Why is Windows 10 saying “Wi-Fi Network Isn’t Secure”?

By Tobenna Nnabeze | October 16, 2019 |

greater than 4 minutes

If you’ve just upgraded Windows 10 to the May 2019 Update, you may begin to get a message that says “[Network Name] isn’t secure – This Wi-Fi network uses an older security standard that’s being phased out. We recommend connecting to a different network.”  This happens when you try establishing a Wi-Fi connection.

Should you be worried about this? What can be done to fix it? Keep reading to find out.

Why Does Windows 10 Say That a Wi-Fi Network Isn’t Secure?

To protect your data, your wireless network needs to be encrypted. This denies connection access to anyone in the vicinity unless they have the password to your Wi-Fi router. It also prevents snoopers from listening in on your activities.

The warning from Windows indicates that the network your computer is connected to still uses WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) or TKIP (Temporal Key Integrity Protocol) encryption. These are older security protocols that aren’t safe anymore. They are too weak to protect you from an attack.

Today, WEP, WPA, and WPA2 are the encryption methods that are in use. WPA3 is still in development.

WEP is the oldest one there is, and also the least secure. It’s no news that attack vectors are getting more and more advanced. Thus, several flaws in the encryption method were discovered over time.

To understand how far back the Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) security protocol goes, you need to know that it was ratified by the Wi-Fi Alliance in the year 1991. This means that it has been in existence before Windows XP, the original iPod, and even YouTube.

After WEP comes WPA-TKIP. This was endorsed as far back as 2002 (17 years ago). Although it was meant to replace its predecessor, it still shares many of the same loopholes. An attacker can get through it with pretty much the same technique that works for WEP.

Despite the vulnerabilities that exist with these encryption options, they are still being widely used, unfortunately.

For this reason, you get a warning on the Windows 10 May 2019 Update if the OS finds that you are trying to connect to such a wireless network. Soon, these outdated encryption protocols will no longer be supported by Microsoft. This means that newer versions of Windows 10 won’t allow a connection to networks that use it.

How to Fix the ‘Wi-Fi Connection Is Not Secure’ Issue

If you were about to connect to a public Wi-Fi network when you got the notification, the problem is out of your hands as it falls to the owner of the router to perform the required improvements. This is why the warning recommends that you should connect to a different network.

However, if you get the message while trying to connect to your own Wi-Fi network, you have to upgrade to a stronger encryption method or replace your router as soon as you are able.

Your router should have better encryption options like WPA2 with AES as long as it is relatively recent. To get rid of the ‘Connection isn’t secure’ warnings, all you have to do is make a switch.

Since the administration page of every router differs, you may need to consult the manual of your particular model or go online and look up the instructions on how to perform the desired configurations.

If you cannot resolve the
problem yourself, you can
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However, we’ll still provide you with a more or less general idea on how to make the changes:

  1. Enter your router’s IP in your browser.
  2. Go to your Wi-Fi security settings and look out for any section about passwords or WEP.
  3. If you are not sure about the option to go for, see if “WPA2 + AES” is listed and select it. If it’s not, then choose WPA + AES.

Note: Keep in mind that the way these options are listed in your router’s dialog may be somewhat different. But they should still contain the same letters. For instance, WPA2+AES could be presented as WPA2-PSK (AES).

After you’ve made the switch, you’ll have to update the password on all your devices before you can be able to connect. You need to do this even if you didn’t change the password.

Do I have to get a new router?

There’s no other option available to you than to replace your router as soon as possible if it doesn’t provide any encryption protocol other than WEP or TKIP.

If you got the device from your internet service provider (ISP), contact them and find out whether they have a more recent model.

However, you may want to consider returning your old router to your ISP and buy one yourself instead. It’s possible that you are being charged a monthly fee. And if you’ve had it for long, you might have spent many times the amount it costs to buy a new router.

In conclusion,

It’s a good idea to act on the ‘Wi-Fi Network Isn’t Secure’ warning on Windows 10 as soon as you can. In no distant time, with the release of new major updates, you won’t be able to make a connection, as Windows will no longer support networks that use WEP or TKIP.

Therefore, the earlier you stop using these security protocols, the better. They are now outdated and vulnerable, making you easy prey for hackers.

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We do hope this content has been of help to you.

Please feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment in the section below.

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