Why Windows 10 Says Your Wi-Fi Network “Isn’t Secure”

Windows 10 now warns you that a Wi-Fi network "is not secure" when it uses "an older security standard that is phased out." Windows 10 warns you about WEP and TKIP. Here is what this message means and how to correct it.

Starting with Updated May, 2019, Windows may show you a message that your network is not secure, even if you know that you are using a password. If you see this message, you are probably using Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) encryption or Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP). These crypts are not safe to use and you need to upgrade to a newer protocol or replace your router as quickly as possible.

Why Windows 10 warns you

Westell router administration page, indicating the WEP encryption settings.

You probably know that you need to protect your Wi-Fi network with a password. Whether it's keeping roaming neighbors or bad actors out of your system, it's best to secure your wireless network. But when you add a password to your Wi-Fi router, you're not just keeping people out of your network. The security protocol encrypts your data to prevent anyone in the same area from listening to what you are doing.

Several methods of encrypting your Wi-Fi network exist: WEP, WPA and WPA2. WPA3 is on the way, too. WEP is the oldest and least secure at this stage. Look like this; The Wi-Fi Alliance ratified the WEP protocol in 1999, making the standard older than Windows XP, YouTube and the original iPod. WPA-TKIP was approved in 2002.

That's why Windows warns you about these networks by warning you of the following:

[Network Name] is not secure

This Wi-Fi network uses an old security standard that has been phased out. We recommend that you connect to another network.

RELATED: Brand new in the May 2019 update of Windows 10, available now

Why WEP and TKIP are dangerous

Unfortunately, despite (or because of) its age, WEP and WPA-TKIP are still quite common. We found that the WEP protocol was still used on the router provided by an ISP. We have nothing to change or activate WEP; they already used it. WEP is a notoriously ugly encryption option. Since the beginning, this has never improved much.

When the encryption protocol was released for the first time, most devices have limited 64-bit WEP encryption due to US regulations. This has improved, but as you can see above, we tried to use 64-bit encryption. WPA, in comparison, uses 256-bit encryption. Even worse, several flaws in the protocol have been discovered over time, making encryption easier to crack. In 2005, the FBI demonstrated its ability to decrypt WEP encryption in just minutes.

The Wi-Fi alliance was intended to replace WEP with WPA-TKIP, but unfortunately the new protocol uses many of the same mechanisms. Because of this choice, the two protocols also share many of the same vulnerabilities. A method to drill one works generally as well with the other. TKIP is therefore no safer to use than WEP.

Knowing all this, Microsoft would like to warn you if you are using WEP or TKIP so that you can solve the problem. This is especially important because, ultimately, Microsoft is considering deleting or even "deprecating" – protocol support. In this case, the latest versions of Windows 10 will not be able to connect to these networks.

RELATED: The difference between Wi-Fi WEP, WPA and WPA2 passwords

How to fix this error on your Wi-Fi

The router sets the security options, showing several different encryption options.

If you see this message when you connect to a public Wi-Fi network, you can not repair it. The owner of the router must repair it. That's why Windows recommends connecting to another network.

If you see this message when connecting to your Wi-Fi network, you need to enable more powerful Wi-Fi encryption. If your router is relatively new, it will have other options such as WPA2 with AES, and you should switch to it. Unfortunately, almost every router administration page is different, so it's hard to give instructions for making this change. You may want to review the instructions for setting up your router model or consulting its manual.

You will want find the IP address of your router and enter it in your browser. Next, look for your Wi-Fi security settings. Watch for sections on WEP or passwords. If you are wondering what to select, we recommend that you first choose WPA2 + AES if it is available and, if not, choose WPA + AES.

The label in your router's dialog box may be slightly different, but all these letters must be there. WPA2 + AES could for example look like "WPA2-PSK (AES)". Once the change is made, you will need to update the password on all your devices (even if you use the same password as before).

RELATED: How to find the IP address of your router on any computer, smartphone or tablet

Update your router if you can not increase encryption

Router, chain and padlock. Wi-Fi network protected by passwordIgor Nikushin / Shutterstock

If you do not see any better option than WEP or TKIP, replace your router as soon as possible. If you are using a router provided by your ISP, you can contact them to find out if they will offer a newer model.

But a better option might be to buy one and send the old router back to your ISP. They may charge you a monthly fee to have it and depending on how long you have with the router, you could have already paid it several times.

You do not have to spend a lot of money on a router. If you have a medium-sized home with a moderate number (20 or less) of Wi-Fi devices, AC1750 from TP-Link is relatively inexpensive at $ 56.99 and easy to set up. You can even control it from an application if you want.

No matter how you stop using WEP or TKIP, the faster you deal with the problem, the better. Not only will you find yourself in a vulnerable position by relying on an outdated security protocol, but your Windows devices will eventually stop connecting. It's best to avoid this scenario and protect your network now.

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