VPNs

Why does my cursor jump around?

Episode 1509

Dan from Yankee Town, FL
Apple MacBook Pro

Dan is having an issue where on his MacBook the cursor jumps while he's typing. He can't even write an email. It'll even start a command. Leo suspects it's a problem with the trackpad. He should try cleaning it first. Sometimes "schmutz" can cause phantom touches. The palm rejection software in the OS may have been disabled. The worst case scenario is that the trackpad is failing. Since the laptop is about a year old, he could take it into the Apple Store and have them take a look at it.

How can I be secure on public Wi-Fi?

Episode 1496

Jose from Ontario, CA
Tiny Hardware Firewall

Jose is concerned about being snooped on when using public Wi-Fi. What can he do to protect himself? Leo says the first thing to do is turn on hard drive encryption. That will keep his data safe should his laptop get stolen. But for just being on a public Wi-Fi, VPNs can be beneficial. VPN stands for "Virtual Private Network," and all of the traffic that goes through it is encrypted. It's like a secure tunnel through the internet. Most web pages are encrypted now, though, so no one could see his activity on those sites anyway.

What router should I use to run a VPN?

Episode 1487

Al from California
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pfsense215.jpg

Al wants to get a router that can run Tomato or DD-WRT, so he can run VPNs through it because mesh routers aren't open source. Leo says a better option is to use an old computer as his router. pfSense is a good open source router app that can do that. It'll give him far more powerful hardware that can do what he would want it to do. He can even use a Raspberry Pi for it.

How can I encrypt and anonymize my web use?

Episode 1485

Jim from Indianapolis, IN
Anonymous

Jim called in to talk about how the Department of Homeland Security is monitoring not only the free press, but also bloggers, podcasters, and vloggers. Jim wonders if he should use a VPN as a hedge against that. Leo says that while anonymizing his content is a natural reaction, and while a VPN could be a useful tool, but it's not a privacy tool. In fact, encrypting his traffic shines a light on him more than just being a part of the "background noise." Also, a VPN only encrypts the traffic along the way.

What's a good VPN?

Episode 1480

Larry from California
http://blackholecloud.com/

Larry went to NAB and saw the SONY Crystal LED (CLED) video wall - 18x32' 8K display. This is likely going to be a technology for billboards, video walls, movie theaters, and other hugely expensive applications.

What's a good, secure VPN? Leo recommends Tiny Hardware Firewall's Blackhole VPN. They don't log anything, nor do they report stuff.

Why can't I use DropBox as a file server?

Episode 1476

David from Austin, TX
Synology DiskStation DS218play

David works with about ten other people in a small company, and they all share files using DropBox. They're getting conflicts, however with certain database files that they have stored on DropBox. Leo says if he has two programs accessing the same file at once, they will have problems. David wants to set up a VPN, and he was able to configure Hamachi. Leo says this won't fix the fundamental problem, though — it has to support record locking. David says that Microsoft Access supports locking, but it doesn't work with DropBox because people are accessing the file on their local systems.

How can I get around work's locked down internet?

Episode 1462

Rick from Irvine, CA
Computers

Rick's wife is trying to get around her job's internet restrictions with a VPN. Is there any way to do that? Leo says probably not. They will likely have it locked down to the point where she can't get around it. Leo recommends using her mobile phone in hotspot mode. She should turn off Wi-Fi though because she'll still be under their policies even when she's on her phone using the Wi-Fi. The company has the right to not only prevent her from using her own devices on their network, but also to spy on her. So she should be careful.

What is a reliable Virtual Private Network?

Episode 1453

Manny from Mt. Carmel, CA
Tiny Hardware Firewall

Manny wants to know how he can find a reliable VPN product to keep his surfing private. Leo says that what he's looking for is a strong privacy policy that's very clear what it can and cannot do, particularly with logging access. Leo likes Tunnel Bear since they have it in their privacy policy that they won't log his access and activity. He also uses a hardware firewall like Tiny Hardware Firewall which will do it.