Tag Archives: confidentiality

Free Hotspot Shield 1.47 – Surf The Internet In The “Dark”

image I live in Toronto, Canada, but when I travel the Internet, for all intents and purposes I live in White Plains, New York. So is this magic; do I have the power to teleport (sort of, beam me up Scotty), or have I mastered a paranormal skill?

I wish! But being in one place and appearing to be in another place on the Internet, is magic, of a sort.

I’ve been surfing the Internet since day one essentially, and during that time I’ve become increasingly concerned with protecting my privacy, and anonymity, while surfing the Internet.

If you consider this slightly paranoid behavior, well …. you’re right. But, as I’ve said here numerous times – “ …. we all need to become infected with a mild case of paranoia when using the Internet. Being paranoid, suspicious, and untrusting while surfing the web, might not make you invulnerable to malware infections or worse, but it will certainly reduce the odds enormously”.

Other than my personal concerns, there are more obvious reasons, you may have, for anonymous surfing, including – surfing in internet cafes, public terminals in libraries, or hotel business centers.

In fact, you may want to surf anonymously on any PC where you don’t want to leave traces of your private surfing activities to ensure protection from snooping web sites, annoying advertisers, employers, or curious family members.

Most typical PC users are amazed at the amount of information their browser provides to web sites they visit. For example, the information below is available to every web site I visit. I have X’d out certain parameters for privacy purposes only.

Your computer is connecting to the internet at xxxxxxx, xxxx, in the xxxx, with an IP address of 24.xxx.xxx.xxx

Your User Agent is being reported as: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.8.1.12) Gecko/Firefox/3.5.3

Your Referrer is being reported as: http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&client= ient=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en

Your IP Address is 24.xxx.xxx.142

Your Host Name is d2xx- xxx.xxx.xxx.cable.net

Actually, this is mild, depending on the web site, considerably more information, about you, can be captured.

Hotspot Shield, is a free solution which uses both a proxy server and encryption technology, which can increase security (particularly at off site locations), and protect your privacy as well, by effectively hiding your IP address .

image

image

According to the developers “Hotspot Shield creates a virtual private network (VPN) between your laptop or iPhone, and our Internet gateway. This impenetrable tunnel prevents snoopers, hackers, ISP’s, from viewing your web browsing activities, instant messages, downloads, credit card information or anything else you send over the network”.

Upside: I’ve been using this application for some time now, and it does exactly as it says. Despite the fact this is a proxy service, I find no slowdown in accessing sites, pages, or streaming content.

I’m satisfied with its performance – it works well, and is easily turned on/off via the system tray icon. Incidentally, Hotspot Shield was named as one of the best free applications of 2008 by PC Magazine.

Hotspot 3

Downside: This is an ad supported application and it puts banner ads on every web page that you view.

Fast facts: Ensure you are private, secure, and anonymous online!

Secure your web session, data, online shopping, and personal information online with HTTPS encryption.

Protect yourself from identity theft online.

Hide your IP address for your privacy online.

Access all content privately without censorship; bypass firewalls.

Protect yourself from snoopers at Wi-Fi hotspots, hotels, airports, corporate offices.

Works on wireless and wired connections alike. Provides Unlimited Bandwidth.

Works on the PC and the MAC, including new operating systems (Windows 7 and Snow Leopard)

Recommendation: If you’re looking for a free application which will keep your web surfing private, Hotspot Shield is definitely worth a look.

System requirements: Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows Vista, and Windows 7

Download at: Download.com

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under Anonymous Surfing, cybercrime, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Internet Safety, Internet Safety Tools, Privacy, Software, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Download Hotspot Shield – Secure Your Public Internet Connections

image

On weekends, I’ve noticed that a disproportionate number of hits on this site come from Hotels. How do I know this? It’s easy really –  I just look at the Label IP Address in my site’s hit counter (StatCounter), which gives me this information.

Don’t be alarmed; no personal information of any kind can be deduced from the statistical information StatCounter generates.

Your Internet Browser provides much more information to every web site that you visit. For example, the information below is available to every web site I visit. I have X’d out certain parameters for privacy purposes only.

Your computer is connecting to the internet at xxxxxxx, xxxx, in the xxxx, with an IP address of 24.xxx.xxx.xxx

Your User Agent is being reported as: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.8.1.12) Gecko/Firefox/3.6

Your Referrer is being reported as: http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&client= ient=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en

Your IP Address is 24.xxx.xxx.xxx

Your Host Name is x2xx- xxx.xxx.xxx.cable.net

As opposed to this, the following graphic illustrates what StatCounter’s report looks like. I’ve used an example from a Police agency in the UK, since I’m reasonable sure this is a hardened site, rather than a Hotel, which I’m reasonable sure would not be a hardened site.

Essex Police

So what kind of information can I gather from this Hotel traffic? Well, nothing personal, or of any real value, except this; these Hotel guests are potentially playing with fire.

Hotel room Internet connections including both Wi-Fi, and wired, are notoriously vulnerable to hacking. This vulnerability is not restricted to Hotel rooms of course. Other vulnerable locations include internet cafes, and public terminals in libraries.

The YouTube video “Sidejacking using Ferret and Hamster”, is a good illustration of just how easy sidejacking (session hijacking) can be.

Hotspot Shield, is a free solution which uses both a proxy server and encryption technology, which can increase security (particularly at off site locations), and protect your privacy as well, by effectively hiding your IP address .

image

According to the developers “Hotspot Shield creates a virtual private network (VPN) between your laptop or iPhone, and our Internet gateway. This impenetrable tunnel prevents snoopers, hackers, ISP’s, from viewing your web browsing activities, instant messages, downloads, credit card information or anything else you send over the network”.

Upside: I’ve been using this application for some time now, and it does exactly as it says. Despite the fact this is a proxy service, I find no slowdown in accessing sites, pages, or streaming content.

I’m satisfied with its performance – it works well, and is easily turned on/off via the system tray icon.

image

Incidentally, Hotspot Shield was named as one of the best free applications of 2008 by PC Magazine.

Downside: This is an ad supported application and it puts banner ads on every web page that you view.

Fast facts:

Securing your web session with HTTPS encryption

Secure your data & personal information online

Hiding your IP address for your privacy online

Securing your connection at both your home Internet network and public Internet networks (both wired and wireless)

Allowing you to access all content privately without censorship; bypass firewalls

Protecting you from snoopers at Wi-Fi hotspots, hotels, airports, corporate offices and ISP hubs

Recommendation: If you’re looking for a free application which will raise your level of security and keep your web surfing private, Hotspot Shield is definitely worth a look.

System requirements: Windows 7, Vista,  XP, 2000, Vista. Mac OS X (10.4 Tiger), Mac OS X (10.5 Leopard), Mac OS X (10.6 Snow Leopard)

Download at: Major Geeks

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Free Security Programs, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Online Safety, Privacy, Software, StatCounter, System Security, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Free Hotspot Shield – Internet Privacy to the Max

image I live in Toronto Canada, but when I travel the Internet, for all intents and purposes I live in White Plains, New York. So is this magic; do I have the power to teleport (sort of, beam me up Scotty), or have I mastered a paranormal skill?

No, I haven’t mastered a paranormal skill, but being in one place and appearing to be in another place on the Internet is magic, of a sort.

I’ve been surfing the Internet since day one essentially, and during that time I’ve become increasingly more concerned with protecting my privacy, and anonymity, while surfing the Internet.

If you consider this slightly paranoid behavior, well …. you’re right. But, as I’ve said here numerous times – “ …. we all need to become infected with a mild case of paranoia when using the Internet. Being paranoid, suspicious, and untrusting while surfing the web, might not make you invulnerable to malware infections or worse, but it will certainly reduce the odds enormously”.

Other than my personal concerns, there are more obvious reasons, you may have, for anonymous surfing, including – surfing in internet cafes, public terminals in libraries, or hotel business centers.

In fact, you may want to surf anonymously on any PC where you don’t want to leave traces of your private surfing activities to ensure protection from snooping web sites, annoying advertisers, employers, or curious family members.

Most typical PC users are amazed at the amount of information their browser provides to web sites they visit. For example, the information below is available to every web site I visit. I have X’d out certain parameters for privacy purposes only.

Your computer is connecting to the internet at xxxxxxx, xxxx, in the xxxx, with an IP address of 24.xxx.xxx.xxx

Your User Agent is being reported as: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.8.1.12) Gecko/Firefox/3.5.3

Your Referrer is being reported as: http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&client= ient=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en

Your IP Address is 24.xxx.xxx.142

Your Host Name is d2xx- xxx.xxx.xxx.cable.net

Actually, this is mild, depending on the web site considerably more information, about you, can be captured. One of the solutions I’ve come to rely on, to maintain my privacy and anonymity while surfing the Internet, is a free application from AnchorFree – Hotspot Shield.

Hotspot 1

Hotspot 2

According to the developers “Hotspot Shield creates a virtual private network (VPN) between your laptop or iPhone, and our Internet gateway. This impenetrable tunnel prevents snoopers, hackers, ISP’s, from viewing your web browsing activities, instant messages, downloads, credit card information or anything else you send over the network”.

Upside: I’ve been using this application for some time now, and it does exactly as it says. Despite the fact this is a proxy service, I find no slowdown in accessing sites, pages, or streaming content.

I’m satisfied with its performance – it works well, and is easily turned on/off via the system tray icon. Incidentally, Hotspot Shield was named as one of the best free applications of 2008 by PC Magazine.

Hotspot 3

Downside: This is an ad supported application and it puts banner ads on every web page that you view.

Fast facts:

Securing your web session with HTTPS encryption

Secure your data & personal information online

Hiding your IP address for your privacy online

Securing your connection at both your home Internet network and public Internet networks (both wired and wireless)

Allowing you to access all content privately without censorship; bypass firewalls

Protecting you from snoopers at Wi-Fi hotspots, hotels, airports, corporate offices and ISP hubs

Recommendation: If you’re looking for a free application which will keep your web surfing private, Hotspot Shield is definitely worth a look.

System requirements: Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows Vista, and Windows 7

Download at: Major Geeks

If you enjoyed this article, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under Anonymous Surfing, downloads, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Internet Paranoia, Privacy, Software, Surveillance, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Stay Safe/ Anonymous on Public Computers – Two Free USB Applications

There are numerous reasons why someone would want to surf anonymously: to ensure protection from snooping web sites, annoying advertisers, employers, or curious family members.

More obvious reasons for anonymous surfing include, surfing in internet cafes, public terminals in libraries, or hotel business centers. In fact, you may want to surf anonymously on any PC where you don’t want to leave traces of your private surfing activities.

Most typical PC users are shocked at the amount of information their browser leaks to web sites they visit. For example, the information below is presented to every web site I visit. I have X’d out certain parameters for privacy purposes only.

· Your computer is connecting to the internet at xxxxxxx, xxxx, in the xxxx, with an IP address of 24.xxx.xxx.xxx

· Your User Agent is being reported as: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.8.1.12) Gecko/20080201 Firefox/2.0.0.12

· Your Referrer is being reported as:

· http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&client= ient=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en

· Your IP Address is 24.xxx.xxx.xxx

· Your Host Name is d235- xxx.xxx.xxx.cable.net

· A trace to your phone comes back with an area code of: 0

The objective of anonymous surfing then, is to conceal this information from web sites and other computers, and typically you would use an anonymous proxy server between you and the web site to accomplish this.

When surfing anonymously, your web browser talks to the proxy server; the proxy server talks to the web site. In actual fact this means, the web site does not know you; it knows only the anonymous proxy server.

You have Choices

You have a number of choices when it comes to anonymous surfing. You can use a free proxy server service; not my personal first choice – but that’s fodder for another article!

More reliable and safer, in my view, is to download and install a client application which manages the details of anonymous surfing for you.

One such application is OperaTor, a free utility that includes the Opera browser, the Privoxy Web proxy , and The Onion Router, which is a method used for anonymous Internet communication. All components launch simultaneously.

OperaTor, and the component pieces, does not require an installer and the utility can be installed and launched from a USB flash drive. This makes it ideal for surfing at public computers.

Download at: Download.com

A second free utility is XeroBank Browser, a special version of Firefox that runs in conjunction with the free Tor anonymizer service; and that can also run directly from a USB flash drive. Just plug in your USB stick to any PC with a USB port and Firefox V2 is automatically launched, set up for secure and private surfing.

TorPark creates a secure encrypted connection between the PC you are using and the first Tor server. This allows you to safely transmit information without fear of local interception. This makes it ideal for surfing on open Wi-Fi networks.

Download at: Download.com


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Filed under Anonymous Surfing, Browsers, Firefox, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety, Internet Safety Tools, Online Safety, Privacy, Software, USB, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Surfing on Public Computers? – Stay Anonymous – Two Free USB Applications

There are numerous reasons why someone would want to surf anonymously: to ensure protection from snooping web sites, annoying advertisers, employers, or curious family members.

More obvious reasons for anonymous surfing include, surfing in internet cafes, public terminals in libraries, or hotel business centers. In fact, you may want to surf anonymously on any PC where you don’t want to leave traces of your private surfing activities.

Most typical PC users are amazed at the amount of information their browser provides to web sites they visit. For example, the information below is available to every web site I visit. I have X’d out certain parameters for privacy purposes only.

  • Your computer is connecting to the internet at xxxxxxx, xxxx, in the xxxx, with an IP address of 24.xxx.xxx.142
  • Your User Agent is being reported as: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.8.1.12) Gecko/20080201 Firefox/2.0.0.12
  • Your Referrer is being reported as:
  • http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&client= ient=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en
  • Your IP Address is 24.xxx.xxx.142
  • Your Host Name is d235- xxx.xxx.home1.cable.net
  • A trace to your phone comes back with an area code of: 0

 

The objective of anonymous surfing then, is to conceal this information from web sites and other computers, and typically you would use an anonymous proxy server between you and the web site to accomplish this. When surfing anonymously, your web browser talks to the proxy server; the proxy server talks to the web site. Effectively this means, the web site does not know you; it knows only the anonymous proxy server.

You have a number of choices when it comes to anonymous surfing. You can use a free proxy server service; not my personal first choice – but that’s fodder for another article!

More reliable and safer, in my view, is to download and install a client application which manages the details of anonymous surfing for you.

One such application is OperaTor, a free utility that includes the Opera browser, the Privoxy Web proxy , and The Onion Router, which is a method used for anonymous Internet communication. All components launch simultaneously.

OperaTor, and the component pieces, does not require an installer and the utility can be installed and launched from a USB flash drive. This makes it ideal for surfing at public computers.

Download at: Download.com

A second free utility is XeroBank Browser, a special version of Firefox that runs in conjunction with the free Tor anonymizer service. and that can also run directly from a USB flash drive. Just plug in your USB stick to any PC with a USB port and Firefox V2 is automatically launched, set up for secure and private surfing.

TorPark creates a secure encrypted connection between the PC you are using and the first Tor server. This allows you to safely transmit information without fear of local interception. This makes it ideal for surfing on open Wi-Fi networks.

Download at: Download.com

One caveat you should take note of however is, since all transmissions are encrypted and transmitted across many nodes, anonymous surfing can be slower.

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Filed under Anonymous Surfing, Freeware, Internet Safety Tools, Online Safety, Privacy, Safe Surfing, Software, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools