You’ve no doubt seen that “Free Public WiFi” network in airports across the world. Well, now you know why it’s there (and why they don’t work):

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?”

Not a lot of people, judging from the spread of Free Public WiFi. Computers with the XP bug that try to connect to the Internet will remember the name, create their own ad hoc networks and entice other users wherever they go.

(via The Zombie Network: Beware ‘Free Public WiFi’ : NPR)

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