REDMOND, Wash. — May 12, 2005 — Microsoft Corp. has added support for Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) — the highest level of standards-based wireless security currently available — to Microsoft® Windows® XP Service Pack 2 (SP2).
Available beginning today as a free* download, the update provides enterprises, mobile workers and home users with a new level of protection from wireless threats. Support for the Wi-Fi Alliance standard also enables many government agencies, healthcare providers and security-mandated industries to deploy wireless networks for the first time. In addition, the software update adds support for Wireless Provisioning Services Information Element (WPS IE). WPS IE allows wireless Internet service providers (ISPs) to easily migrate to secure Wi-Fi hot spots by enabling support for both unsecured and secured Wi-Fi networks on a single network infrastructure during the migration.
“For wireless computing to continue growing, consumers and enterprises need to trust that their information is safe and secure when accessed on these networks,” said Jawad Khaki, corporate vice president of Windows Networking & Device Technologies at Microsoft. “This update underscores Microsoft’s commitment to improving security as we enable our customers to help protect their wireless networks using the latest available standards.”
Bringing Advanced Data Encryption to Wi-Fi
WPA2 confirms that a PC’s wireless software is compatible with IEEE 802.11i, the security standard developed specifically for Wi-Fi networks. Building on the protections of the earlier Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) specification, the new Wi-Fi Alliance standard offers the advanced data encryption mandated by the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2 specification, by which many government agencies and enterprises must abide. WPA2 also helps healthcare organizations meet the privacy requirements for personal medical information required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
“Since the start of the Wi-Fi boom, customers have wanted to realize the convenience and increased productivity of wireless networks, but many have not been able to because of the confidential nature of their work,” said Merwyn Andrade, chief technology officer at Aruba Networks Inc. “The addition of WPA2 security to Windows XP allows customers to access programs that store sensitive information and transmit private documents regardless of whether they are at their desks, in a meeting room or working wirelessly from a remote location.”
Simplifying Deployment, More Secure Access to Public Networks
The update’s added support for WPS IE allows ISPs to operate multiple logical wireless networks on a single physical network infrastructure — a market requirement for most providers as they replace unsecured connections at hot spots with security-enhanced connections. WPS IE simplifies the network discovery process and enhances the WPS technology, which is supported on Windows XP SP2 and enables automated and more secure provisioning of wireless clients in public Wi-Fi hot spots. Find more information about WPS.
The Windows XP SP2 upgrade can be downloaded at no charge* from the Microsoft Download Center.
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