Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 39
  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Delaware, US
    Posts
    1,172
    Thanks
    19
    Thanked 99 Times in 88 Posts

    "Private Networking" On the Road

    Next year, I am likely going to doing some traveling. At home, I have the protection of my own home network but on the road it will be nearly impossible to avoid using public WiFi so I thought it prudent to look into what the current state of affairs is. Despite having a fair knowledge of networking I have to admit that WiFi on the road is a topic that I have not had occasion to spend much time on so my level of ignorance is rather high.

    I know that there is VPN software for PC and apps for iPad (I have both) and there are plug in devices for PC's and portable WiFi firewall routers. What I'm very unclear on is what advantage one has over the other. I'm really unclear on the differences between things like VPN's, anonymizers, and torrents. Trying to read about some of this on the net is tough because it seems that much of the info assumes certain knowledge and much seems to be directed to hiding your actions from restrictions (e.g. repressive governments).

    Can I get some guidance and suggestions on which way to go?
    Graham Smith
    DataSmith, Delaware
    "For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.", Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - 2008)

  2. #2
    Administrator
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    St Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    23,592
    Thanks
    5
    Thanked 1,059 Times in 928 Posts
    If you have VPN software and declare the network to be private that should be enough as long as you don't troll the dark side of the internet.
    Joe

  3. #3
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Delaware, US
    Posts
    1,172
    Thanks
    19
    Thanked 99 Times in 88 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by JoeP517 View Post
    If you have VPN software and declare the network to be private that should be enough as long as you don't troll the dark side of the internet.
    VPN software... If I understand the purpose, it will keep your WiFi connections safe from prying eyes?

    Suggestions on which software?
    Graham Smith
    DataSmith, Delaware
    "For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.", Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - 2008)

  4. #4
    Administrator
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    St Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    23,592
    Thanks
    5
    Thanked 1,059 Times in 928 Posts
    Sorry but I have no particular recommendation on VPN software. I don't bother. I always say the network is private, use the built-in Windows firewall, and am very careful about where I surf and what I do. Also, I regularly run malware scans after using any public network.
    Joe

  5. #5
    WS Lounge VIP
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    8,199
    Thanks
    48
    Thanked 986 Times in 916 Posts
    Like Joe, I use public networks. There is very little in the way of attacks if you are vigilant.

    cheers, Paul

  6. #6
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Delaware, US
    Posts
    1,172
    Thanks
    19
    Thanked 99 Times in 88 Posts
    My main concern is not virus, it's having my WiFi signal intercepted - that can give them access to things like passwords. I would normally never visit something like a financial site using a public WiFi network, but it I'm away from home for any length of time it becomes impossible not to. AV and Firewall won't deal with that.
    Graham Smith
    DataSmith, Delaware
    "For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.", Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - 2008)

  7. #7
    Administrator
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    St Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    23,592
    Thanks
    5
    Thanked 1,059 Times in 928 Posts
    Be sure to use HTTPS. And make sure you are using TLS not SSL.
    Joe

  8. #8
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Delaware, US
    Posts
    1,172
    Thanks
    19
    Thanked 99 Times in 88 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by JoeP517 View Post
    Be sure to use HTTPS. And make sure you are using TLS not SSL.
    OK, I have to ask... If it's that easy, why are there a bunch of different VPN apps making money?
    Graham Smith
    DataSmith, Delaware
    "For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.", Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - 2008)

  9. The Following User Says Thank You to gsmith-plm For This Useful Post:

    mrjimphelps (2016-12-01)

  10. #9
    Administrator
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    St Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    23,592
    Thanks
    5
    Thanked 1,059 Times in 928 Posts
    Many VPN apps were developed before HTTPS became ubiquitous. Plus, I would suspect that the encryption used by the VPN app is more complex than HTTPS.
    Joe

  11. #10
    WS Lounge VIP
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    8,199
    Thanks
    48
    Thanked 986 Times in 916 Posts
    Not every site uses https for login - this site is one example. A VPN guarantees encryption and for business purposes it makes sense.

    cheers, Paul

  12. The Following User Says Thank You to Paul T For This Useful Post:

    mrjimphelps (2016-12-01)

  13. #11
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Delaware, US
    Posts
    1,172
    Thanks
    19
    Thanked 99 Times in 88 Posts
    The company I sub for part time has a VPN that I use when I am connected to them, but the rest of the time I'm depending on whatever is available. Perhaps this is just paranoia but what got me thinking about it is two things...

    About 6 months ago, someone I know who is quite knowledgeable and responsible had their laptop hacked and the most likely (possibly the only) place it could have happened was at a 'Bigbucks' Coffee Shop they had stopped into on a trip.

    The other is the recent addition of VPN to Opera. But I gather that it's not a true VPN, just an anonymizer. That got me looking at the whole issue of security using a PC, iPad, Phone, etc to connect to things like banks and credit card companies - particularly when using a public WiFi.

    There is, BTW, a whole different subject of anonymous browsing to help keep web sites from tracking you. But I'm not sure that's not a losing battle.
    Last edited by gsmith-plm; 2016-11-22 at 10:02.
    Graham Smith
    DataSmith, Delaware
    "For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.", Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - 2008)

  14. #12
    WS Lounge VIP
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    8,199
    Thanks
    48
    Thanked 986 Times in 916 Posts
    To be hacked you either need to run something you shouldn't, or you are really unlucky and get hit by a zero day exploit. Using public WiFi does leave you open to other users attempting to hack your machine - same network - but that's what a firewall is for.

    cheers, Paul

  15. #13
    2 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    121
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    I, too, am going to be traveling and have the same question plus: if i use a VPN, do I have to leave my home set up (router, DSL modem (and desktop?) ) running while the house is empty?

  16. #14
    WS Lounge VIP
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    8,199
    Thanks
    48
    Thanked 986 Times in 916 Posts
    A VPN is through a 3rd party and doesn't connect to your home computer.

    cheers, Paul

  17. #15
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Delaware, US
    Posts
    1,172
    Thanks
    19
    Thanked 99 Times in 88 Posts
    One of the big questions here is what a VPN actually provides that HTTPS, firewall, AV, etc don't provide. It should encrypt all your online connections so that even if you are connecting to an unprotected source your communications are secure.

    But what I see being offered are often products aimed at people who which to remain anonymous and/or present a connection that appears to be coming from a different location. That latter is helpful if you want to connect to websites that use redirectors to send you to a location specific website (e.g. use a French location to connect to a website that would normally redirect you to a US version).

    Since that's not what this is about, then the question becomes whether or not a VPN provides anything you might need over and above what has already been covered. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure how many things I do regularly that might expose things like user names and passwords.

    For example, I'm pretty sure that my email client is connecting securely but I also use an email screener for a quick check and have no idea if it's secure (it is now). A VPN should ensure that regardless of what I am doing I will be secure from spying, but it might not be necessary if I am careful.

    BTW, it's not just coffee shop WiFi that concern me, it's the WiFi in hotels that makes me nervous because I'm more likely to be spending time on the computer. And what about UWP apps like NetFlix? I have no idea if they are secure or how to tell.
    Last edited by gsmith-plm; 2016-12-01 at 10:09.
    Graham Smith
    DataSmith, Delaware
    "For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.", Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - 2008)

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •