According to something I spotted something in a set of directions for connecting to a hidden wireless network from windows 8 found here (located under Step 1 > "Troubleshoot connection problems" > "How do I connect to a hidden wireless network?"):
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. (emphasis added)
I had always believed that hidden wireless networks were actually safer than normal ones, because only those who already know of the network are able to connect to it, so an attacker wouldn't be able to connect to it to listen to your traffic.
Are hidden networks actually more risky, as the paragraph says, and if so, what measures can be taken to help mitigate the risk?
Also, I know that there are some countries where publicly broadcasting home networks are actually illegal, and hidden networks are the only option for wireless. If broadcasting networks are safer, why are they illegal in some places?