Many tech websites have posted about how the "Wi-Fi Sense" in Windows 10 is dangerous, a security vulnerability, and a "disaster waiting to happen". Well, in this guide we will see how to disable Wi-Fi Sense in Windows 10, but you should know: It's an entirely safe feature.
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What is Wi-Fi Sense
When a new friend comes to our house for the first time, usually they ask for the Wi-Fi password. It's a bit awkward, but that's life.
With Wi-Fi sense, we can allow access to our friend on our Wi-Fi network - "share" our connection - without giving them the password.
We just need to have them as Outlook.com contact, a Skype contact or be friends on Facebook. Wi-Fi sense will share our network's SSID and password, both encrypted so that they can connect.
The fact that the SSID and the password are both encrypted is important. At no time will our friend see our password. It is safer than just writing down the password, or entering it on their smartphone/laptop.
Why are people freaking out about Wi-Fi Sense?
Many users - and, sadly, some technology writers - don't understand how Wi-Fi Sense works. They think that by having Wi-Fi Sense enabled, as is the default state, means that suddenly every single Facebook "friend" can connect to our home Wi-Fi.
This lack of understanding leads to sensational, clickbait titles such as this:
First things first, for anyone to connect to our Wi-Fi, they would need to be within range. How many of your Facebook friends have been at your house, or you expect them to visit anytime soon? Not many, we guess.
But, most importantly, is Wi-Fi Sense enabled for everyone?
Yes, if we search for "Wi-Fi Settings", select "Change Wi-Fi settings"...
...and click on "Manage Wi-Fi settings"...
...Wi-Fi sense seems activated.
Is it, though? Let's take a closer look.
As it turns out, we need first to select a network to activate Wi-Fi sense on that particular network.
If we don't select our home network, and we don't explicitly click on "Share", nobody will ever get permission to connect to our Wi-Fi. None of our Outlook.com contacts, Skype contacts or Facebook friends.
Plus we need to allow Wi-Fi sense to use our Facebook account, for it to work with our Facebook friends, even if we share a network.
Should I use Wi-Fi Sense, then?
Well, since Wi-Fi Sense is a much safer solution than just giving the WiFi Password to our friend, there is no reason not to use it.
Wi-Fi Sense has one downside. People who have connected on our network with Windows 10 can then share our network with their friends.
Of course, if none of their friends ever visit our house, they will never connect to our WiFi, or even know where our WiFi is.
But, yes, if we share our network with a neighbor, to connect from their house, and they have visitors, they could share our connection with their visitors. We could then find complete strangers connected to our WiFi. The same would happen, though, if we gave our neighbor the password.
I want to disable Wi-Fi Sense
There isn't a way to disable Wi-Fi Sense if we haven't enabled it in the first place.
Turning off either of those options won't affect Wi-Fi sense regarding our personal network. Just our ability to connect to other networks.
As long as we haven't selected our network and clicked on Share, Wi-Fi Sense is disabled on our network.
How can I stop someone from sharing my network?
Let's say a friend comes over, with a Windows 10 laptop, and we give him the password to the Wi-Fi, normally, without using Wi-Fi Sense.
The thing is, since they have connected to our network, they can use their Wi-Fi Sense to share our network.
There is a way to stop this, though. To completely secure our network against Wi-Fi Sense, we just need to add the suffix _optout to the Network name (SSID).
For this, we need to access our Wireless modem/router. We right-click on the network icon at the taskbar and select "Open Network and Sharing Center".
We click on the connection -> Details and look for the IPv4 Default Gateway. It will usually be 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1.
We type this IP address on any browser, and it will show us our wireless modem/router's login screen. Your wireless modem/router will probably have a different login screen.
If you don't know the username and password, you will often find it on a sticker on our router, or in the router manual.
After we login, we look for the "Wireless" setting, or something similar, it depends on your router web interface.
Changing the SSID is pretty straightforward. We just add _optout at the end of it.
Remember, after we save the changes, we need to reconnect all wireless devices to this new SSID, with the old Wi-Fi password.
Will you be using Wi-Fi Sense or not?
Do you think Wi-Fi sense is a useful feature, do you still think its dangerous or you couldn't care less? Leave us a comment.
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