Wi-Fi Sense in Windows 10
Now that Windows 10 is available for upgrade, there is a new feature that you should know about prior to upgrading your system to Windows 10.
The new feature is called Wi-Fi Sense. Wi-Fi Sense allows you to share your Wi-Fi network credentials with friends and family without explicitly giving them the credentials. When enabled, Wi-Fi Sense copies your credentials into the Microsoft Cloud, where anyone on your Outlook, Skype or Facebook friends list can automatically connect with your Wi-Fi network when within range. It’s an interesting feature but personally, I think the security concerns far outweigh the benefits.
It comes enabled by default, but It can be disabled. My concern is whether it saves your credentials prior to you explicitly disabling it. By that I mean, if you disable it after you upgrade, it appears that the credentials have already been stored by Microsoft and there is no indication that they will be deleted from their servers. Given the current security climate, I’d be a little uncomfortable with this.
If you tend to give your friends and family credentials (as opposed to maintaining a “guest” Wi-Fi account) liberally, then this could be a more secure method since you don’t need to provide the actual password in unencrypted form.
The only way to securely opt out of this feature for your network is to rename it adding the string “_optout” to the SSID. This is really inconvenient and totally unnecessary. However, for now, this is the only method to insure that your Wi-Fi credentials are not compromised.
For more information, see the following articles:
- Brian Krebs – Windows 10 Shares Your Wi-Fi With Contacts
- Ars Technica – Wi-Fi Sense in Windows 10: Yes, it shares your passkeys; no, you shouldn’t be scared
it will be interesting to see how this develops over the next few weeks. As always, unless the upgrade is needed, it’s a good idea to delay upgrading to a major new release until things settle out. Also, a reminder to check to see if your favorite applications are supported by the Windows 10.