Busy travelers stopping for layovers at airports often take time to check email from their phones or laptops. Each time they do so they potentially expose themselves to hackers who can gain access to private data. Many public wifi hotspots are not secure and leave unwary travelers unprotected against malicious attacks. There are a variety of ways you can secure your Internet connection and your browser to help thwart potential privacy invasions.
Iron Key sells its secured USB drive that encrypts the data you write to it, and most importantly, contains portable Firefox which runs on a secured session through Iron Key’s servers every time you use it; so it is like having an instant secured VPN to browse the web on, check your G mail, etc.
These are not very expensive, and come in 1 GB ($79), 2 GB ($109), and 4GB ($149). Iron Key includes secured backup software too. However if you want a do-it-yourself solution, you can try one of these options:
One effective way to keep your browsing and email secure is to set up a secure connection at home and create a VPN on your laptop that you use for traveling; allowing yourself to securely VPN into your home network. Vendors that provide this service include gotomypc and webex pcnow; or you can set up a VPN on your own using instructions such as these.
A very important initial step in this process is to disable SSID broadcast in your broadband router settings (usually through an online dashboard that lets you change these settings for your account). Uncheck the box for this option as it is unnecessary for the router to broadcast its name information every few seconds. The Wifi signal will still work in your home with this option unchecked, and disabling it will make it that much harder for hackers to gain access to your data.
Additionally routing your Internet activity through secured servers such as offered by OpenDNS can help keep your network secure by allowing you to filter sites you select, and by blocking phishing sites. OpenDNS also offers reliability on their zero downtime network.