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Beware! Windows 10 Can Share Your Wi-Fi With Contacts. Learn More About It Here

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Here’s another Windows 10 news only you have to actually take this one a bit more seriously than most we have published here. In summary, Windows 10 can actually share your Wi-Fi password with others without you knowing it.

This feature is called Wi-Fi Sense and when it is enabled, anyone in Outlook/Hotmail and Skype lists can be granted access as long as they are within range of your network. This was highlighted in a report by Brian Krebs on his site.

“This brilliant new feature, which Microsoft has dubbed Wi-Fi Sense, doesn’t share your WiFi network password per se — it shares an encrypted version of that password. But it does allow anyone in your Skype or Outlook orHotmail contacts lists to waltz onto your Wi-Fi network — should they ever wander within range of it or visit your home (or hop onto it secretly from hundreds of yards away with a good ‘ole cantenna!).

I first read about this over at The Register, which noted that Microsoft’s Wi-Fi Sense FAQ seeks to reassure would-be Windows 10 users that the Wi-Fi password will be sent encrypted and stored encrypted — on a Microsoft server. According to PCGamer, if you use Windows 10’s “Express” settings during installation, Wi-Fi Sense is enabled by default.

“For networks you choose to share access to, the password is sent over an encrypted connection and stored in an encrypted file on a Microsoft server, and then sent over a secure connection to your contacts’ phone if they use Wi-Fi Sense and they’re in range of the Wi-Fi network you shared,” the FAQ reads.”

wifisense

So according to Microsoft, you would have to agree to enable the Wi-Fi Sense feature every time you join a new network, also that the people who join your network won’t be able to pass along that password. They can’t see this password but an encrypted version only. The bottom line is that Microsoft wants to save you the stress of always giving out your authentication details to someone each time you want them to join the network.

You can disable this feature by going to settings and selecting “Network & Internet”.

  1. Click on Wi-Fi and select the “Manage Wi-Fi Setting” tab
  2. Scroll until you see Wi-Fi Sense and then you can turn off the unwanted features there or better still, all the features you see there.

But Brian Krebs gives a more permanent way to stop this;

  1. Prior to upgrade to Windows 10, change your Wi-Fi network name/SSID to something that includes the terms “_nomap_optout”.
  2. After the upgrade is complete, change the privacy settings in Windows to disable Wi-Fi Sense sharing.
  3. If you haven’t already done so, consider additional stepsto harden the security of your Wi-Fi network.

if you haven’t gotten your free upgrade, you would have to wait until those who registered early have all gotten their upgrades. Not to worry though, it will be free within a year for Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 users.

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