Microsoft's WiFi Sense Poses Manageable Security Risks
NEWS ANALYSIS: The Windows 10 WiFi password sharing feature poses a potential risk, but it's manageable if you have implemented real wireless security.The expressions of alarm are all over the place. Suddenly people have discovered something called "WiFi Sense" that Microsoft is including in Windows 10 when it's released at the end of July. Once the new version of Windows is released, this feature of Windows will have an impact on your wireless network security. So you will need to plan on how to handle it before it launches. Microsoft's WiFi Sense is a means of sharing connection information between users. The original idea was to make connections between wireless hotspots quick and easy so that you don't have to fumble around with your wireless device every time you find yourself near a new source of WiFi. To make this happen, Microsoft learns the log-in characteristics of WiFi access points, and it saves them. In addition, WiFi Sense can share those characteristics with your other Windows devices and, if you wish, your friends and contacts. The information it shares includes the WiFi password, which effectively opens up private WiFi to public use.
Before you hit the panic button, a little context and some background might be helpful. WiFi Sense isn't new. This feature was part of Windows Phone 8.1, but you likely never heard of it because almost nobody used that version of Windows Phone. The carriers that sold Windows phones mostly didn't upgrade them, so the proportion of phones with that feature was vanishingly small.