MS to use PEAP for home wireless security?
It's tagged as a possible for a 'future XP client'
A little bird suggests to The Register that Microsoft's "more secure than others" wireless products will be using Protected Extensible Authentication Protocol (PEAP). He further suggests that PEAP support will ship with Windows XP SP1, and although we hadn't heard that as a possible SP1 addition, Microsoft is a supporter of PEAP, and a while back said a "future version of the Windows client may also include Protected Extensible Authentication Protocol," here.
PEAP would certainly be one way to beef up wireless security for small business, homes, and execs wireless hot-spotting out of range of the corporate network cops. According to Microsoft's paper (which incidentally contains several suggestions regarding the security content of "future" versions of the Windows client) PEAP "provides a mechanism for mutual authentication and session key generation in a roaming environment." It allows a client to establish an encrypted session with an access point and then with a server by setting up a TLS session, EAP being wrapped inside TLS.
One advantage of this is that it allows the use of username/password challenge/response authentication rather than relying on certificate exchange. According to the IETF working draft, the protection of EAP within a TLS channel also gets round the deficiency of EAP whereby negotiation is unprotected, and hence vulnerable to attack.
So will it be part of Microsoft's wireless security? Could be, and considering there aren't supposed to be many future versions of the Windows client (apart from Tablet PC edition, that is) for quite some while, shipping it in SP1 if possible, or as an add-on if not, makes sense. In any event, in order to be useful it would have to be available around the time of SP1, because shortly afterwards Microsoft will be needing it, or an alternative, for both home wireless and Tablet PCs. ®
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