Safer Internet: Connection: Use a VPN


  • proxy+ Provide more encryption to protect data when no encryption (SSL or Wi-Fi), especially when travelling
  • + Provide some additional privacy and anonymity; other possible reasons below
  • - Difficult to choose between a few good and many mediocre/bad services; questionable reviews
  • - Setup; may not work with certain networks
  • - Performance
  • - Cost

[2] Intermediate

  • tunnelUse a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to connect to the Internet when you're on an open, insecure or unfamiliar network
  • e.g., cellular and (non-WPA) Wi-Fi networks when travelling or telecommuting
  • e.g., non-secure (http:) sites, e.g., to minimize ad injection, MITM (man-in-the-middle) attacks
  • Suggestion: initially, try a free, limited service, e.g., Hotspot Shield or Opera browser; later, upgrade to a paid service
  • How much of connection is encrypted? {Figure 4. TCYOP-3: 48; TCYOP-2: 43; TCYOP-1: 42}
  • [Refs:Products]: "Five Best VPN Service Providers"
  • [Refs:Govt]"China Cracks Down On VPN Services After Censorship System 'Upgrade'"
  • tunnel[Witopia]: Why do I need a personal VPN?
  • You desire extra security from online bad guys and identity thieves
  • You don't want your Internet Service Provider, or owner of a network you're connecting through, to log, monitor, and/or control what you do online
  • You want to hide your IP address so you can protect your identity and location
  • You don't want search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, AOL, and Bing recording and storing every Internet search you perform -- potentially forever
  • You use Wi-Fi Hotspots
  • You have a company-issued VPN but don't wish to use it for personal business
  • You use the Internet at hotels or other shared hospitality or public networks
  • You live in, or are visiting, a country that blocks Skype, Facebook, Twitter, or other Internet services
  • You live in, or are visiting, a country that engages in Internet censorship or monitoring of content
  • You wish to encrypt your VoIP traffic
  • You want to use a service or application that is geographically restricted by IP address
  • You simply desire extra privacy and security and want to round out your firewall and anti-virus protection for a complete security solution
  • great firewall of chinaConsiderations:
  • price
  • performance -- it can be (much) slower
  • company experience, longevity, privacy policy, trustworthiness
  • anonymity decreased by server logs?
  • network reliability, availability
  • bandwidth/transfer limits
  • configuration ease & support
  • Joe's current recommendations {TCYOP-3: 49-50} (all platforms, unless otherwise noted)
  • Free, specific browser, e.g., Opera; Mac, Win
  • Free, ad-supported, usage caps, e.g., Hotspot Shield; privacy risk?
  • [Refs:Govt]: "FTC must scrutinize Hotspot Shield over alleged traffic interception"
  • Paid subscriptions:
  • Cloak; Mac, iOS, Android
  • Disconnect Premium; browser only? includes other privacy and security features
  • IVPN
  • NordVPN; also routes your connections through Tor
  • Private Internet Access (PIA)
  • WiTopia* ('myPersonalVPN') *if you decide to subscribe to Witopia, please use this referral link (or code: Q8Hg3YRM) -- you'd receive an immediate 15% discount, and Steve receives a similar credit!
  • hooraye.g., WiTopia configuration: all platforms
  • [1] macOS, Win; "WiTopia's super-advanced VPN client software. We may have actually made encryption fun."
  • macOS: WiTopia > Quick Connect [screenshot: menu]; [screenshot: app]
  • [2] more custom setup required: Android; iOS; Linux; Witopia: "Android and iOS apps coming this year"; 4/12/2015 ?
  • iOS: Settings > General > VPN > (select configuration) [screenshot]
  • iOS: Settings > General > Add VPN Configuration {Figure 5. TCYOP-3: 51; TCYOP-2: 44; TCYOP-1: 44}
  • note: once any VPN configuration has been added, Settings > VPN shortcut appears
  • comparison of protocols; setup: IPsec; L2TP; IKEv2; [3] OpenVPN/OpenSSL most secure/customizable; [3] PPTP older, not recommended

[3] Advanced






Products / Reviews