Sunday, June 20, 2010

Free Public WiFi by Morgan Mandel

Okay, this is connected to mystery in a very broad sense. If nothing else, it's something to be aware of.

Well, I'd heard more than once that it's impossible for trains to provide free public WiFi on them. So, Thursday, I was tremendously surprised to find a site come up on my software with 5 bars and a preferred star. The site was called Free Public WiFi. Was it possible somehow someone had done the impossible?

The site seemed to connect, yet I still felt uneasy about it, so I disconnected and went to the Mobile mode, even though that hadn't been working too well.

When I got home, I decided to go to my favorite information gathering site, Google, hoping to see maybe some announcement that yes, now it was possible to get free public Wifi on trains.

Alas, all I found were a bunch of articles saying Free Public WiFi in transportation places, like trains and planes, was some kind of viral thing - not a virus, but a windows happening which somehow connected two or more computers together, usually with no resulting connection online, worse case scenario being someone actually hacking your system. I did a scan afterwards and fortunately all was clean. I also learned that linksys and hpsetup were two other site addresses that could pop up but not be real. I've seen both of them, even in Wisconsin.

Goes to show, nothing is free these days, at least on my train. Here's one of the links: http://compnetworking.about.com/b/2008/12/17/can-we-all-stop-connecting-to-free-public-wifi-now.htm

I was wondering how to prevent getting the sites from popping up in the future. I found the answer on Google. One article mentioned if you have a switch on the laptop cutting off Wi Fi, use it when you don't want those strange WiFi sites popping up. Funny, I know about that switch. Google helped me find it when I couldn't get my WiFi started at home off of my DSL and didn't know the reason. Somehow I'd turned off the switch, probably when putting the computer into its case.

What goes around comes around, I guess. The first mystery was solved, which led me to find a solution for another mystery.

What about you? Have you seen any of these sites on your computer? Or maybe you have another computer mystery you solved that you'd like to share.

7 comments:

Vivian Zabel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vivian Zabel said...

I've only used WiFi at hotels or other places that I trust, no strange or unexpected WiFi up-croppings.

As far as other computer mysteries, computers are mysteries as far as I'm concerned. How did we end up depending on them so much?

Debra St. John said...

I don't use WiFi, but it sounds like this is definitely something people should be aware of.

All I know is I've learned to never search for information about the Trojan Horse on my computer. Instead of info, I wound up with a Trojan Virus. My computer was a mess forever, needed the Geek Squad over at Best Buy to fix it for me. Arghhh!

Katie Hines said...

Gosh, Morgan, I'd never heard of any of this! My husband and I are recently separated (no, not like divorce) because of his job doing truck driver training. Hopefully, I'll see him this week for the first time in 6 weeks! All that to say we've been moving around trying to find wi fi to connect with. I'm going to have to tell him about this article.

Tony Burton said...

Deborah,

Since it was a Trojan Virus, are you sure you didn't use the "Greek Squad" to remove it?

(Sorry, history buff here... I couldn't resist!)

Tony

Anonymous said...

hope my local coffee shop and McDonald's is safe WiFi houses....hmmmm....never know where the jerks and the trolls are coming from these days. The people who do this kind of thing are like the nastiest of the nastiest small minded people who obviously have on life of their own....damm em to 'ell
Rob Walker

Annay Dawson said...

Sounds like this could be the making of good mystery novel. Any takers???