Feeds

Wi-Fi Alliance moots security set-up standard

Laying down the law on WPA Wizards

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
FCC, Google cast eye over millimetre wireless
The smaller the wave, the bigger 5G's chances of success
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.