When away from home, there are two primary choices: connecting your smartphone or laptop to public Wi-Fi – as is commonly available in an airport, an AirBnb or, for example, a Starbucks™ restaurant – or using your smartphone’s cellular data capability.
● Public Wi-Fi is insecure, even with password access, and should never be used for financial transactions, unless a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service can be employed (see discussion below).
● Cellular data transmission is generally considered to be secure. On a typical 4G (4th Generation as supplied by vendors like AT&T® or Verizon®) cellular network connection, data is encrypted and the user’s identity is authenticated and protected. Happily, the next generation, 5G, offers improved security in terms of encryption and identity protection.
“When you connect to a VPN, it creates an encrypted connection, which keeps your Internet traffic in a ‘tunnel’ that hides all of your Internet activity, DNS requests included. No one can see what you’re up to – not your ISP, the government or your (un)friendly neighborhood hacker.” A Virtual Private Network (VPN) protects and secures your identity and information. If you travel frequently, use public Wi-Fi services, access a friend’s or relative’s network or want to add additional privacy to your home network, you can purchase VPN service from several quality vendors . Top-rated choices from PC Magazine include NordVPN, Private Internet Access VPN and TunnelBear VPN. Check out the trial period when making your selection – longest is best.
If you believe that you are the target of a serious Internet criminal, investment in a VPN may be warranted to allow your activities to be truly private on the Internet.
Note that a VPN, whether on your personal computer or smartphone, ONLY protects (encrypts, re-routes) your web browsing, social media and email activities over the Internet. Voice calls and texting operate on the cellular data network, separate from the Internet.
FOR FURTHER READING:
CyberGuardian: a SecureTheVillage Guide for Residents is available on Amazon.
A complete Security Checklist is available: https://www.nerdsiview.com/security-checklist-2/
References for Village Residents are available at SECURE THE VILLAGE: https://securethevillage.org/residents
© Alan Steven Krantz 2021