Cloak yourself on open Wi-Fi hotspots

About The Author

CNET Editor

Seamus Byrne is the Editor of CNET Australia. At other times he'll be found messing with apps, watching TV, building LEGO, and rolling dice. Usually at the same time.

Security alert! Joining open public wireless hotspots is a bad idea for your data security. A really bad idea.

When you join an open Wi-Fi network, your data is sent through the air in a way that is very easy for anyone else on that network to sniff out, steal and even take control of. A quick read about Firesheep should get your spider sense tingling.

If public Wi-Fi is something you really like using, then there are services that can hide your data and keep you safe. One we've looked at is called Cloak, and it's now available on Mac and iOS, with Windows and Android versions coming soon. It's a virtual private network (VPN) service that cleverly works on a data-limit basis. It's free for up to 1GB of usage per month, or you can pay to get more.

Simply put, either stop using open Wi-Fi, or grab a tool like Cloak to keep your data safe.

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Im Batman posted a comment   

Good practical advice.
This is tpyical for random open networks that you find,... and starbucks.

Is the Brisbaine governments "Wifi in Park" any better?? (you know being provided by a trusted body).
But i guess they are no different to someone sitting off the side of the starbucks networks and getting your data.


Seamus Byrne posted a reply   

All they need to do to fix this problem is to post 'free wi-fi' signs that include the name of the hotspot and a public password. As soon as there is a password, every individual connection is secure over the air. And it's the unprotected packets in the air that are the key problem!

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