USE FREE PUB­LIC WI-FI SAFELY

(with­out get­ting your pass­words and self­ies stolen)

HWM (Singapore) - - Front Page - by James Lu

Free pub­lic Wi-Fi is very much a dou­ble-edged sword. On the one hand, free in­ter­net ac­cess while you’re wait­ing around in the air­port is a god­send. On the other, ar­riv­ing at your des­ti­na­tion and find­ing out your Face­book ac­count has been com­pro­mised, not so much. It’s im­por­tant to re­al­ize that, while you’re on a pub­lic net­work (and not brows­ing an HTTPS web­site), any en­ter­pris­ing in­di­vid­ual can eas­ily see what you’re do­ing, which in­cludes any sites you visit, any per­sonal in­for­ma­tion you ac­cess and any pass­words you en­ter.

Here’s how to pro­tect your iden­tity and safely use any pub­lic net­work, by set­ting up a se­cure web proxy on your home com­puter, and then con­nect­ing to it via an en­crypted VPN (Vir­tual Pri­vate Net­work).

STEP 1 - CRE­ATE YOUR VPN

A VPN cre­ates a pass­word pro­tected pri­vate net­work be­tween any of the com­put­ers you in­stall it on.

There are a few op­tions for free VPN ser­vices out there. We’re us­ing LogMeIn’s Hamachi as it’s one of the eas­i­est to con­fig­ure. Down­load it from www.se­cure. logmein.com/prod­ucts/hamachi/ and in­stall it on both your note­book and home com­puter. You will need to sign up for an ac­count first. The free ver­sion will al­low you to have up to five com­put­ers on your VPN.

Launch Hamachi on your home com­puter and press the blue Power but­ton to start it up. Then, go to Net­work menu and se­lect ‘Cre­ate a New Net­work’. Give your net­work an ID name and pass­word, then click cre­ate. Take note of the IP ad­dress as­signed by Hamachi.

On your note­book or mo­bile de­vice (there’s a Hamachi Mo­bile app avail­able for iOS and An­droid), launch Hamachi, power it up, and go to Net­work > Join an ex­ist­ing net­work, then en­ter the ID and pass­word you set up on your home com­puter. STEP 2 - IN­STALL AND SET UP YOUR WEB PROXY A web proxy works by act­ing as a shield be­tween your com­puter and the In­ter­net. When you use a proxy, you’re not ac­tu­ally con­nect­ing to your in­tended site; in­stead, the web proxy is con­nect­ing to the site for you, fil­ter­ing out your per­sonal in­for­ma­tion.

Like our VPN, we have a few op­tions here. We’re us­ing a free ser­vice called Privoxy. Grab it from www.privoxy.org and down­load it on your home com­puter. Once it’s in­stalled, launch it and a blank win­dow will open and you’ll see a Privoxy icon in your sys­tem tray. You can close the blank win­dow.

Now we’re go­ing to set up Privoxy to al­low your VPN to go through it.

Right click the Privoxy icon in your sys­tem tray and se­lect Edit > Main Con­fig­u­ra­tion. This will open a Con­fig.txt file.

Scroll to en­try 4.1 Lis­ten Ad­dress and look for this line (it’s the only line that doesn’t start with a # com­ment code): lis­ten-ad­dress 127.0.0.1:8118 Re­place 127.0.0.1 with the IP ad­dress cre­ated by Hamachi. Make sure the :8118 is still there be­hind your IP ad­dress (this is the port used). Save the file and then restart Privoxy. Your proxy will now ac­cept re­quests from your VPN.

STEP 3 - SET UP YOUR WEB BROWSER TO USE YOUR NEW SE­CURE PROXY

Google Chrome In­stall the ‘Proxy Switchy!’ ex­ten­sion, then click on the globe icon next to the Set­tings span­ner, and se­lect Op­tions. In the Pro­files tab, name your pro­file and tick Man­ual Con­fig­u­ra­tion. En­ter the Hamachi IP ad­dress of your home com­puter and set the port num­ber to 8118, then save your pro­file. To ac­ti­vate your proxy, click the Globe icon and se­lect your Pro­file. Mozilla Fire­fox Open Fire­fox pref­er­ences, then click on the Ad­vanced tab. Click the Net­work tab, then the Set­tings but­ton for ‘Con­fig­ure how Fire­fox con­nects to the In­ter­net’.

Now tick Man­ual Proxy Con­fig­u­ra­tion and en­ter the Hamachi IP ad­dress of your home com­puter, set the port num­ber to 8118 and click OK.

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