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Addressing security concerns in Windows 10

Addressing security concerns in Windows 10

09/17/2015

Windows 10 was released in late July with much fanfare and since then, Microsoft is reporting that more than 75 million users have made the jump to the new operating system.

For some users (and for some hesitant to adopt), privacy is a concern. One of the features causing this concern is Wi-Fi-Sense, which automatically connects you to Wi-Fi. It will connect you to known open Wi-Fi networks or to Wi-Fi networks your contacts have shared with you.

The second option is what’s causing concern. Wi-Fi Sense gives you the ability to share Wi-Fi networks with your Outlook and Skype contacts and Facebook friends. Some people are concerned this will let strangers access their networks without their permissions or that it will give away their passwords.

Here is the truth about Wi-Fi Sense: If that’s all you know, it does sound a little scary, but don’t worry – Microsoft isn’t emailing everyone your password. While Wi-Fi sense is turned on by default in Windows 10, it doesn't automatically share your Wi-Fi passwords with anyone's system. Here’s how it works, from the Wi-Fi Sense FAQ:

"You control whether you want to share your password-protected network with your contacts using Wi-Fi Sense. You can share a network with just your Facebook friends, mutual Skype contacts, or mutual Outlook.com contacts, or with all three groups if you want. It's up to you. After you share access to a network with a group of contacts, all the contacts in that group will be able to connect to the network when it's in range. For example, if you choose to share with your Facebook friends, any of your Facebook friends who are using Wi-Fi Sense on a Windows Phone will be able to connect to the network you shared when it's in range. You can't pick and choose individual contacts."

When you do share your Wi-Fi network with someone, the password is encrypted – meaning they’ll never know your password, unless you provide it to them yourself.

A great potential use for this would be sharing your office’s guest Wi-Fi with your network so they don’t have to type the password in every time they come by for a meeting.

If you’re uncomfortable using this, though, Wi-Fi sense can be limited or turned off completely in your settings.

Windows 10 Wi Fi Sense

You can also opt your Wi-Fi network out of Wi-Fi sense and stop sharing a network you’ve previously shared  (directions can be found here). We’d recommend turning off automatically connecting to open hotspots since they aren’t secured. As always, be cautious about what you’re connecting to and what information you are sharing over an unknown network. If you’re unsure about the security of any Wi-Fi network, even one that has been shared to you by a colleague or friend, disconnect and connect to a network you trust.

   

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