Hackers on free wireless networks – Beware!

My Dell laptop, which had lots of security software and firewalls installed, still somehow managed to get hacked when I connected to wireless this morning. I tried to log in to a more reliable source but when that got rebooted, my laptop automatically switched to the next available network which was called ‘Free public wifi’. I think that somehow started a series of attacks, which my Adblocking software picked up.
Despite blocking everything I was alerted to, my system started malfunctioning. I rebooted and all my desktop shortcuts were gone! I thought that was a minor problem but learnt that none of my .exe files could run!!!!!
My roommate Sarah F discovered that what was called ‘Free Public Wifi’ was not really a public access point. It was actually an ad hoc network set up on someone else’s computer. This is really deceptive and I warn all fellow SXSWers and Austin people NOT to use this network.
Like free love, it comes with viruses.
If anyone has a Windows XP CD I could use to restore my poor broken laptop, please let me know via my [Contact form](http://vantan.org/about/contact.php).