VPN

KRACK Wi-Fi Flaw: What You Need to Know

You may have heard about the latest Wi-Fi vulnerability in the news called “KRACK” or “Key Reinstallation Attack.” This is a security flaw in the WPA2 protocol that could allow a third party to intercept network activity between a router and a device. It does this by taking advantage of a problem with the way the client (your mobile device or computer) authenticates with the access point (the router).

What is a VPN and how can I use it?

Connor from Minneapolis

Episode 1426

Connor wants to know about virtual private networks (VPN). Leo says that VPNs are kind of like a tunnel on the internet that keeps your connection secure and encrypted from the rest of the internet. Connor would like to have the freedom to go wherever he wants and watch whatever he wants without his ISP (charter) interfering. Leo says that it could be that websites that provide content may require cable membership in order to watch their content. So it may not be his ISP's fault.

How can I keep my ISP from seeing my data?

Episode 1376

Oak from Cazadero, CA
Tiny Hardware Firewall

Oak is concerned about congress repealing ISP privacy protections. Is there a way he can hide his activity from his ISP so they can't have access to his data? Leo says he could use a VPN to scramble his traffic, but he'll only be giving that data out in the open to his VPN. Leo uses Hotspot VPN. Tunnel Bear is very well known as well. Oak should remember that it will slow him down a lot, and may prevent him from streaming.

Is Google's VPN secure?

Episode 1358

Mark from Grand Rapids, MI
Google Pixel and Pixel XL

Mark finally got a Google Pixel XL, which was on back order. Leo says it's been widely known that they're only available in limited quantities right now. It's likely that the demand exceeded Google's expectation. Mark says he likes the Wi-Fi assistant because it'll automatically connect via VPN. Does it really work? Leo says yes. Phones can be a bit promiscuous with random hotspots. So Google adds an encrypted connection via VPN to protect users. Leo says he doesn't really like joining Wi-Fi access points automatically, so he's turned it off.

What do you think of the Tiny Hardware Firewall?

Episode 1334

Patrick from Long Beach, FL
Tiny Hardware Firewall keychain

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.

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.

Is it necessary to have a VPN?

Tom from St Louis, MO

Episode 1306

Tom is wondering if it's necessary for him to have a VPN (Virtual Private Network). Leo says if he uses Wi-Fi in public, or he uses networks while traveling, he's somewhat vulnerable because he's on a public network that bad guys can get into. They can't necessarily spy on him, but they could trick him by putting up fake access points. A VPN sets up a connection between his computer on a public access network and a computer somewhere else run by a trusted party. All the data transferred over a VPN is encrypted so it isn't visible by anyone else on that network.

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 the Tiny Hardware Firewall a good idea for hotspotting?

Episode 1294

Chris from San Marcos, CA
Tiny Hardware Firewall

Chris is looking at the Tiny Hardware Firewall. He thinks it's a great idea, but what VPN client should he use? TOR? Leo says that TOR and VPN are different things. VPN or "virtual private networks" are tunnels bored through the internet, but TOR encrypts it. It is great and Leo uses it when he travels or is using a public Wi-Fi access point. It just fits in his pocket, too. He should be careful when he's joining a public hotspot. He'll get most of the benefits from a VPN, though, if he just surfs to sites using https.