You may have heard the scary sounding news by now, but Microsoft Windows 10 is giving out your passwords to other people. You’d think it was a bug in the free and newly released operating system, but it’s actually being done on purpose. What on earth did you ever do to Bill Gates, anyway?
Actually, you didn’t do anything (to our knowledge, anyway). Windows 10 is giving out your passwords to other people in order to help you. That’s right: the software is trying to keep you from having to remember your (most likely) entirely long and complicated string of letters and numbers passcode for your Wi-Fi.
Windows 10 isn’t trying to give just anybody your bank, email, or other passwords, so you can rest easy with that thought.
However, what you might want to start thinking about is who Windows 10 does want to give your Wi-Fi password to, like all of your Facebook or email contacts. Think deeply about who these people really are. Did you ever friend the annoying neighbor because you felt you had to? Or simply add them as a contact? Well, now they’ll have access to your Wi-Fi, thanks to Windows 10.
According to Tom’s Guide, Windows 10 doesn’t tell the person exactly what your password is, but Windows 10 opens the gateway, so to speak, for the user who is within range of your Wi-Fi. The operating system does this with something called Wi-Fi Sense, and it uses an encrypted version of your password.
However, there really isn’t a reason to completely freak out if you’ve already upgraded to Windows 10 and didn’t have a clue about any of this information. If you have enabled Wi-Fi Sense, people who can access your Wi-Fi cannot allow their own friends and contacts to access your internet, and your friends and contacts still cannot access your own network and items within your personal computer unless you’ve added them to your network or you didn’t turn off a feature called “network discovery.”
You can make Windows 10 opt out of all this sharing simply by adding “_optout” at the end of your WiFi’s name, according to CNN Money. You can also do it in the settings on your computer under “Manage Wi-Fi Settings” and turning off the features of Wi-Fi Sense.
While it is easy to simply click away while installing the new version of Windows, you should know that Windows 10 is giving out your passwords to other people. Think critically before making a decision to enable the features to allow other people to automatically connect to your Wi-Fi network.
[Photo by Stephen Brashear / Getty Images]