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Using free wifi with regards to privacy/security


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#1 Frank C.

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 04:30 AM

Ive been using the free wifi at this local diner for awhile without any concern for privacy.  I figured Ive got a good firewall and antivirus and Im not doing anything on the internet that would require usernames/passwords, cc info etc...  Mostly I just use the wifi to read the news.

 

But lately Ive been more concerned with being more careful when Im on there.  Ive been reading up on what exactly someone can see/steal when using wifi hotspots that anyone can have access to.  Scary stuff.

 

I read that a vpn would be a great way to stay safe while using wifi hotspots, so I downloaded a program called HotSpot Shield and installed it.  My questions are is this adequate along with good firewall/anti virus programs to keep my privacy intact?  And to anyone else here who uses HotSpot Shield or a comparable vpn service:  do these vpn services also extend to other programs on my computer that acesses the internet?  For example, I download a lot of pdf files using a program called internet download manager.  Does the vpn service also apply whenever I use that program to download those files?

 

Thanks for any help!


Edited by Frank C., 16 July 2013 - 04:32 AM.


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#2 TsVk!

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 09:37 PM

As to your local VPN software. It changes all your internet settings, not just your browser settings, so it is just as secure to browse as it is to download using 3rd party software.

 

Hackers will look for easier targets than you with firewall and VPN generally, but there is always a risk no matter what precautions you take.



#3 AdagioBoognish

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 10:57 PM

I don't do a lot of work outside of my home network, but it seems like Hotspot Shield would work fine for you. You might want to check out your built in Windows VPN, like TsVk said. Microsoft's been improving it since Vista launched. It looks like VPN software preferences have more to do with additional features like a killswitch, that disconnects the laptop from the network if the VPN isn't functioning, or any kind of DNS leak prevention. If you're using different log in information for different sites, have an good anti-virus and firewall protection, and a VPN you're about as safe as you can be. Don't forget to select Public Network when you connect on wifi, it'll disable folder sharing for you and keep people from easily viewing your files. 



#4 Frank C.

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 10:28 PM

Hi guys.

 

Thanks for the responses.  Im feeling safer already.






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