Wi-Fi HotSpot Security Wireless Guardian Secure
As a professional freelance writer, I end up using wireless hotspots to work from coffee shops. While, I use a secured network whenever possible, many WiFi hotspots do not have any security enabled because it makes them easier to use. Although it seems like no one would bother, the reality is that wireless access points are easily compromised – even those that do have some form of WEP or WPA security enabled on the wireless access point. Using websites that have secure SSL connections can help keep usernames and passwords secure.
Unfortunately, that does nothing to secure all of those applications on laptops that log-in automatically by remembering usernames and passwords. It is also all too common to be in the middle of something, get in the flow, and end up entering a username and password before even thinking about whether or not there was a HTTPS in the URL.
The only reasonable solution is to setup an encrypted connection that captures all incoming and outgoing network traffic from the laptop so that there can be no mistakes or slips in security. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of options available in this arena. This is especially true for WiFi hotspot security protection that can be setup on the fly without pre-configuring a server somewhere to be waiting for your call.
Hotspot Shield by Anchor Free offers a free VPN connection that provides the fully encrypted security solution needed to safely use WiFi hotspots. However, it is “ad supported” which means that not only will part of your precious laptop screen real estate be eaten up by ads, thereby making your viewable monitor area even smaller, but it also means that your connection ends up being slower because those advertisements are given first priority by the VPN application.
WiFi Guardian Wireless HotSpot Security
I was excited to find WiFi Guardian, a free wireless hotspot VPN encryption program that connects to its own third-party servers to provide network security. Like HotSpot Shield, WiFi Guardian provides complete network interception making by web surfing and email secure as well as closing off the ability to hack in via installed software programs that automatically update.
The best part is that WiFi Guardian comes with a free 3-day trial. After three days, you have to pay $49.95 per year, but even a one-day free trial is good enough to secure your laptop for an impromptu coffee shop office setup. Most other VPN software comes with a specific data limit trial instead. That means that you have to make sure your computer isn’t doing anything behind the scenes that could be eating up your free trial period like downloading CD covers or synchronizing your bookmarks or files.
There is one bizarre thing that concerns me. The VPN application requires you to register a username and password to create an account. No problem there. However, the password field can only contain letters, no numbers or symbols.
What kind of security is that?
The most basic of all security is using strong passwords. Anyone setting up special software for security purposes would already be very familiar with using strong passwords. It begs the question about how seriously the WiFi Guardian developers take security when they not only allow, but require users to setup weak passwords on their accounts.
Needless to say, I will be uninstalling the software after my free trial period is up.
Has anyone else used WiFi Guardian? What have your experiences been like? Would you trust a security company that uses weak passwords?
Leave your answers in the comments, or shoot me an email.