Beware 'Free Public WiFi'
Often seen at coffee shops and airports, Free Public WiFi is not a legitimate Internet network, according to an Oct. 9 NPR report by Travis Larchuk. Instead, it is an ad hoc network that appears as a result of a bug in Windows XP.
The reports explains that when a computer running Windows XP isn't able to log in to a network, it automatically creates a network with the same name as the last one it connected to in this case, 'Free Public WiFi.' Nearby computers then see this as a viable network and log on.
But Free Public WiFi won't get you on to the Internet, and could actually expose your system to a hacker looking to remotely exploit it, the article said.
Microsoft released Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) to fix the problem, and suggests users make sure their computers are up to date to avoid displaying the illegitimate free network.