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Windows 10 shares your Wi-Fi password with all your friends – stop it using this guide

Published Jul 31st, 2015 12:25PM EDT
Windows 10 Wi-Fi Sense Password Sharing Facebook
Image: Dell

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Windows 10 is the much-needed upgrade that PC users have been waiting for ever since Microsoft promised it would fix its numerous blunders in Windows 8. But that doesn’t mean Windows 10 is perfect. In fact, there are plenty of issues that need correcting, and a Day One patch might fix some of them. On top of that, there are certain privacy issues you need to be aware of, and the fact that Windows 10 is spying on you by default.

On top of that, Windows 10 will also share your Wi-Fi passwords with others by default, but that can also be fixed relatively easily.

DON’T MISS: Windows 10: The first 5 things you need to do immediately after you install it

Wi-Fi Sense is the name of the feature that makes this interesting functionality possible. In theory, Wi-Fi Sense is supposed to be helpful, as it “connects you to suggested Wi-Fi hotspots and to Wi-Fi networks that your contacts share with you.”

But at the same time, it’s potentially dangerous, as your Wi-Fi credentials may end up in the wrong hands.

As Tom’s Guide points out, with Wi-Fi Sense enabled, everyone in your Skype, Outlook or Hotmail contact lists and any of your Facebook friends can be granted Wi-Fi access as long as they’re in range.

Security researcher Brian Krebs deems it a “disaster waiting to happen,” even though Microsoft appears to have taken steps to prevent misuse. Your friends won’t actually get the password of your home’s Wi-Fi network, but rather an encrypted version of it. And they won’t be able to pass it on to others, at least not according to what Microsoft says in a support document.

Wi-Fi Sense also shares access to any other wireless network you may have used with your computer, as long as you have actually typed in a password for it.

Opting out of Wi-Fi Sense is simple. Just head to Settings, then Network and Internet and then Wi-Fi. In there, select Manage Wi-Fi settings and then turn every feature of Wi-Fi Sense off.

You’d think that would do it, but it’s not enough. You see, every Windows 10 user who entered your Wi-Fi password manually on their PCs in the past can now share it with their friends via, you guessed it, Wi-Fi Sense. To stop that, your only option is to change the password on your home router.

The crazy part is that, in order to prevent this from ever happening again, you have to rename your router so it ends in “.” That way, whenever your friends log into your wireless network, they won’t be able to share access to it with their friends via Wi-Fi Sense.

Tom’s Guide also says that you can fix this problem a different way: By purchasing a new router that lets you create a guest network for your friends.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.