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Yesterday, Network listing on Windows 10 file explorer showed me one external phone. Thus, I changed my router WiFi password just in case.

Nevertheless, I checked this today and I found 5 new phones appearing randomly for a few seconds.

I've found a similar question here, but no solution.

Here is an screenshot:

enter image description here

If I double click that I see: Model: LG-E465g, MAC: 48:59:29:b4:8d:87.

This happens on two PCs that were recently upgraded to Windows 10:

  • one is connected through Ethernet (desktop PC)
  • the other through WiFi (and I disabled Bluetooth)

I hadn't seen this issue before. I guess these are phones trying to connect to my network, I just don't understand why Windows shows them if they are not connected to my router.

Update: If I hide my SSID this issue stops. As soon as my router SSID is visible, phones start appearing again.

Update 2: I tried MAC filtering but is useless.

  • 2
    Those phones seem to be somehow connected or discovered by your PC. Maybe in your local network, maybe BlueTooth. Could be both. BlueTooth uses MAC addresses as well. – GiantTree Sep 22 '15 at 19:30
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    Looks like a Bluetooth connection to me (as well). – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Sep 22 '15 at 19:42
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    I had thought of Bluetooth but after disabling it the phones still appeared – IvanRF Sep 22 '15 at 19:48
17

I've found this thread on Microsoft forums. This issue is related to Windows Connect Now.

Solution: I disabled WPS (also called WCN in Windows) on the router.

In the forum, someone solved this by disabling the Windows service "Windows Connect Now". If you have many PCs on the network that solution is not the best. So, modifying the router setting for WPS stops this for all PCs.

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2

Non Paranoid Answer (more likely):

I'd recommending not broadcasting your SSID, not broadcasting shouldn't really hurt anything. The phones might be automatically trying to connect to your network because they see it, however without the password they should not be able to connect.

Paranoid Answer (less likely):

Granted wifi is known for its insecurity, so nothing would really stop someone from utilizing the phone's cell phone carrier to break your wifi via rainbow tables. For example, test your network, share the information to a server online that has rainbow tables and higher computation power and eventually figure out your password. Don't see why this couldn't be automated via an app... good thing I'm a white hat...

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    As I wrote, a hidden SSID stop this. However, I want to understand why PCs are showing those phones? it's impossible that they had broken my password in minutes since it's very strong. The issue here has something to do with Windows 10 – IvanRF Sep 22 '15 at 22:27
  • WPS uses a weak password though, and some implementation were very broken only needing them yo guess a 4 digit pin followed by a 3 digit pin. (in theory a 8 digit, but one was a checksum number and the remaining 7 were chopped into 4 and 3 digit and if you got the four wrong you got instant feedback. So at max you needed 10.000 + 1.000 attempts. If not rate limited that is easy to do). – Hennes Aug 16 '16 at 14:13

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