How Wi-Fi Sharing In iOS 11 Could Negatively Affect Your Network

Apple recently released iOS 11 and with it a very cool feature called Wi-Fi Sharing. This new feature works alongside WPA2-PSK (Pre-Shared Key) authentication and uses NFC (Near Field Communication) technology built into Apple devices.

To share your Wi-Fi passphrase with a friend, simply hold your device next to a friend’s device and ask them to connect to the same wireless network (SSID) that you are connected to. When they try to connect, the other device will be asked if they want to share their Wi-Fi passphrase. Once shared, the device will automatically connect to the wireless network without the need for further configuration.

Whilst this is a fantastic feature to have, it could potentially be a security headache for IT Administrators.

Q: How can I ensure no one is sharing their PSK with someone outside of my organisation?

The Answer is simple: PPSK (Private Pre-Shared Key). 

Aerohive’s Private Pre-Shared Key technology is built upon WPA2-PSK. PPSK gives IT Administrators the ability to distribute unique Pre-Shared Keys (PSKs) to individuals. Customers can create (and revoke) thousands of unique keys for individuals or groups of devices all connecting to the same SSID. Not only is PPSK secure and easy to manage, but it’s supported on most devices where 802.1X may not be.

With PPSK you can control who’s connecting to the wireless network by:

  • Limiting the PPSK associations to one concurrent client per PPSK – Any additional device that tries to authenticate using the Wi-Fi passphrase or Wi-Fi sharing will fail to authenticate. 
  • Mac Address Binding – This binds the PPSK to the MAC address of the client. Any additional device that tries to authenticate using the PPSK passphrase or Wi-Fi sharing will fail to authenticate if they do not have the matching MAC address. 

For more information on Private Pre-Shared Key click here.

More About PPSK

1) How PPSK Keeps Your Network and Private Information Safe

2) How Aerohive ID Manager and PPSK securely manage BYOD


Keith McIntyre is an Inside Systems Engineer at Aerohive Networks. Keith has a background in wireless technology including pre-sales engagement, network planning, RF design, installations and troubleshooting with multi-vendor products.

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