Why You Shouldn’t Click ‘Free Public Wifi’ Network While Writing Remotely

By Jason Boog Comment

If you are like many 21st Century writers, you love to take your laptop computer to parks, coffee shops, and other places to write away from home. When searching for a WiFi signal, you have probably seen a connection entitled “Free Public WiFi” and clicked. Stop clicking!

NPR has a special report explaining how the  “Free Public WiFi” network works (see an example in that photo by zcopley). The “free” option is actually a Windows XP bug that spreads from computer to computer. While it won’t wreck your laptop, it does leave your computer vulnerable. So stop clicking on “Free Public WiFi”  when working at your favorite coffee shop!

Here’s more from NPR: “Free Public WiFi isn’t set up like most wireless networks people use to get to the Internet. Instead, it’s an “ad hoc” network — meaning when a user selects it, he or she isn’t connecting to a router or hot spot, but rather directly to someone else’s computer in the area. … It does, however, provide an access point for hackers to come in and check out the user’s files.” (Via Lifehacker)