At public hot-spots you need to take precautions based on your personal risk threshold.
* Make sure you configure the network type to Public when connecting at a public hot-spot.
»windows.microsoft.com/en-US/wind ··· location
»technet.microsoft.com/en-us/libr ··· 110.aspx
* When conducting e-commerce make sure the site, ie. bank or on-line retailer or whatever, are using SSL. Look for the little Lock icon at the top of IE or whatever web browser your using. This encrypts your e-commerce between you and the e-commerce provider servers.
»skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid ··· 8FBE!118
* If your using email check with your email provider to see if they offer SSL protected email. Many, including my provider Cox HSI and Gmail, do. If not consider using a free service like Mail2Web while traveling to secure your email while on a public hot-spot. Keep in mind this encrypts your email between you and the Mail2Web servers not further.
If your truly paranoid look at using encrypted email between you and your recipients. You and your friends/family can get free email certificates from Commodo that are used to both sign and encrypt email. To send an encrypted email you need the recipients certificate and vice versa.
»www.comodo.com/home/email-securi ··· cate.php
Another option is Gpg4win (an open source PGP, ie. OpenPGP, project). I sometimes use Gpg4win and the included Claws email client to exchange encrypted email.
* Some folks like to use a free service like Hotspot Shield to protect them while on public hot-spots. Keep in mind this encrypts your internet session between you and the Hotspot Shield servers not further.
* Lastly just practice safe surfing using good old common sense...
This has links to various discussions of public hotspot security that have been posted in the past on this forum. They also maybe of interest. The use of various VPN and SSH solutions is discussed.
»Re: public unsecured wireless internet--
"When all else fails read the instructions..."
MS-MVP Windows Expert - Consumer