Wi-Fi Sense or Nonsense?

The newly released Windows 10 operating system comes with a feature called “Wi-Fi Sense” that I think is pretty questionable from a security standpoint.  The basic idea is that, under Windows 10, when you connect to a wireless network for the first time, you have an opportunity to “share” you new wireless connection with your family, friends, and coworkers. I consider this be to a security concern.  The problem as I see it is that you share your connection to a friend, who shares it to another friend, and in 6-degrees of Kevin Bacon fashion it is shared to a hacker in Bulgaria.  Or just some nosy kid down the block.

The official word from Microsoft is:

Wi-Fi Sense in Windows 10 connects you to more Wi-Fi networks. You’ll get connected to open Wi-Fi hotspots that Wi-Fi Sense knows about. And if you share access to a Wi-Fi network with your Outlook.com contacts, Skype contacts, or Facebook friends, you’ll get connected to Wi-Fi networks they’ve shared using Wi-Fi Sense. You and your friends get Internet access without seeing each other’s passwords.

wifi-sense2

Now I understand the part where the Wi-Fi plain-text password is not shared, but rather an encrypted version of the password, but how long will it be before some clever hacker modifies a password cracking program such as John the Ripper so these encrypted shares are undone.  Can we expect Rainbow Tables for cracked Wi-Fi hotspots?  I think so.

If you want to be sure this feature is disabled, follow the instructions in the image above.  You should get to a menu like the one below. Just be sure to turn the sliders off.  This also is the way to turn this feature on, if for some reason you should want to do so.

Wifi-sense

 

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About the Author:

Cybersecurity guru to business owners in the St Paul, Minneapolis, and western Wisconsin area. Computer security and hacking have been a passion of mine since I entered the computer and networking business in 2000. In 2013 I completed a course of study and certification exam to become a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). In 2016 I was certified as a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). As Cybersecurity Analyst at The WyzCo Group, I help our clients experience high levels of computer security, network security, and web site security. In addition to consulting on security products and services, we also conduct security audits, vulnerability assessments and full penetration tests. We also provide Cybersecurity Awareness Training for clients and their employees. We also work with companies and organizations that need to certify compliance with regulations such as PCI-DSS (credit card processing), HIPAA/HITECH (medical records), and GLBA. The views expressed on this Web site are mine alone and do not necessarily represent the views of my employer.

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