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‘Wi-Fi Sense’ Vulnerability in Windows 10, the “Most Secure Windows Yet”

‘Wi-Fi Sense’ Vulnerability in Windows 10, the “Most Secure Windows Yet”

by Ali RazaJuly 28, 2015

Despite boasting that the new version of Microsoft’s flagship operating system, Windows 10, is the most secure Windows ever, a new feature within Windows shares Wi-Fi passwords with contacts by default, lowering one’s network privacy and security.

Gizmodo reports that it has discovered a new Windows 10 feature called Wi-Fi Sense, which shares Wi-Fi passwords with contacts, by default. While the feature is sure to be useful for some, it raises concerns privacy and network security concerns when it is enabled by default.

Wi-Fi Sense

Originally a feature in Windows Phone, Wi-Fi Sense is a feature that shares Wi-Fi passwords to a user’s contacts who will then find it easier to connect to the any Wi-Fi network that the original user has password access to. The password(s) is always encrypted before being shared to one’s contacts. Essentially, the password will never be visible in its plaintext form.

Despite the encryption, the password is bound to be stored locally on the machine which is a vulnerability in itself. Malicious hackers with the expertise to breach networks will have the means to recover the password(s) in its plain text form, according to security experts.

Windows 10 Interface

Windows 10 Interface

The Most Secure Windows Yet?

Windows 10 is being offered as a free upgrade to existing Windows 7 and Windows 8 users for one year, from 29 July.

The sharing of passwords over Wi-Fi Sense by default is certain to raise security concerns among users. This makes Wi-Fi networks vulnerable to opportunistic hackers stealing bandwidth and could lead to far more damaging consequences when malware is infected onto the host computer or the Wi-Fi router.

Despite the vulnerability, Microsoft has claimed that Windows 10 is the most secure version of Windows yet (see video below).

New features include:

  • Advanced Biometric logins
  • Iris scanning
  • Fingerprint scanning
  • Facial recognition
  • Advanced Phishing protection using a cloud-based system

How to Disable Wi-Fi Sense

Windows 10 is merely days away from being released and if you’re one of the millions to have signed up for the free upgrade program while wanting to disable Wi-Fi Sense, here’s how:

Go to Wi-Fi ——–> Network Settings——–>Manage Wi-Fi Settings.

Once you’re there, you’ll notice checkboxes for:

  • Outlook contacts
  • Skype contacts
  • Facebook friends

Unchecking all of the boxes will ensure that Wi-Fi Sense and open password sharing with your friends and contacts is disabled.

Images from RoSonic and Shutterstock.

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  • Jorgie

    You are a fool. Giving the OS tools to allow the sharing of information that the user can already share manually not a vulnerability. As long as it requires manual intervention per-profile, which it does, there is nothing wrong with the feature.

    • msabri1

      you tell them Jorgie. it is really irritating. with all this windows 10 security vulnerability issues flooding tech websites, not a single one is worth considering.
      all the criticized security-related features can be switched off/opted out from. no one is forcing you to keep a certain feature on people.
      so please let’s focus on performance and core feature issues