hotspots

How can I be safe using a Wi-Fi hotspot?

Episode 1430

Joe from New Jersey
Tiny Hardware Firewall

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.

Why do I have trouble connecting to Wi-Fi on my phone?

Episode 1392

Barney from New York City, NY
Wi-Fi

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.

How can I safely use a hotspot?

Episode 1362

Frederick from Detroit, MI
Tiny Hardware Firewall

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 1.1.1.1. 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.

How can I be secure online during a cruise?

Episode 1326

Jim from Colorado
Tiny Hardware Firewall

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.

Does the Tiny Hardware Firewall give you extra protection over a VPN?

Episode 1296

Ron from Baltimore, MD
Tiny Hardware Firewall

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.

Is my phone's hotspot secure?

Don from Greeley, CO

Episode 1275

Don does a lot of online banking, but he's wondering if using the hotspot feature on his phone is safe. Leo says yes, it's encrypted. But he should remember to lock his computer with a password. If someone can get to his computer, then they can get his password. But his hotspot is encrypted.

Leo also recommends using a Virtual Private Network when he's on a public Wi-Fi hotspot. It burrows a tunnel through the internet that is secure and encrypts all of his activity.