By now you’ve heard all about the new Wi-Fi Sense feature on Windows 10. A month ago we warned you it was coming, and now it’s here. On one hand, it’s a pretty convenient feature, but on the other it could be a security risk if you’re not careful. Imagine any or all of your Facebook friends getting full access to your wireless network! So how does Wi-Fi Sense work?
Basically, it’s a feature that lets your friends (including Facebook friends if you choose to allow it) sign into your Wi-Fi network without the encryption key. If that sounds horrifying, just know that it’s not that bad. It’s definitely more secure than it sounds. In fact, it was designed to make wireless access both easier and safer for you back when it was first released with Windows 8.1.
Wi-Fi Sense was built to make it much more convenient to get onto a friend or friendly business’ wireless network. Instead of just giving your friends your Wi-Fi password, along with full access to your router configuration and your whole network, your friends will never be able to see or know your password. On top of that, it’s much more convenient than typing in a long, complicated password on a touch screen.
If you have Wi-Fi Sense enabled, and so does your friend, they just show up and log in automatically as soon as they’re within range. Now, it can’t be just anyone. Wi-Fi Sense will authenticate your Outlook and Skype contacts by default. It can also do it with your Facebook friends, but you have to choose to allow it. Plus you also have to choose to share your network.
The biggest advantage to using Wi-Fi Sense is that it lets you give access to the Internet to your friends without giving them access to your network. If you give somebody your network password, they could be able to view your personal files and folders. On top of that, using Wi-Fi Sense doesn’t disengage your encryption, it just acts as a smarter gatekeeper. Strangers would still be kept at bay.
However, if you scroll through your list of Facebook friends, you’ll probably come across more than a few with whom you wouldn’t want to share your Wi-Fi. Those people probably aren’t likely to be hanging around your home. But if they are, you should choose not to enable Facebook sharing. When you set up Wi-Fi Sense, it will ask for your permission to use your Facebook account. Just say no. Simple as that!
It’s important to note that although Wi-Fi Sense is enabled by default, it doesn’t share your network by default. You have to choose to do that. However, if you’re still worried about the security risks, we have a complete and detailed tip on how to disable it.