VPNs: How, which, why?
Iím planning a trip and want to use hotel wi-fi and ethernet internet connections (in US and UK) to access my bank accounts, webmail, and log in websites. I understand using bank HTTPS connections, are safe as long as the HTTPS connection is maintained but Iím a bit paranoid about security. Iíve been looking at VPNs, but not being a tech head Iím confused. I read a comment that said, ďHotels are deploying invisible web proxies to prevent bandwidth hogs.Ē Does this mean Iím wasting my time with a VPN on a hotel network. What do you think? Can you also help me with a few questions?
1)Do I need special VPN software for personal use?
2) Which VPN software is best? It needs to be simple to set up, use, and is free (I only need it for about 8 weeks).
3) When using a VPN do I have to select a server to use, or does the software do that for me? I plan to be in, say, the US or UK and want to connect to my bank and web mail in Australia.
4) Will a VPN protect my username and password when I log in to my webmail?
Iím sure my question could raise all sorts of tech stuff that may cause my eyes to glaze over. So, if you can keep it very simple youíll have my undying gratitude! I remember a saying that goes, ďHe gave so much background that the foreground went underground!Ē Iíd like to avoid that if possible.
Sincere thanks in advance for your help.
Another option you might consider just for your financial transactions. I have installed a tethering app on my smartphone and my PC that allows me to use my smart phone to access the internet. It does use data on your plan so if you do not have an unlimited data plan you have to watch your usage. My cell provider blocked this app from Android Market so I had to get a direct download.
What I use is called PdaNet 3.5. Works very well for surfing when I want a secure connection away from prying eyes on a WiFi hotspot. You have to install the app on your smartphone (available for Android, iOS and Blackberry RIM, plus download the companion app on your PC.
No VPN required. I use the internet to access my Oz bank account and email without any problems, you just need to confirm email is via a secure connection - HTTPS. Obviously you wouldn't use a public PC in an internet cafe / hotel.
Make sure you have a local password manager so you can supply / change your passwords if required. Also keep a backup copy on a USB away from the lappy.
p.s. If you want to use your phone in the UK just buy a local SIM and drop it in your (unlocked) phone. Not sure about the US.
Hot Spot Shield is free, simple and effective.
Thanks for the helpful info. As both my bank and ISP's webmail uses https it look like I'll be OK. I'll just have to remember not to use websites that I have to log in on which won't be a problem. I use a software firewall and keep everything patched and up to date so it looks like "she's apples!" (to use an Aussie term).
Thanks very much.