Encryption for free wi-fi use

Discussion in 'privacy technology' started by flyted, Aug 25, 2008.

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  1. flyted

    flyted Registered Member

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    Travel a lot, use hotel wi-fi and randomly other free wi-fi to web surf only. I know all can be seen but I don't send important stuff and only use a small amount of bandwidth. To remain anonymous to the wi-fi service, what do I need? From what I've read here, either encryption or a tunnel. Not sure if I could make the encryption end-to-end as its just web surfing, no particular site. I see that some products offer encryption but not sure if it would work in this case. Would TOR work? If not, whats teh least expensive encryption package or VPN tunnel that would fit my needs. Again, not looking for world class features, just basic encryption or tunnel or whatever wont let others see my public wi-fi activity, don't care about the websites themselves. Saw Ghostsurf had a encryption product, but no one mentions it, they still in business or just ot a god product as I see almost no posts on the company here. Someone please educate me and I'll do the research from there.

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2008
  2. Hiker

    Hiker Registered Member

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  3. flyted

    flyted Registered Member

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    Thanks for the reply. Trustconnect by Comodo seems to be exactly the type of service I'm looking for and I guess any VPN service would work. I still have the question of

    1)will TOR do the same thing?
    2)For $50/yr, will any security suite program offer VPN and other services at the same cost
    3)Will one of these security suite programs encryption also do the same thing?

    Certainly on the right track here, it does bother me though that very little info is available about Comodo, looks like they are a new company and I'd be a little hesitant to believe their claims until I see it tested or wrote about somewhere and would like to pay the year in advance for the savings but who knows if they will be around, you know.
     
  4. markoman

    markoman Registered Member

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    This is my frist post on here, so HELLO to everybody!

    Yes, TOR will do the same. Since TOR encrypts all data between the client (your laptop going on the internet) until the last server belonging to the TOR net, all traffic going through any open wireless connection will be encrypted.
    On the other side, while it is quite easy to use TOR with firefox (see TorButton), it might become a bit more tricky to configure for email clients or other applications.
     
  5. scrty001

    scrty001 Registered Member

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    here is a free vpn for hotspots (public wifi) exactly what you are wanting. I just found out about it yesterday and is really simple to setup. There is a small bar at the top for advertisements, that's how they can keep their service free. I exited out of firefox a few times and the bar went away.

    http://hotspotshield.com/
     
  6. Hiker

    Hiker Registered Member

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    Excellent find.
     
  7. Rapid Dr3am

    Rapid Dr3am Registered Member

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    Is HSS still limited though? I remember it used to have a monthly bandwidth limit. It was locked to the MAC of your network card.
     
  8. flyted

    flyted Registered Member

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    Glad to see this thread finally come alive, thanks for all the replys. What I did find was Hotspotshield and it seems to be exactly what I'm looking for and its free. Wish I could find a review on it or find a way to test it and see if it actually is doing what it says though. I still get the warning that "this will be sent over a unecrypted connection and can easily be seen by others", even when using hotspotshield, anyone know why I would get that? I also added TOR, and while I know it has its flaws and some say it won't encrypt from my laptop through the public wi-fi, but my basic research seems to indicate that it will? Now what I'd really like to find is reasonably priced security suite that includes encryption for browsing/connection. Ghostsurf has a product I like but they just don't seem like a modern survivable company anymore, can't remember the details but they got bought a while back and service really went south, not good when you trust your encryption to them. Any good products with online encryption/proxy coverage?
     
  9. jrmhng

    jrmhng Registered Member

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    Where are you getting the message about unencrypted connection? If it is a Windows message telling you that your wifi is not encrypted then not to worry. Though your wifi connection is unenecrypted, an encrypted tunnel is created to hotspot shield.
     
  10. flyted

    flyted Registered Member

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    "The information you have entered is to be sent over an unencrypted connection and could easily be read by a third party.

    Are you sure you want to continue sending this information?


    The header says Security Warning. I believe it was a box I checked in Firefox that I requested to be notified when I sent something unencrypted, there is a box on the warning that I can uncheck. I was suprised to get this warning though while using hotspot.
     
  11. truthseeker

    truthseeker Former Poster

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    I am confused. If a person uses Wireless broadband, anyone can see their internet activity?
     
  12. Searching_ _ _

    Searching_ _ _ Registered Member

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    Encryption requires a) your wifi card, encrypting the data, and b) the router, unencrypting the data, meaning a key is involved. With public routers or Hotspots, you don't have access to encryption settings in the router. So you are connected @ Star s*( |(s, no encryption.
     
  13. jrmhng

    jrmhng Registered Member

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    You will that warning on a wired connection too. It is just because you are sending information over a http connection rather than an https connection.

    The confusion here is how far up stream the data is being encrypted. Using WPA will encrypt your connection from your computer up to the wireless access point. This means that no one in the area can look into the wireless connection. If you use a wireless connection without encryption, anyone in the area can check your messages as it can see your radio waves.

    Using hotspot shield encrypts your data from your computer to the hotspot shield. So this means that although you arent using encryption in your wireless connection, people seeing the ratio waves will still see gibberish because data is going through an encrypted tunnel from your computer to the hotshot shield computer. However anyone between hotspot shield and the website you are communication with can still see your data.

    When using https, the encryption is between your computer and the actual webserver. This is called end to end encryption because data is encrypted between one end to the other. Https is usually used when you sign into a website (gmail, netbanking etc). The warning Firefox throws up is to warn you that you are using http to send data. This usually happens when you use google to search. As the search data doesn't contain much sensitive data, it is not encrypted and so anyone in between your computer can see the search you just sent.
     
  14. Hiker

    Hiker Registered Member

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    If you're doing online bank or anything with https is it secure, with HSS, or without on public wifi?
     
  15. jrmhng

    jrmhng Registered Member

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    If you are not using HSS and your wireless connection is not encrypted but your banking is through a https connection, then that particular connection it is safe because it is encrypted end to end. Keep in mind however that only the https connection is encrypted and not your msn chats for example.
     
  16. Hiker

    Hiker Registered Member

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    OK thanks. I'm not that worried about my chats. :blink: One other question. If someone is stealing data from others over a public wifi hotspot, I take it they need to be directly in the area, and that's where Hotspot Shield comes in?
     
  17. jrmhng

    jrmhng Registered Member

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    Yes they need to be in the area to snif the wifi radio signals. HSS really is just a VPN service. With public wifi, because the radio traffic is not encrypted, anyone in the area can sniff it. HSS creates a VPN from your computer to the HSS VPN server. So when you send data, it goes through the encrypted VPN tunnel to HSS first, then back onto the net, thereby protecting your data as it is travelling through the air between your computer and the wireless access point.
     
  18. flyted

    flyted Registered Member

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    Speaking of IM, whats the best way to secure Yahoo Instant Messaging? Did a search and didn't find much. IM seems ripe for the picking, anything out there that makes it safer, either wireless or wired?
     
  19. jrmhng

    jrmhng Registered Member

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    There might be some pluggins etc but if you need to chat privately, don't us IM. They weren't designed to be secure.
     
  20. flyted

    flyted Registered Member

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    I was afraid of that, thanks.
     
  21. dimlee

    dimlee Registered Member

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    Use pidgin + otr plugin. Safest! That's what I use and have no concern/worry. But anythign else like web browsing I'm a little worry and might look into OpenVPN.

    What's worry me is WAP encryption. I'm at home and connecting to my own wifi with wap. And my question to anyone that knows... does WAP encrypt everything that goes out of the net?
     
  22. jrmhng

    jrmhng Registered Member

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    Are you taking WPA? If you are, it encrypts everything from your computer to your wireless access point. After that, unless you have some other kind of encryption, your messages go out to the net in the open.
     
  23. dimlee

    dimlee Registered Member

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    Ya, sorry about the typo. WPA was the question.

    So basically, using WPA/WPA2 encryption on wireless is like using an ethernet cable. As long your WPA/WPA2 password is strong?
     
  24. jrmhng

    jrmhng Registered Member

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    Yes exactly right!
     
  25. dimlee

    dimlee Registered Member

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    wow. you just saved me some $ from trying to buy a 80 feet long ethernet cable. Thank you.
     
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