Windows 10’s Wi-Fi sharing feature is really clever, but just got a bad rap

Microsoft is rebutting claims that an upcoming Windows 10 feature could leak your Wi-Fi password to strangers.

A new feature on Windows 10 called Wi-Fi Sense allows your Outlook, Skype and Facebook contacts to automatically access your Wi-Fi network. For example, rather than having to ask a friend for the Wi-Fi password at their home, the feature would sense you are trying to access the same network as your friend, who already has the password, and lets you automatically join the network.

While this is Microsoft’s intention, a report circulating on Friday said Wi-Fi Sense grants your contacts’ friends access to your network, too. The worry, in theory, is that a hacker could befriend someone you know and gain access to sensitive information.

But a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed to Mashable that this is false. The feature does not “reveal passwords or allow your friends to share your Wi-Fi with their friends, nor does it put your personal information at risk.”

Microsoft also said a Wi-Fi Sense connection will grant access only to Wi-Fi, not to computers or other devices on the network. Users who feel uncomfortable with the feature can choose not to share their connections with contacts, or can completely opt out by adding “_optout” to their network’s name, disabling Wi-Fi Sense on the connection.

Wi-fi Sense is meant to fix the inevitable awkwardness of entering a friend’s network password into your computer or phone. Wi-Fi passwords tend to be long strings of random characters unless the owner goes out of their way to set it up differently. And it works both ways: if you use Windows devices, and know others who do too, their Wi-Fi network information is automatically stored on your products.

The feature debuted on Windows Phone 8.1, but because Windows Phones aren’t as popular as iOS or Android devices, it’s not as well known. The feature, now bundled with Windows 10, could be widely adopted after the new operating system officially launches on July 29. Right now, it’s available on the desktop as part of a Windows 10 public preview.

source – mashable.com

image – mashable.com

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