Do you feel safe when you connect to a hotspot at a café, airport, or some other public location? You shouldn't. A lot of potential dangers hide there, including nearby hackers who may try to pilfer your data, or people who might attempt other ways to snoop on what you're doing online. You're in particular danger if you visit any web sites and type in your user name and password, they could be hijacked.
Hotspot Shield is a freebie that could solve the problem. It claims to encrypt all of your data and packets while you're in a public location, shielding you from harm. The program is simplicity itself, install it and run it, and it promises to protect you.
A few notes about its use. When you install it, make sure to prevent the Dealio toolbar from installing - it's annoying adware, and the program works fine without it. Also, when you launch the program, your default browser will launch too, and ads may appear in it. You can just close that down, though, and Hotspot Shield will still work fine.
Here's another application that, like Hotspot Shield, sets up a virtual private network (VPN) for you when you're at a hotspot, or when you want to protect your wireless transmissions for any reason. Run WiFi Guardian, log in, and choose a server (currently your choice is only the UK or US), and everything you do will be hidden through 128-bit SSL encryption.
WiFi Guardian is available as a 30 day free trial and costs $5 (£2.50) per 1GB transferred thereafter.
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