Continuing with this series about technologies for entrepreneurs, in the category of software, today I talk about software that helps us browse the Internet in a secure way. This category of software will be useful for people who travel often and those that use the Internet in public places.
Before I talk about this software, let me remind you some tips for browsing the Internet in a secure fashion, from the perspective of a Systems and Computer Engineer. Most of the recommendations are just to be smart, other require the aid of technologies. You have to understand that the Internet has many dangers and threats, but that we can use this network securely if we follow some simple rules.
First, never use a public computer, in places like hotels, libraries, Internet cafes and more, to access password protected sites, such as emails and banks; many of this computers have key loggers, which can capture and steal your personal information. Second, never install programs from unknown sources. Also, have antivirus and firewall software to increase your security. Finally, use different and secure passwords. Here you can read a previous article where I explain how to create different passwords and keep track of them.
The best way to access the Internet when you’re on the road is through a public Wi-Fi, as long as you have what is called VPN software. I’ve seen several solutions on the web, and I’ve used for sometime one called Hotspot Shield VPN. I like it, because it has a basic free-for-life version, plus a paid Premium Version. The paid version costs about US $30.00 per year, which is not that expensive, plus it allows you to use their software in up to 5 devices. Their software works with Windows, Mac, iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android devices.
But what is a VPN? This is a complex technical solution, but in practice it’s quite easy to explain. When you use a VPN, your Internet connection, through a cable, Wi-Fi, cellular connection or any other, goes through an invisible tunnel. This is a secure tunnel, where all your incoming and outgoing messages are encrypted and no one can see that you’re doing on the web. So if for example you’re using an unsecure Wi-Fi connection on your device, for instance on a public park, restaurant or hotel, someone can eavesdrop on you and try to figure out what you are browsing. When using a VPN all your data will be encrypted, and it will be unlikely, almost impossible, for someone to figure out what you’re doing.
A VPN solution includes a second component, which is connecting through a server. Actually, to the Internet, the server is the one that is making the browsing. One additional benefit of this is that if your Internet service had some limits, like blocking video sites or social networks, when using the VPN this limits are lifted.
For many people a VPN can be an extreme solution, but I prefer to be exaggerated, than over confident. When we travel, have important information on our computer; this is the best solution we can take to avoid later on, all types of problems.
Image taken from Flickr.com