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Be Safe! Use A VPN!

Public wifi hotspot/public wifi/coffee shop

Everyday it seems there is a new cyber security scare! Ransomeware, stolen identity, emails containing worms that allow nefarious types to highjack your email and use it to rip off your friends, as well as you. We are truly never completely safe online anymore. This is going to be the first of a series of posts with tips about what we can do to be as safe as possible in the cyber world.

Most of us use public wifi at least occasionally. We use public wifi at our cowork space, our favorite coffee shop, restaurants, bars even the local grocery store.  We check our email on our phones, tablets or laptops and play music on Google Play, iTunes or other provider.  In order to do any of this and a lot of other things we do on the internet we have to provide our password and ID  or our devices automatically sign in. Either way that information is now available to anyone who knows how to snag it. The people with this knowledge who are lurking in public spaces are usually people who have criminal motives, or operatives of foreign governments or terrorist organizations.  They want your credentials for monetary gain.  Your identity and information are bought and sold on the dark net.  You can however protect yourself by using a VPN.  VPN is the acronym for virtual private network.  Whether you use Android, Windows or Apple devices you can download a VPN at the appropriate app store.  VPN’s mask your device identity, and location and encrypts your data.

Update:

Since I wrote this article I have tested several VPN’s, Paid and free, including NordVPN and HotSpot. The VPN that performed best, for me, was TunnelBear. The biggest issue overall with VPN’s is dropped connections. Other VPN’s could not seem to stay connected to the remote location. This makes the VPN virtually useless because the minute it drops you are vulnerable. TunnelBear on my iPhone has remained connected for a week as of today. Not once has TunnelBear dropped on any of my devices and it’s easy to use. Install, select the country you want to tunnel to and browse securely.  If you choose your home country TunnelBear will tunnel to a city other than the one you live in.

You can test drive TunnelBear for free. Should you decide to purchase there are several excellent rate options.  I chose the Unlimited one year plan for $4.99 a month. The Unlimited plan provides connection for up to 5 devices on both the yearly and monthly plan. Before you purchase any VPN:

Test drive before you buy

Choose a VPN that has a plan that allows connection to multiple devices

Do not choose a VPN that drops connections and requires you to frequently reconnect.

Hope you find this article useful!

 

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