You must update your Windows laptop now to fix urgent Wi-Fi bug

If you regularly use public Wi-Fi networks on your Windows laptop at places such as libraries, cafes, pubs or airports then you’ll want to dive into your device’s settings and install the latest software updates as soon as possible. Microsoft has discovered several critical vulnerabilities in its Windows 10 and Windows 11 software including one nasty bug that could let hackers access your machine when you’re connected to public Wi-Fi.

As spotted by The Register, the security update pushed out to all Windows computers on 11 June included a fix for the snappily named CVE-2024-30078 vulnerability which worryingly could technically allow a nearby criminal to hack into your device with relative ease, without needing any kind of authentication to do so.

Public Wi-Fi networks are often ‘open’ and do not require a password so that you can connect easily and quickly. However this means these networks are far less secure than password-protected networks, and are hotbeds for cybercriminals who often lurk nearby and hack into unsuspecting people’s connected devices when possible.

These open Wi-Fi networks are usually found in public places where you might want to connect your laptop to check email, do work or join a video call. But thanks to this bug, hackers could conceivably take control of your laptop without your knowledge.

“An unauthenticated attacker could send a malicious networking packet to an adjacent system that is employing a Wi-Fi networking adapter, which could enable remote code execution,” Microsoft said.

This means an attacker could run malware or spyware on your computer without you even realising, potentially allowing them access to your private documents or online accounts. From here, criminals can defraud or blackmail victims.

Microsoft has marked the troublesome bug fix as ‘important’, a label that is its second-highest rating on its scale of severity. The good news is the tech firm doesn’t believe the bug has been exploited out in public yet, so if you update to the latest version of Windows today you should be covered.

If you are using a public Wi-Fi network it’s a good idea to invest in a VPN, which stands for virtual private network. This is a subscription-based piece of software that creates secure network conditions for your devices even if you are using an open public Wi-Fi network. We’ve rounded up some of the best VPN services and deals here.

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