Have you seen this wireless network? I see it *everywhere*, and it’s so suspicious because it’s always ad-hoc (meaning broadcasting from a computer rather than a regular access point). I imagined for a long time it was part of a virus; it waits for someone to connect, redirects to a page that exploits some hole in Internet Explorer, scrapes your hard disk and sends your social security number to Russia, sets itself up as “Free Public WiFi”, repeat.
After seeing it for the thousandth time at the train station Philadelphia yesterday I decided to look it up. Turns out it’s not a virus (at least not in the usual sense) but rather an interesting fuckup on Microsoft’s part, with viral consequences.
Basically, if Windows can’t connect to a preferred network that happens to be ad-hoc it creates the network itself with the same name. At some point, somebody was connected to a real ad-hoc network called “Free Public WiFi”. They went to another location where it didn’t exist, their laptop helpfully recreated the network, more people connected to it (and probably disconnected when it didn’t work), those people carried it with them somewhere else, and the cycle has been repeating ever since.
I just stopped following someone because they bombed my dashboard with 3 pages of posts. Please don’t do that.