Protect Your Computer: Private WiFi Review
Like most people, I use a laptop everyday. I’m comfortable with all kinds of technology, and can’t live without much of it. Coding though, what actually runs my computer, is a mystery. And hacking, just seems like wizardry.
The idea of protecting my computer from hackers seems like I’d need to have more skills than Neo. So my default strategy became crossing my fingers and hoping no one targeted me. Not the best approach when on an open WiFi network, where your data is particularly vulnerable.
Fortunately, Private WiFi provides a solution. It protects your data when you’re at the local coffee shop, airport lounge, favorite sushi bar, or any open WiFi network you frequent.
The Open WiFi Security Issue
Time to remove your head from the sandy hole it’s in. That’s what I said to myself, as I started researching the problem of data vulnerability on open WiFi networks.
Hackers use a few schemes to grab your data on open WiFi networks. There have been enough high profile incidents of this occurring that you likely have a nagging fear in the back of your mind that questions, “should I use my credit card here, on an open WiFi network, or wait until I get home.” Unless you have some kind of quality solution in place, like Private WiFi, then you should wait until you’re on a secure network before using anything you wouldn’t want someone to get a hold of.
In the past you typically only had to worry about hackers with real coding skills targeting you, but it’s gotten trivially easy for anyone to grab your information on open WiFi networks. In researching this issue, I came across an article in the New York Times about new hacking tools that pose bigger threats to wi-fi users.
This article points out how automated this type of hacking has become. There are software programs that people with little coding talent can use to grab your information, such as passwords you use, and then assume your online identity. What prevents this type of hacking is end-to-end encryption and setting up a virtual private network, or V. P. N.), which (as the article points out) makes the data look “like gibberish to a snooper as it travels from your computer to a secure server before it is blasted onto the Internet.”
This is exactly what Private Wifi creates. It creates a secure, encrypted pathway between your computer and their servers. So all the data coming into and out of your computer is unreadable to any lurking data thieves. Private WiFi is a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that uses industry standard 128-bit encryption. This is a secure solution that will allow you to buy things on Amazon without that nagging fear of someone grabbing your credit card info.
Using Private WiFi
It was quick and easy to install Private WiFi on my MacBook Pro. It of course works on PC’s as well. The software runs in the background after you install it. There are very few options for configuring it, which makes it easy to use. You can choose whether you want it to turn on at startup, on internet activation, or just turn it on yourself as needed. For most of us the later is probably all that’s needed.
You can also choose what server you want to connect to. The closer the server, the faster the connection will be. I was a little concerned at first wondering if this would slow down my connection. I didn’t notice a difference in speed, though most open WiFi networks aren’t particularly fast to begin with. So my expectations for a fast internet connection aren’t usually high when using an open WiFi network.
The software is unobtrusive. Below is a shot of the status screen, which I left turned off most of the time. There is a status bar icon showing that Private WiFi is working, and it just did its thing in the background protecting my data, as I worked away at my favorite coffee shop.
At $9.95 per month, or $84.95 per Year, Private WiFi is affordable. You can also grab a free 3-day trial to try out the software with no commitment before purchasing.
Private WiFi Features
The main feature of Private WiFi is the robust security it provides, while you’re using an open WiFi network. It’s easy to use, requiring little fiddling, as it keep your data secure, while you work on the web.
- WiFi Security: The main feature of Private WiFi is the security it provides, while you’re on an open WiFi network. It is a secure, encrypted pathway between your computer and their servers. It creates a Virtual Private Network (VPN) using industry standard 128-bit encryption, the same technology used by large financial institutions. It keeps all the data you send and receive secure and invisible to all except you. You also get anonymous IP address benefits along with location masking.
- Easy to Use: You can set Private WiFi to automatically activate when connecting to the internet. This software runs in the background unobtrusively. You can see it’s working with a simple status bar indicator. It installs quickly and easily. Once installed it updates automatically.
Do You Need Private WiFi?
If all you’re doing is reading your favorite blog or the news online on an open WiFi network, while enjoying lunch at the local cafe, then you don’t need it. However, if you want to check your email, make purchases, jump on Facebook, or do anything that you wouldn’t want someone to get ahold of, then a solution like Private WiFi is a must have. This is particularly true if you travel quite a bit and access numerous open WiFi networks on a regular basis, which increases your odds of being attacked and having your data stolen.
As freelancers we also need to keep in mind our responsibility to keep our client’s data secure. Many of us work from home and want to get out of the house to work in a fresh location for the day. Keep in mind what you’re logging into, and what data are you potentially making vulnerable while working on client’s work. If you do client work on open WiFi networks, then Private WiFi is a solid solution to put in place.
Editor’s Note: This is a sponsored review.