Is it risky to connect to any hidden network?
How do I connect to a hidden wireless network? Is it very risky and can have serious repercussions?
While searching about directions to connecting with a hidden wireless network, I spotted a paragraph that said - A hidden wireless network is a wireless network that isn't broadcasting its network ID (SSID). Typically, wireless networks broadcast their name, and your PC “listens” for the name of the network that it wants to connect to. Because a hidden network doesn’t broadcast, your PC can't find it, so the network has to find your PC. For this to happen, your PC must broadcast both the name of the network it's looking for and its own name. In this situation, other PCs “listening” for networks will know the name of your PC as well as the network you’re connected to, which increases the risk of your PC being attacked.
Non-broadcast wireless hidden networks aren't inherently less secure, but they're not more secure either. Hiding your wireless network (not broadcasting its SSID) doesn't make your network actually hidden as there are many tools that can help you find "hidden" networks, such as Kismet and inSSIDer. If configured to do so, Windows Vista and Windows 7 will have to "ping" in the air to find the hidden network. Because of that, when you're not connected to the network, you'll be advertising that you're trying to connect to network X. If someone is listening to these signals, they can easily find out that you have a network called X to which your computer is attempting to connect. As for the legal issue, I've actually heard that in some jurisdiction it's illegal to leave your network open, but I have never really heard that you have to hide it.