VPNs

What is a VPN and do I need to use it?

VPN

Episode 1621

Rene from Vancouver, British Columbia

Rene wants to know if she can use a VPN to keep herself safe and still log into sites like Facebook. Leo says that a VPN is an encrypted tunnel for your traffic that masks your data as you use it. You should be able to still log in, but some sites don't support it. How about using an airport WiFi with a VPN. Leo says that's a very good place to use a VPN, but he generally doesn't use public wifi, especially in an airport. And you NEVER want to do banking or eCommerce on one.

Why can't I navigate to my own IP in my VPN?

ExpressVPN

Episode 1620

Brett from Fort Worth, Texas

Brett has moved to ExpressVPN, but he's having issues surfing to his own IP. It worked fine with his old VPN, but not ExpressVPN (who is a sponsor of the TWiT Network). What can he do? Leo says to check your router settings. It may be that in your devices, there could be a security issue that's blocking it. Leo does that with his network for his NAS. Leo also says that Brett's problem may be due to his previous VPN being less secure. 

Is VPN City a good alternative?

VPN City

Episode 1619

Myron from Minneapolis, MN

Myron would like to know about VPN City. Leo says he's never heard of it. Tech Radar says that their speed is pretty good. However, Leo's take on VPNs is that they need to be secure, not spy on you, or insert ads into your feed to make money. It's also based in China and it uses Soft Ether protocol which Leo isn't a fan of. 

There are better choices out there like ExpressVPN, who is a sponsor of the TWiT network.

Why Can't I Use VPN on Some Websites?

Norton

Episode 1618

Jim from Maui, HI

Jim uses Norton Secure VPN, and sometimes his internet website will say "we can't find your server." So he'll turn it off and it works. Leo says that sometimes internet security can get in the way and prevent connecting. The hotel he's connecting to may be blocking VPNs at the server level. But if they're using https, and Google is pushing most sites to do so, then he'll be OK. Just look for a small lock next to the URL. That means the traffic is encrypted. 

How can I avoid CAPTCHA?

Captcha

Episode 1609

Joe from Clear Water, Florida

Joe is sick of CAPTCHA, which he gets when using Google and his VPN. But not when he uses BING. Can he get rid of CAPTCHA? Leo says that those are in place because there are so many bots online. It's just Google making sure you are indeed a real person online. You can also use Google.com/NCR, which apparently removes captcha. Check out this link on REDDIT - https://www.reddit.com/r/VPN/comments/8dx45z/any_way_to_reduce_google_captcha_annoyances_for/.

Are Hotspots Secure?

Tiny Hardware Firewall.

Episode 1608

Tucker from Kentucky

Tucker wants to use a captive portal wifi hotspot, but is it secure? Some are poorly made and can leak your data, others can sell data or even input advertising into it. Is Opera a good one? Leo says it's not exactly a VPN, and by giving away the service, that costs money. So they have to be making money somehow. Also, it's not strictly a VPN, it's a proxy service. One thing that Leo recommends is the Tiny Hardware Firewall. It has a built-in webserver, dual wifi radios, and a built-in hardware firewall.

How Can I Set Up a VPN at Home?

VPN

Episode 1600

Tom from Warren, OH

Tom wants to set up a virtual private network at home. How can he do that? He's worried about getting bit by ransomware. Will a VPN prevent that? Leo says that no. If you click on something, a VPN can't help you. But a VPN will keep your traffic private, so no one can see where you're going. But even then, it has its limitations. While it burrows an encrypted tunnel to where you're going, once you get there, it's no longer encrypted. So you have to trust that where you're going will keep your privacy. And your provider still sees your traffic. 

Which Mobile Service is Best for Travelling Abroad?

Fi

Episode 1598

Sherman from Tustin, California

Sherman is going to be going hiking around the world and wants to know which service to go with? Leo says that Google Fi is great because it uses three separate mobile carriers. He could also go with TMobile, they offer 2G around the world for no extra cost. But it's slow. He's also getting a Chromebook, is an i5 processor fine? Leo says it'll be expensive, but he can. Does he need a VPN? Leo says not really.  Especially in a country like China, where using a VPN will get him arrested.

How Safe is Public WiFi?

Firewall

Episode 1592

Mark from Los Angeles, CA

Mark hears that Public Wifi may not be safe. Is that true? Leo says yes and no. When we're on a public network, people can see our connection. We can see other people's computers in our browser. We may not be able to see everything, but a hacker can use what's called a "WiFi pineapple." So there is a potential risk. But with a secure connection via HTTPS, they can't really see anything. That's why Google is pushing hard for every website to be https. That's why it's Leo's opinion that we're mostly safe. When in doubt, just use a virtual private network while on a public wifi.