If you travel, take even just one trip but plan to use the internet. If you need your laptop or phone you might find a tiny investment of say $25 to $70 USD pays over and over. Getting connected directly with your device can be temperamental and dangerously insecure. The hotel residents or staff may just record all your traffic and search it for passwords, pictures you viewed, websites you visited and more. Its not just for travel though – at home you you need this kind of serious firewall this is a minimum level to protect you even from your own ISP equipment and it’s vulnerabilities. Its not the whole solution but a crucial foundation of the puzzle.
Hotels and other public places can either have sketchy weak internet access that drives you nuts. A good little tool like this might plug in to the wall and give you your own wifi. Or it could bridge you to their wifi in the spot that “works” freeing you to sit where it is comfortable to read or work.
I can’t emphasise enough you need to be protected from other “guests” who might use this chance to attack and infect, take control of your computer of phone. Hacking is very prevalent. The last thing you want on your holiday is either spending all day just trying to find somewhere to check emails and make flight confirmations or new hotel bookings. Beyond that having your email hacked while you are away from home could lead to your bank accounts being frozen or robbed. What is so special about the products I share – they use open source, tested software. I’ve tested them and use them myself and I’ve got a history of securing companies and clients workspaces. Many of them paying thousands to protect their ability to stay online even during constant attacks from all over the world that look to break in to any place they can.
So get started with any of these products – the GL.inet GL-MT300N-V2 mini travel router. I have one very smilar. If you want something more potent from the start. This GL.iNet GL-AR750 Travel router has one more port of wired ethernet and both 2.4ghz and 5ghz wifi. Note that 5ghz is likely to max out the speed you can receive downloads if your hotel has a premium quality connection. Finally the fastest newest model is this GL.iNet GL-AR750S-Ext Gigabit Travel AC Router has full gigabit wired connectivity. So if you want to have a small network with family or friends safely behind your own firewall … this one would be a great lightweight tool.
They all power from USB – like any phone charger. Some of the models come with their own 5v USB power. You can even just plug them into your laptop USB to power them up, and that means you are only adding a tiny lightweight box to your luggage. A box that as you get to know it will likely solve a problems.
To make a long security rant short – this uses a community maintained operating system. Most companies make products and don’t keep them updated or from the very start they have flaws that are found making them a target to make you more likely rather than less to be hacked. Giving hackers a back door instead of locking them out. These devices are using the kind of system a hacker is likely to use to protect themselves. They can be as easy as pie to set up.
Tricks? – Well, it would be obvious to plug a router into your network at the wall and you get your own wifi. That’s great, but what if you go to somewhere with only wifi? Well if you want to get a bit deeper into the web pages that this device provides to help you connect everything – you can use this to get wifi and share it to you via the cable. So they come with a small thin ethernet cable. Its usually possible, especially with the bigger ones (AR750 and AR750s) to get internet with wifi and share it with the other wifi – because there are 2 wifi units (radios) in this little box.
So you can do wifi to cable access, cable to wifi access and wifi to wifi access. Yes also cable to cable access. You create a protected LAN for yourself. If there is not access you can “tether” your phone USB or use a 3G/4G usb modem to provide access to your hotel room. You can even take this down to starbucks or anywhere you go to work with your computer to protect yourself from the rest of the visitors.
Not secure enough for you? You can, with some effort, get a VPN account and use this device to connect through to another network, encrypting your communications completely. So even insecure websites are not visable to anyone watching you – like the hotel guests or staff.
It is possible to do VPN, firewall with your travel computer itself or with your phone … but its typical that something will lead you to turn it off or forget to set it up. This device is really all about dedicated security and or just making it easier and better. I’ll write some further stories – in fact I’ll explain more about security and how this protects you in ways most people don’t even know are needed yet. I even use these at home because my internet providers router/wifi is not secure enough for my purposes. I consider that already unsafe even in my own home. The company that provides it definitely have backdoors so they can watch and maybe attack you from there offices. That means that staff who once worked there probably know how to hack everyone that has that equipment. If they get through then I’m still behind a firewall.