Going online at the airport? Avoid “Free Public WiFi” rogue

Microsoft posted on their blog about the dangers of using unsecured public WiFi this week. The blog reads:

‘Tis the season for airline travel. If you’ve ever tried to connect to a wireless network at an airport, coffee shop, or other public place you might have seen a network called “Free Public WiFi” and you’ve probably been tempted to try it.

Don’t.

If you’re using Windows XP and you haven’t installed the latest updates, connecting to this network could not only expose your personal information to hackers, but could give you a virus that you could spread to other computers.

A vulnerability in Windows XP (that was fixed several years ago) caused computers to connect to ad hoc networks automatically. For a good explanation of this problem, read the NPR story The Zombie Network: Beware ‘Free Public WiFi.’

If you’re still using Windows XP, go to Windows Update to install all the latest updates on your computer. Then turn on automatic updating. (Note: If you’ve never installed a service pack on Windows XP, your operating system is no longer supported and you should upgrade to Windows 7. Microsoft supports Windows XP Service Pack 3 and higher. For more information, see What does End of Support mean?)

We recommend that you use automatic updating no matter what operating system you’re using. You should also consider upgrading to Windows 7, the newest and most secure version of the Windows operating system.

Bottom line: If you’re running Windows XP, keep your operating system updated and steer clear of this deceptive network.


Dominic Jones

I'm a proud father, husband, huge James Bond fan, lover of fast cars and prolific buyer of technology gadgets. I started my first business when I was 21, learning the harsh way how to become successful. Through hard work, dedicating myself to learning and persistent focus I created one of the fastest growing computer services businesses in the UK.