols and cryptographic tools to better protect sensitive data:
      • Authenticated encryption: 256-bit Galois/Counter Mode Protocol (GCMP-256)
      • Key derivation and confirmation: 384-bit Hashed Message Authentication Mode (HMAC) with Secure Hash Algorithm (HMAC-SHA384)
      • Key establishment and authentication: Elliptic Curve Diffie-Hellman (ECDH) exchange and Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA) using a 384-bit elliptic curve
      • Robust management frame protection: 256-bit Broadcast/Multicast Integrity Protocol Galois Message Authentication Code (BIP-GMAC-256)

WPA3 Modes

There are a few modes WPA3 can be implemented

  • WPA3-Personal only
  • WPA3-Personal transition
  • WPA3-Enterprise only
  • WPA3-Enterprise transition
  • WPA3-Enterprise 192-bit
  • WPA3 Fast BSS Transition
  • WPA3-Enterprise Server Certificate Validation

WPA3-Personal

  • Mandatory
    • AP enables at least AKM suite selector of 00-0F-AC:8 (SAE Authentication)
    • STA allows at least AKM 00-0F-AC:8 for association
    • AP and STA must use PMF
      • AP and STA sets MFPC and MFPR to 1
    • Must use only DH groups 15-21, group 19
  • Requirement
    • AP and STA does not enable AKM 00-0F-AC:2 (WPA2-PSK) and 00-0F-AC:6 (PSK using SHA-256)
    • AP doesn’t enable WPA on same BSS with WPA3-Personal
    • No WEP and TKIP on same BSS as WPA3-Personal
    • STA will use SAE when AP supports SAE and PSK

WPA3-Personal Transition

  • Mandatory
    • AP enables at least AKM 00-0F-AC:2 (WPA2-PSK) and 00-0F-AC:8 (WPA3-Personal)
    • STA allows at least AKM 00-0F-AC:2 (WPA2-PSK) and 00-0F-AC:8
    • AP sets MFPC to 1, MFPR to 0
    • STA sets MFPC to 1, MFPR to 0
    • AP rejects association for SAE if PMF is not negotiated
    • STA negotiates PMF when associating to AP using SAE
  • Recommended
    • AP enables AKM 00-0F-AC:6
    • STA allows 00-0F-AC:6
  • Requirement
    • AP doesn’t enable WPA on same BSS with WPA3-Personal
    • No WEP and TKIP on same BSS as WPA3-Personal
    • STA will use SAE when AP supports SAE and PSK

WPA3-Enterprise Only

  • PMF will be set to capable which is the MFPC bit set to 1 and MFPR bit set to 1 in the RSN Capabilities field
  • No WPA version 1 enabled on the same BSS on WPA3-Enterprise

WPA3-Enterprise transition mode

  • WPA2-Enterprise and WPA3-Enterprise transition mode on same BSS, PMF will be set to capable which is the MFPC bit set to 1 and MFPR bit set to 0 in the RSN Capabilities field
  • WPA3-Enterprise STA will negotiate PMF when using WPA3-Enterprise transition mode
  • No WPA version 1 enabled on the same BSS on WPA3-Enterprise

WPA3-Enterprise 192-bit

  • For sensitive environments needing higher security requirements
  • PMF is required
  • Permitted EAP cipher suites for use with 192-bit mode:
    • TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_AES_256_GCM_SHA384
      • ECDHE and ECDSA using the 384-bit prime modulus curve P-384
    • TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_GCM_SHA384
      • ECDHE using the 384-bit prime modulus curve P-384
      • RSA ≥ 3072-bit modulus
    • TLS_DHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_GCM_SHA384
      • RSA ≥ 3072-bit modulus 
      • DHE ≥ 3072-bit modulus

WPA3 Fast BSS Transition

  • Added to WPA3 Spec on 12/20/2019
  • Different modes:
    • Fast BSS Transition for WPA3-Personal transition mode
    • Fast BSS Transition for WPA3-Enterprise transition mode
    • Fast BSS Transition for WPA3-Personal only mode
    • Fast BSS Transition for WPA3-Enterprise only mode
  • There is an order of AKM preference
    • Personal Modes
      • FT Authentication using SAE 00-0F-AC:9
      • SAE Authentication 00-0F-AC:8
      • FT Authentication using PSK 00-0F-AC:4
      • PSK using SHA-256 00-0F-AC:6
      • PSK 00-0F-AC:2
    • Enterprise Modes
      • FT Authentication using 802.1X (SHA 256) 00-0F-AC:3
      • Authentication using 802.1X (SHA 256) 00-0F-AC:5
      • Authentication 802.1X 00-0F-AC:1

Updated AKM Selector Table

Table of AKM suite selectors, including AKM suites for WPA3.

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Wireless Network Engineer and Owner at SemFio Networks. CWNE #180. Living in London ON Canada, born and raised in Dijon, France.

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