Government advisory body: give public safe Wi-Fi access
Recently, the Standardisation Forum issued an advisory to always provide secure public Wi-Fi networks for guest use.
The independent advisory body recommends improving Wi-Fi security by using the WPA2-Enterprise standard. The advice applies to all public and semi-public institutions in the Netherlands, impacting thousands of Wi-Fi networks.
The Standardisation Forum is the advisory body for the public sector regarding the use of open standards. All standards that the Forum advises have been thoroughly tested, reduce the risk of internet fraud and data abuse and lower costs, the organisation says on its own website. The advice was prompted by a request from the Privacy First Foundation and Wi-Fi roaming provider Publicroam more than a year ago. They requested the Forum to mandate WPA2-Enterprise as a standard for guest Wi-Fi access. The Standardisation Forum then decided to investigate further, resulting in the current recommendation.
Stopping insecure guest Wi-Fi
Paul Korremans, chairman of Privacy First, is delighted with the opinion. He said: "It took a while but now there is a clear advice. The Standardisation Forum calls for the secure provision of guest Wi-Fi, preferably using the WPA2-Enterprise standard. This advice creates clarity for all parties involved in setting up and managing public Wi-Fi networks in the government. Moreover, it has a broader effect: in our view, the Forum is saying that we should stop insecure guest wifi."
Forum Standardisation took its decision last summer after several rounds of experts and a public consultation. The advice was added to the existing commitment around WPA2-Enterprise. The Netherlands is one of the first countries to have such a requirement.
Experts consider the standard WPA2-Enterprise (and its successor WPA3-Enterprise) to be the most suitable method to achieve secure Wi-Fi access. The standard is mandatory for Wi-Fi access for government employees and is widely used in other sectors such as business and education. Being a long-standing open standard, it is widely available and easy to implement.