Microsoft axes contentious Windows 10 Wi-Fi sharing feature

Microsoft axes contentious Windows 10 Wi-Fi sharing feature

One of the themes that Microsoft has tried to push with Windows 10 is how the latest OS tries to make life easier for users by making decisions for them. While an almost nice goal, that usually meant Windows 10 added or enabled features sometimes without the user’s consent or even knowledge. One of those conveniences was Wi-Fi Sense, which supposedly made it easier to share Wi-Fi access, meaning passwords, with people in your social networks who happen to also be in the same area. Unsurprisingly, it was a controversial feature that Microsoft is now removing almost a year later, but for a different reason.

Wi-Fi Sense is actually two Wi-Fi sharing features rolled into one. One part of it allowed Windows 10 users who have Wi-Fi Sense enabled to immediately hop onto known public Wi-Fi hotspots even without having to join explicitly. Those known networks are usually harvested via crowdsourcing.

The other half of the feature is the more controversial one. It allowed users to share Wi-Fi credentials with contacts who are on social networks and addressbooks, like Outlook, Skype, and Facebook. This was regarded as a relatively insecure method of sharing passwords, as it opens the doors to potential hacking and whatnot.

WiFiSense2

To be fair, there has been no reported intrusions using this feature and perhaps Microsoft believes the feature to be flawless. Nonetheless, the latest Windows 10 Insider build removes the Wi-Fi sharing feature simply because it turned out that practically no one was using it. Microsoft just couldn’t justify maintaining the code for the feature. Whether no one used the feature out of security and privacy concerns or because it was plain useless, we will now never know.

That said, the other half of Wi-Fi Sense remains. You will still be to join known open Wi-Fi networks automatically, to save on data and battery as Microsoft promises. Whether that too is a security risk, so far no one has made big stink about it.

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