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Old 09-09-2014, 07:15 AM   #1
ridin gaijin OP
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Question Road trip wifi security, any thoughts?

In the US and internationally, when I'm in areas that offer free wifi--motels, libraries, Tim Horton's (RIP ) and other public spaces--I tend to use it. What's the weather, where will I sleep during tonight's downpour, etc.; but also, more sensitive stuff: check email, do I have enough money to last the week and so on.

The latest titanic credit breach (thanks Home Depot!) has got me thinking about security generally. I really should be more responsible about using wifi when away from trusted networks. Do YFFs use any kind of protection in this situation? I have an iPhone and am thinking about using VPNs such as those provided by Cloak or SurfEasy. They cost money. What do you use and why?
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Old 09-09-2014, 09:54 PM   #2
PachmanP
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I would definitely consider VPN with the lack of security on public WiFi. Folks can also set up a hotspot, call it "Starbucks WiFi" and get all the unencrypted info (almost everything) they want.

That said I generally just try to restrict "sensitive" surfing to my cell data connection, but that's not always an option.

Paying something would probably be OK, but I don't know about those services.

If you were tech savvy, you could set up your own vpn to your home pc and use it as a portal out. The connection between you and home then is at least secure.
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Old 09-09-2014, 11:07 PM   #3
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The most important thing is regardless of what type of network you're on, make certain that the website you're connected to if it is displaying sensitive/private information is SECURED. Look for https: in the url bar, and all modern browsers typically display a Closed Padlock symbol up near the address bar too. This is the easiest way to ensure your packets are encrypted when browsing the web. Gmail for instance defaults to HTTPS I believe. and If your bank doesn't use HTTPS it's time to find another bank that does, because there is zero excuse for them.

I am a computer tech, and I wouldn't bother using a VPN unless I was going to China or Defcon in Las Vegas. Just make sure your computer is virus-free. All the VPN's and crypto software in the world won't do crap against a simple keylogger or other viruses.
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Old 09-11-2014, 09:00 AM   #4
ridin gaijin OP
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Thanks guys. Next big trip I think I'll opt for Cloak. They offer a one-month option.
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'96 R1100GS, the Black Beast. Most recently: 6000 miles thru US + CA. (past) 09 XCountry; 05 Tiger, sold after 32 dual sporting US states; and about a dozen on & off road Japanese bikes, all good in their own way, ridden in the US & Japan. "You just have to ride the bike and not worry." - Hank (with half a million miles on his 95 GS)
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Old 09-15-2014, 11:35 AM   #5
engineered2win
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You can setup your own free VPN at home. You can either run OpenVPN on a home server or install it on a compatible router using Tomato or DD-WRT firmware. I wouldn't ues the VPN for streaming media, but it would add another layer of security to your conventional internet browsing. It would also keep sites and people from tracking your location based upon the ip address you login to your accounts with.

There have also been a few articles recently about rogue cell phone towers, along the lines of rogue wifi hotspots masquerading as 'Starbucks Wifi. Some of the older fake cell towers would only show up as a 2G connection on your phone, but more recent reports suggest these rogue towers are now 3g and/or 4g capable, so they can also capture your mobile data & texts in addition to your phone calls.

I don't currently use a VPN when travel inside the US, but it would make a ton of sense with international travel. Some websites may deny access to certain countries for legal or security reasons. It would be unfortunate to finally find an internet connection in Southeast Asia and be unable to access your online banking info due to website ip address restrictions.
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