Last Updated Oct 7, 2008 9:31 AM EDT
See, while the firewall keeps hackers from breaking into my PC, the wireless traffic to and from the system is up for grabs. A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, encrypts that traffic, so that I'm "shouting across the room" in some indecipherable language.
What you (and I) should do, then, is install a free or cheap VPN program on our notebooks and use it every single time we access a public network. Consumerist lists a handful of VPN solutions, including the free OpenVPN program we covered last year. Also discussed: a USB drive you can plug in for instant (and user-friendly) VPN.
This is required reading for anyone who frequents public hotspots. Photo by cruiz7447.