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.
Russell has an iPhone SE and was using an app called Tether to use his cell phone as an internet hotspot. It doesn't work anymore, though. Leo says that it's been replaced by the hotspot feature in the phone, but his provider may not support it or may charge him a monthly fee to use it. Some carriers don't charge for it at all, like T-Mobile. But resellers, like Boost don't support it because the major carrier they work with doesn't. Will a VPN fix it? Leo says not for hotspotting, but a VPN will work for keeping his internet access encrypted and secure in public Wi-Fi hotspots.
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.
Charles and his family are going on a cruise and want to know if his devices need to run through a VPN. Leo says there are some risks, but not as much on an iPad. Google has been pushing for https everywhere, meaning that his search activity is encrypted. But that's not stopping someone from using a Wi-Fi sniffer called a Pineapple or Wireshark to figure out what his access point name is. A wise thing to do would be to forget his home network before he goes. Another option is the Tiny Hardware Firewall.
David wants to know if he can use a VPN on his tablet. Leo says that TunnelBear is a good one to look at. Leo uses Hotspot VPN with a hardware dongle called the Tiny Hardware Firewall that he can plug into the tablet and it creates a Wi-Fi access point that he surfs through. It's secure and easy to use.
George is using a Tiny Hardware Firewall and he sees that it would let him customize the settings. Can it be made more secure? Leo says that the Tiny Hardware Firewall is pretty darn secure as is. Leo hasn't played with the configurations, but he wouldn't want to, either. He just uses it in default mode and he's completely safe.
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 220.127.116.11. 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.
Mark hears that FreedomPop is a free service for under 500MB. He's thinking of using it with his home alarm system, but it's ethernet hardwired and he's not sure it will work. Any ideas? Leo says a Wi-Fi Ethernet dongle is a cheap and easy way to do it. Leo says to also look at the fine print, as he seems to remember that FreedomPop doesn't work with burglar alarms from legal reasons. Another option is a CDMA cellular radio interface.
Patrick heard Leo talking about Tiny Hardware Firewall in the past, and he also uses it. The idea of this is not unique to this company. It's actually created by HotSpotVPN. They buy inexpensive boxes and then put firmware in them that routes everything through their VPN. As part of a subscription to their VPN, or as part of the hardware purchase, you'll get this automatically. The downside is that the Tiny Hardware Firewall must use HotSpotVPN, and can't use a different service.