Since July 15, Windows 7 and Windows 8 users have been offered a free upgrade to Windows 10. Windows 10 includes Wi-Fi Sense, which features a default prompt that asks users to share access to WiFi networks that they have connected to with any of their contacts in Outlook and Skype, and an opt-in prompt for Facebook friends.
What does this mean? Every time you join a WiFi network, you will be asked if you want to share your WiFi password with your contacts, friends and social networks so they can join the network too. If you say yes (as many people do automatically when a pop-up comes up on their phone without reading it), the encrypted password is sent to all of your contacts and social networks so they can connect to your network as well.
It is important to read all pop-up messages before you click “I agree,” and to read and know what you are agreeing to.
If you don’t mind that every single person in your Outlook contacts, Skype contacts and Facebook friends have access to your WiFi network, then clicking “I agree” is right for you. But if you are more concerned about protecting your information, and you don’t want this default setting on your phone, security experts are recommending the following:
- before you upgrade to Windows 10, change the WiFi network name to include the terms “_nomap_optout”
- after you upgrade, disable WiFi Sense sharing in privacy settings
- upgrade the security of your WiFi network
Whether you want to use this feature or not, be aware of it, and read all pop-ups and make your own decision each time. They are designed to educate you on how companies are using and sharing your data.