My Privacy Is Intact At The Coffee Shop!!!
Happy New Year Everyone! I hope you all had a very fun and safe weekend!
This past Friday night, I was enjoying a late night coffee with my wife and a friend at one of the late night Starbucks coffee shops. While there, I noticed many people utilizing the free “hot spot” that the shop offers it patrons. This brings me to today’s topic… virtual private networks or VPN.
A VPN is used mostly by companies with traveling workers. A VPN allows the worker to connect back to the company’s computer network securely, while providing the worker with the resources the network has to offer. What does this mean to you and I though? Nowadays, with the growth in popularity of companies offering “free WIFI hotspots” to attract patrons, it is important to know the dangers of using those free hotspots.
I am sure we have all heard about the dangers of using an open internet connection before, but let me give you an example of how easy it is to do bad things.
With a tool such as AirPcap and a password cracker called Cain, I can sit at the local coffee shop with my laptop and “sniff” the airwaves. This sniffing allows me to gather packets of information as they flow from your computer to the router that you are using to get on the internet. These packets contain the data that you are sending to and receiving from your bank website, email account, and/or your Facebook/Twitter account, or quite possibly your blog account. You see, sitting there long enough, I can gather enough packets to see everything you are doing, and then steal your passwords for my later use. The best part about all of this, I don’t need any real training in how to do it! The software does it all for me!
So, back to the VPN topic I was mentioning earlier, if you find yourself utilizing these free hotspots more often than not, look into purchasing a personal VPN service. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT use a free VPN service. You give the host the right to see everything you do on the internet, which will then turn into a marketing campaign, and, you are not always aware of who is actually hosting the VPN server you are using. Pay for the service! It is not expensive; I have seen prices as low at $3.99/month. $50 per year is not a bad price to pay to protect your information, is it?
3 Vendors that I have used in the past (I don’t get paid for mentioning them):
Protect your information, protect yourself; Coffee is brewing people, it is time to wake up!!!
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