Leo says there's a new feature in Android Oreo 8.1 — it will let you know how fast a Wi-Fi access point is before joining it. Leo says any password vault should enter his password into the web portal when he signs in. Leo prefers using password vaults to any mechanism offered by the browser or phone itself. Password vaults will remember all of his passwords, and on Android, it will actually fill in the password automatically.
John is having problems with two Windows laptops (one 8.1 and one Windows 10). They will connect to the hotspots, but they won't connect to the internet. Leo says that's called "captive portal" and it requires logging in to gain access. It could also be a security update that is preventing it. It could be closing down a port that he needs to access the internet. He could try reinstalling the network driver.
Joe wants to know about the Tiny Hardware Firewall. Leo says it's a clever solution for those who want to use open Wi-Fi hotspots safely. Tiny Hardware Firewall will give him an additional layer of protection by encrypting all of his Wi-Fi traffic with a virtual private network. Leo adds that it also adds another layer called the Black Hole Cloud service which gives users their own cloud server. This makes it lightning fast. The Tiny Hardware Firewall is about $35, plus a fee for their VPN, which could be about $100 a year.
Todd wants to know if there's a way to get cellular data on his Microsoft Surface Laptop. Should he just turn his iPhone into a hotspot? Rich says it depends on whether or not he can hotspot with his iPhone. He'll probably have to pay an additional fee with it. Rich favors a dedicated hotspot like the MiFi Card over turning the phone into a hotspot.
Darrell worries that his laptop isn't safe on a public WiFi hotspot. Leo says that the reality is he does broadcast his web traffic via radio and it can be sniffed. But these days, most sites are encrypted and secure. If he's worried, using a VPN is a good idea. Leo likes Tiny Hardware Firewall.
Barney travels a lot. When he gets to a hotel, he has trouble connecting to the local Wi-Fi network. It doesn't always work. Leo says that mobile devices use a system called "captive portal," where it goes to a middle man (usually the hardware company) and then connects in order to agree to the terms and conditions. It can take up to a few minutes for that to happen too, depending on the traffic. Most are impatient and give up. It really comes down to sitting and waiting. Barney can also try going to the Safari app and typing in "captive.apple.com," which may trigger it.
Frederick uses an open access port with his iPhone but it always asks him to sign in. Leo says that's called a captive portal, which is done when using a hotspot. He needs to activate the portal. He should point his browser to 188.8.131.52. Or he can choose to "forget" the Wi-Fi access point. That will reset it and then he can sign back in. Leo actually recommends getting a travel router like the Tiny Hardware Firewall to protect him.
Paul wants to buy a hotspot. Leo says that the Karma Go is one he uses. He can pay as he goes, or pay monthly if it is to be his primary subscription. It uses Sprint, so he should check the coverage map. T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T offer similar devices for around $10 a GB. No rollovers.
Jim is about to go on a river cruise and he's concerned with security when using Wi-Fi on the ship. Leo advises using the Tiny Hardware Firewall. It's a hardware firewall that can protect up to five devices because it uses a built in VPN that protects him. It will slow it down a bit, and the internet is slow on those cruise Wi-Fi hotspots, but it will keep him clean from the last mile.
Ron has the Tiny Hardware Firewall, which he likes. Once he's connected to the VPN inside of it, what does the firewall do, though? Leo says that the firewall is the first level of protection. It acts as a router and is the attack surface, not the computer. A router is a dumb device that doesn't know what the attack is and ignores it, unless there's a security flaw inside the system. Like a router at home, the Tiny Hardware Firewall gives a little extra protection, though.