New Microsoft Windows 10 Feature Boosts Wi-Fi Security Keys

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Wi-Fi Love Affair

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We sure do love our Wi-Fi. Our love affair with Wi-Fi is enormous.

The ability to access the Internet at a coffee shop, on the train or on the way to work is one of the reasons for our appreciation of Wi-Fi. We love it so much that our concerns and worries about privacy and security are completely tossed out the window, says a new survey.

Xirrus, a high-performance wireless network provider, released the results of a new study entitled “Where the Wires End Survey.” It found that a strong majority (76 percent) of 300 North American and European Wi-Fi users connect to mobile Internet hotspots outside of their home on a frequent basis.

When these respondents are at home, that number soars to 94 percent. Wow!

Indeed, the survey does suggest people love Wi-Fi, but they understand the risks. Seventy-nine percent of study participants conceded that they don’t believe public Wi-Fi is secure, but they won’t be deterred. Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of users connect to public Wi-Fi and hope that nothing goes wrong.

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Windows Doesn’t Care About Wi-Fi Security?

Since we adore Wi-Fi and are indifferent to security protections, perhaps this is why Microsoft has introduced a new update in Windows 10 relating to Wi-Fi security keys.

It was reported in June that a new Windows 10 feature called Wi-Fi Sense could pose a major mobile Internet security risk. Why? Because it can share access to Wi-Fi networks with the user’s contacts. Wi-Fi Sense isn’t necessarily new because it has been installed on Windows Phone since 8.1.

How does this work? Contacts on Outlook.com, Skype and Facebook can access Wi-Fi passwords. It’s meant to save time and energy from having to actually give someone the security key. So when someone nears a wireless network and if the person you know has the password and Wi-Fi Sense then they can log into the network – and share it with other friends and colleagues.

“For networks you choose to share access to, the password is sent over an encrypted connection and stored in an encrypted file on a Microsoft server, and then sent over a secure connection to your contacts’ phone if they use Wi-Fi Sense and they’re in range of the Wi-Fi network you shared,” the Wi-Fi Sense FAQ states.

Not everyone is pleased with this, as the London Register writes: “Yes, wireless passwords can be written down and trivially passed along to others: we know network security shouldn’t end at the Wi-Fi login prompt. But there’s nothing like an operating system automating the practice of blabbing pass phrases to strangers.”

Small Business Taking Wi-Fi Security More Seriously

One way small businesses can increase their level of clientele is to enhance the security of their hotspot software. Many retail establishments now offer Wi-Fi to entice customers to enter the store and (hopefully) purchase a product or a service.

There have been numerous instances of consumers taking advantage of the Wi-Fi and even hacking into the system to attain the information of the users. This may dissuade people from frequenting the place of business.

7 Wi-Fi Security Tips

With that being said, how can entrepreneurs incorporate greater security efforts for their Wi-Fi? Here are seven tips for doing so:

  • Frequently check the network’s security.
  • Ensure you’re on the correct network (not a “dummy” one).
  • Close non-password-protected accounts immediately.
  • Maintain the practice of good password protection (strong passwords, regularly changed).
  • Never conduct financial business on a public Wi-Fi.
  • Turn off your Wi-Fi hotspot when the business has closed.
  • Always update your Wi-Fi software (outdated codes could lead to infiltration and data breaches).