Feeds

Wi-Fi Alliance moots security set-up standard

Laying down the law on WPA Wizards

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The Wi-Fi Alliance is considering imposing formal certification of WLAN security set-up schemes in a bid to make it easier for non-technical users to protect their data.

In an interview with The Register, Alliance CEO Frank Hanzlik revealed that the organisation has formed a new test group to explore the possibility of imposing ease-of-use best practices on Wi-Fi product vendors.

The move follows oft-expressed criticism of Wi-Fi that while on one hand users have been told that they need to improve the security of their wireless networks, little has been done to make enabling either the relatively weak Wired Equivalent Protocol (WEP) security system or the more robust Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) easier for non-technical users.

In May, Wi-Fi chipmaker Broadcom introduced SecureEZSetup, which allows users to enable WPA protection in just two or three simple steps, depending on whether the user is installing the WLAN for the first time or adding another client to an existing network.

Unfortunately, Broadcom's system relies on proprietary technology within the company's 54g Wi-Fi chips.

Hanzlik didn't mention Broadcom by name, referring instead to a number of "pretty neat security set-up solutions", but it's clear SecureEZSetup is the kind of approach the WFA would like to see implemented more broadly, particularly as Wi-Fi becomes implemented on more consumer electronics kit.

It's equally clear that the organisation sees ease of use, particularly in the context of security, as too important to be left to proprietary solutions.

While the WFA has thus far limited itself to offering advice and recommendations for ease-of-use best practice, Hanzlik admitted the body is thinking about a "more forward-looking" approach that lays down the law and enforces it rather merely making suggestions.

Hanzlik was adamant that the WFA's task force is considering only whether such a course is feasible and worthwhile. Should it decide to proceed, it will then need to determine what constitutes a 'standard' simple security set-up mechanism.

The WFA's chief was also keen to stress that other areas of product development that the organisation offers advice, such as terminology, will remain guidelines rather than laws. ®

Related stories

Broadcom simplifies Wi-Fi security set-up
Wi-Fi group updates security system
Wi-Fi Alliance cracks down on 'standards-plus' kit
Wi-Fi Alliance acts on dodgy wireless kit

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
EE plonks 4G in UK Prime Minister's backyard
OK, his constituency. Brace yourself for EXTRA #selfies
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.