VPNs

How can I monitor my home?

SmartThings Hub

Episode 1209

G. Scott from Minnesota

G. Scott has a client who wants to monitor their cabin from their home, including temperature, humidity, and if their septic tank isn't working. Leo suggests SmartThings. They can put the hub into the cabin and the hub talks wirelessly to the sensors installed in the house. The problem with home automation, though, is that there are no standards for it. It's really new. But SmartThings is very good place to start.

Why doesn't my VPN work?

Episode 1189

Joe from Zipolite, Mexico

Joe was installing a VPN on a new Asus laptop and it worked just fine using Tunnel Bear. Leo says that Tunnel Bear is awesome. Then he moved to an open source VPN and he can't get it to work. Leo says this is why using a service is beneficial. You can have support when things go wrong. The other problem may be that Joe still has Tunnel Bear on his computer. So there's probably a conflict. And you also need to connect to an open source server. You can't just drop the client software and use their service.

How can I watch Netflix in Bolivia?

Episode 1173

Fabio from Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Fabio has moved out of the country and he still wants to watch Netflix, Hulu, etc. He can't watch directly because they block him, and VPNs are just too slow. What about SmartDNS? Leo says a Proxy Server fools Netflix and Hulu into thinking he's from the US. It's also a violation of the terms of service of Netflix, though. Both VPNs and Proxy Servers are illegal, unfortunately.

Am I secure on public Wi-Fi hotspots?

Typing on a computer

Episode 1140

Max from Milpitas, CA

Max has Eset's security suite and when he goes onto public Wi-Fi, it shows he's invisible to other computers. Leo says that's a good thing because public Wi-Fi is visible to anyone. Eset is probably turning on the Firewall, but he doubts there's a VPN going on here. If it's secure, he'll see the URL start with "https://." There's a move to make all internet traffic encrypted. But until that time, Max will have to remember that when he's on public Wi-Fi, he's out in the open.

(Disclaimer: ESET is a sponsor)

How can I exclude streaming video from going through my VPN?

VPN

Episode 1138

Elieazer from Florence, SC

Elieazer watches TWiT through a Virtual Private Network. How can he configure his browser so that some things will go through the VPN, and other things won't? Leo says that VPNs slow things down because it routes the traffic through a VPN server. Elieazer uses ProXPN, which is a sponsor of the show. Leo doesn't think he can just choose which apps will go through the VPN, but it does make it easier to turn the whole VPN on and off.

How can I have privacy on the internet while out of the country?

https

Episode 1137

Dennis from Costa Rica, CA

Dennis is vacationing and he's concerned about privacy on the public hotel Wi-Fi. Leo says that's when a Virtual Private Network, or VPN can come in handy. It's like a tunnel through the internet that is encrypted and nobody can see his traffic. But it will be a little bit slower. He uses TalkaTone and wants an encrypted phone line. Leo says it's a good option, but he also recommends RedPhone. It has end to end encryption.

Will we start getting location based text message ads like China is doing?

China

Episode 1131

Alan from Chatsworth, CA

Alan went to China and wanted to report his experience getting by the great Firewall of China. He used alternate ports with remote desktop and TeamViewer to skirt China's blocking restrictions, and it worked great. Leo says it sounds like China just blocked standard ports used for RDP and not something more sophisticated like Deep Packet Inspection. He was able to use Google and Facebook through his T-Mobile Smartphone. It was a little slow, granted, because it uses a slower EDGE connection for free digital roaming.

How can I use the internet in China?

Great Wall of China

Episode 1122

Allen from Hawaii

Allen is going on vacation to Beijing, China next week and wants to know what apps he can use on his phone. Will he also be able to use remote desktop? Leo says they call China's restrictions the "Great FireWall of China," and access to the internet is strictly controlled and constantly changing what they block. Wikipedia has a list of sites that is constantly updated that shows what websites are blocked and what aren't.

How can I remotely connect to work while traveling?

Episode 1115

Scott from Boulder, CO

Scott travels a lot and he needs to connect to work a lot. So he's looking for a good laptop that he can remotely connect in. And what should he use to do so? Leo says that services like GoToMyPC and LogMeIn work with https secure logins, and that's a good solution, but they are costly. VPNs work really well because they essentially burrow a hole directly to your network that others can't get into.