Tag Archives: hamachi

Want a Free VPN for Public WiFi Hotspots?

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When it comes to accessing the Internet when you’re away from home, you never really know what you’re going to get. You have to stay secure to protect yourself. A friend of mine emailed me the other day, talking about this exact situation. He was traveling, and had to check his Gmail from an unsecured public computer. He apparently forgot to log himself out, as well. I asked him if he at least had used the more secure httpS instead of the plain http prefix… and he had not.

I even get nervous at times connecting to my email via my Sprint PCS mobile broadband connection. When I’m sending information back and forth wirelessly, if it’s not being done in an encrypted fashion I get nervous. You never know who will be sniffing packets of information. This is what you need to be aware of when you’re connecting to the Internet via a wireless hotspot.

One way you can help keep yourself safe is by using a VPN, or Virtual Private Network. One program, called Hamachi is free for personal use. I’ve been using it for awhile now, as you’ll see if you check out that link. However, I want to tell you about another program that one of our community recently emailed me about.

HotSpot Shield is another free program that can be used on Mac or Windows machine. It’s been reviewed by people on CNN and CNET, with good ratings. Think of a VPN as a shield that surrounds you and whatever you are wanting to connect to. If you’re connecting to the Internet via an unsecured network, anyone can look at the packets of information you are sending out. What a program like HotSpot Shield does is to encrypt that data, so it cannot be seen and/or read by those would-be information stealers.

While on the road this week, I had a need to log into Ponzi’s machine at home in Seattle, via my mobile connection. She has VNC set up, but it was behind our firewall. I didn’t want to have to go through opening ports and all of that. Instead, I chose to use the new TeamViewer. TeamViewer can establish a connection to virtually any computer in the world with just a few clicks. It’s a way to share screens, or remote control another computer as long as the other person is at their computer and grants the access. It’s simple, and made things much easier on me. I was connected to her machine securely, and quick.

If you are going to connect to a wireless connection, whether wireless or wired… I urge you to use either HotSpot Shield or Hamachi. And of course, why not check out TeamViewer if you have a need to connect to another machine.

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Should Wi-Fi be Free?

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When Starbucks introduced for-pay Wi-Fi in 2002, it seemed like a great deal. But five years later, the model appears old and stale and ready for a complete overhaul.

According to my friend Mike Elgan at ComputerWorld.com, Starbucks will begin providing their customers with free Wi-Fi within the next year. This is an excellent development. I believe we shouldn’t have to pay for wireless access points, and I bet you don’t, either.

As you know, Wi-Fi is widely available. It’s no longer some new-fangled fad… and paying for it has become rather antiquated. The problem is, free doesn’t always mean secure. Thankfully, there are programs such as Hamachi to keep you safe. Hamachi is a free program that allows you to create your own Virtual Private Network, or VPN.

Any time I am out and about, I rely on jiwire.com to point me towards any hot spots in the area. Simply input your country, state and city, and the site will give you a list of all locations (including addresses and phone numbers) who have Wi-Fi available for you.

iStumbler for Mac OSX is an amazing tool. iStumbler is the leading wireless discovery tool for Mac OS X, providing plug-ins for finding AirPort networks, Bluetooth devices, and Bonjour services with your Mac.

If you want to hear all about my experience being tazered and almost going to jail over Wi-Fi… you’ll just have to watch this video.

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Hamachi for Secure Network Computing

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http://live.pirillo.com/ – In the past, I have never really used VPN. It just seems so complicated and costly. However, using open wireless networks while out and about, I’m definitely concerned about privacy and safety.

My buddy WirelessPacket from our live chat room is on Skype with me tonight. He has convinced me that it’s time to try Hamachi. Hamachi is a free program that allows you to create your own Virtual Private Network, or VPN. He has made an excellent video tutorial demonstrating exactly how to use Hamachi. From his description:

“Hamachi is a simple, secure, and effective alternative to VPN. If you have ever wanted to access your home computer from the office, hotel or internet cafe look no further. With Hamachi there is no need to configure your firewall by opening ports and exposing you computer to nasty threats lurking on the web”

A standard VPN encrypts the traffic you send and receive… email, IM, web browsing, etc. A VPN makes your Internet activity more secure over a wireless network, but it’s also quite costly. Hamachi allows you to create your own VPN basically… for free! You can add other users to it, and share files with them in a secure manner. Some of the features of Hamachi:

  • LAN over the Internet Arrange multiple computers into their own secure network, just as if they were connected by a physical cable.
  • Remote Access Remote control any machine on your network with Remote Desktop.
  • Files and Network Drives Access critical files and network drives.
  • Zero-configuration Works without having to adjust a firewall or router.
  • Security Industry leading encryption and authentication.
  • Cost Effective Basic version is free to use.

Thanks, WirelessPacket, for showing this to me. This is definitely something I’m going to start using, and I hope others will, as well.

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