I have written before about security issues when using wireless wi-fi networks in public places. Most public access wi-fi networks are not encrypted, meaning that anyone else on the same network with the proper software can intercept and read whatever you are sending and receiving. I wrote about this recently in an article entitled Turn Off File Sharing in Your Laptop! that is still available at http://goo.gl/jqGgh. When traveling with a laptop and connecting from hotel rooms, coffee shops, airport terminals, and elsewhere, I always use a VPN (virtual private network) to encrypt my communications and to keep everything private. However, until today, I didn't have a good VPN product for the iPhone.
NOTE: Several VPN products for the iPhone have been available for some time. However, most of the ones I have seen are difficult to install and configure. Many are designed for use in corporate networks, not for use by individuals.
Hotspot Shield has now announced a new mobile app for private and secure internet use wherever you use your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. It runs in the background at all times when the app is running, encrypting everything from SMS messages to emails and Twitter updates.
As with most VPN products, there is a price. While Hotspot Shield is free for the first 7 days, to continue using it you will need to pay $0.99/month. You can obtain a discount if you pay in advance for 12 months' usage: $9.99.
If you are concerned about threats like Firesheep or you know how easy it is to sniff out passwords and cookies, you may want to give Hotspot Shield a try. It is available from the iPhone and iPad App Store. More information may be found at http://goo.gl/spB9V as well as at http://www.hotspotshield.com/.
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