PDQ Library:  Using WiFi Hotspots securely

Your phone 3G data connection is much safer than using free WiFI. If you use WiFi hotspots (internet cafe, hotel wireless), you MUST use a software firewall - Windows Firewall is fine.

Make sure your email account is capable and configured to use a secure connection. If you login to your email account in a web browser, the main toolbar at the top must display a <b>green lock</b> symbol in front of the URL box and the website address will begin with <b>https://</b>. Gmail can be trusted to remain in secure https mode throughout your online session.  Facebook may not stay in secure mode when using 3rd-party apps.

For email software you configure yourself, make sure your POP or IMAP accounts select "SSL", "TLS", or "SSL/TLS" security and port number 995 to connect instead of the default port 110.

Before becoming a road warrier using internet cafes, you should evaluate all your account passwords and change them to better ones (longer is always better). By using a secure password manager like Lastpass.com you can create and use good passwords without the problem of trying to remember them. Another useful tool for travel is cloud storage so you can access files from any device - Dropbox.com is free and one of the easiest to use.

It's probably more than a casual user needs, but if you use foreign WiFi connects frequently, a VPN (Virtual Private Network) may be the best solution. It is a paid service that sets up an encrypted 'tunnel' to the internet, making it secure from anyone using the same WiFi network.

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