Why You Should Not Connect To “Free Public WiFi”

Posted Nov 28, 2010

Many of you have seen the “Free Public WiFi” option that appears in their wireless connection options on their Windows powered laptops. This connection is especially common at airports and coffee shops. This connection is not a free WiFi connection for you to use.

Below is an excerpt from NPR about the connection:

When a computer running an older version of XP can’t find any of its “favorite” wireless networks, it will automatically create an ad hoc network with the same name as the last one it connected to -? in this case, “Free Public WiFi.” Other computers within range of that new ad hoc network can see it, luring other users to connect. And who can resist the word “free?”

In most cases, clicking connect on “Free Public WiFi” should not affect your computer. However I would recommend never connecting to it since a hacker could be using the connection to steal login information from your connection. I recommend disabling this network name from your list right away.