Serious flaws found in WPA3’s wifi Handshake

because WPA2 is more than 14 years old, the Wi-Fi Alliance recently announced the new and more secure WPA3 protocol. One of the main advantages of WPA3 is that, thanks to its underlying Dragonfly handshake, it’s near impossible to crack the password of a network. Unfortunately, we found that even with WPA3, an attacker within range of a victim can still recover the password of the network. This allows the adversary to steal sensitive information such as credit cards, password, emails, and so on, when the victim uses no extra layer of protection such as HTTPS. Fortunately, we expect that our work and coordination with the Wi-Fi Alliance will allow vendors to mitigate our attacks before WPA3 becomes widespread.

The Dragonfly handshake, which forms the core of WPA3, is also used on certain Wi-Fi networks that require a username and password for access control. That is, Dragonfly is also used in the EAP-pwd protocol. Unfortunately, our attacks against WPA3 also work against EAP-pwd, meaning an adversary can even recover a user’s password when EAP-pwd is used. We also discovered serious bugs in most products that implement EAP-pwd. These allow an adversary to impersonate any user, and thereby access the Wi-Fi network, without knowing the user’s password. Although we believe that EAP-pwd is used fairly infrequently, this still poses serious risks for many users, and illustrates the risks of incorrectly implementing Dragonfly.

The technical details behind our attacks against WPA3 can be found in our detailed research paper titled Dragonblood: A Security Analysis of WPA3’s SAE Handshake. The details of our EAP-pwd attacks are explained on this website.


The discovered flaws can be abused to recover the password of the Wi-Fi network, launch resource consumption attacks, and force devices into using weaker security groups. All attacks are against home networks (i.e. WPA3-Personal), where one password is shared among all users. Summarized, we found the following vulnerabilities in WPA3:

  • CERT ID #VU871675: Downgrade attack against WPA3-Transtition mode leading to dictionary attacks.
  • CERT ID #VU871675: Security group downgrade attack against WPA3’s Dragonfly handshake.
  • CVE-2019-9494: Timing-based side-channel attack against WPA3’s Dragonfly handshake.
  • CVE-2019-9494: Cache-based side-channel attack against WPA3’s Dragonfly handshake.
  • CERT ID #VU871675: Resource consumption attack (i.e. denial of service) against WPA3’s Dragonfly handshake.


We have made scripts to test for certain vulnerabilities:

  • Dragonslayer: implements attacks against EAP-pwd (to be released shortly).
  • Dragondrain: this tool can be used to test to which extend an Access Point is vulnerable to denial-of-service attacks against WPA3’s SAE handshake.
  • Dragontime: this is an experimental tool to perform timing attacks against the SAE handshake if MODP group 22, 23, or 24 is used. Note that most WPA3 implementations by default do not enable these groups.
  • Dragonforce: this is an experimental tool which takes the information recover from our timing or cache-based attacks, and performs a password partitioning attack. This is similar to a dictionary attack.

Source: Dragonblood: Analysing WPA3’s Dragonfly Handshake

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