Secure Coffee Shop Surfing – Microsoft Tips

I was recently in a local coffee shop doing work. I had the opportunity to strike up a conversation with the fellow next to me. He was using an older Windows XP computer. I watched as he waited about 10 min for it to boot up. Then after it booted I watched a lot of Adware pop-up windows and he closed them all. I discussed that I know a little bit about computers and offered to clean it up while we talked about the National Debt.

As I explained that he had 2 virus (thanks Microsoft essentials for cleaning them) and way too many ad toolbars and malware. I also, discussed how being on a public wireless network was not safe. For fun I did a quick ping of his PC, then I did a network connect statement \\hiscomputername\ --> What showed up was his shared drive (cdrive) for everyone to read / write.

It is amazing to me how insecure people make their PC. I asked if he remembered ever turning on file sharing on his PC. He mentioned that his son had tried to fix his computer and did something. Overall, these type of people need a VPN when on a public wifi to secure their information, packets, and surfing. However, there is a greater security issue. That is the poor state of their computer. I could have convinced this individual to purchase a subscription to Wifi VPN when he is traveling and on public wifi (which he does a lot). However, what he really needed is a good Virus protection program and a PC cleaning.

Sometimes you need to take a step back and help people start from the beginning with security. In the end, I got a free cup of coffee and made a friend.

I also suggested he read the Quick Microsoft Tips for public wifi. (note the 2nd option is VPN)

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