Starbucks is offering free wi-fi in all of their locations starting today, so Lifehacker has some instructions that will help you keep your laptop safe while using public wi-fi. (Not just at Starbucks, obviously.)
Here’s why it’s important:
Just because most wireless routers have a firewall to protect you from the internet doesn’t mean you’re protected from others connected to the same network. Lots of wireless hotspots these days are completely unencrypted, usually so they’re easier to connect to (baristas don’t need to be giving out the internet password to everyone that walks in). However, this leaves you unprotected against malicious users in the same coffee shop, so there are a few settings you should always make sure to tweak when you’re connected to a public network.
Anyway while this may help protect your from hackers, we must admit that your laptop will never be totally Starbucks-proof until they invent coffee-repellent.
How to Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi Networks [Lifehacker]