Tech Resolutions #5: why I’m finally getting smart about internet privacy

What the cripes is a VPN?

Step two: tackling new-age nasties. I love free Wi-Fi. Whenever I can I’ll head out to a pub or coffee shop just to find somewhere to work other than the office. Sure, the chair’s nicer there, but it gets boring after a while.

But free Wi-Fi isn’t really safe. Anyone on the same network can use nasty software to leech the info you type in whenever you don’t use an “https” web page, and even those secure pages can be compromised.

The more I read into this stuff, the more I feel like I’m slowly fashioning a tinfoil hat out of pure Googling. But when the solution is so easy, it’s worth looking into. I’m talking about a VPN.

What this does is to encrypt all your internet use, even with unsecured pages. You’re much safer regardless of where you’re browsing, and as a side benefit the government can’t track you. And, err, it looks the conservatives are really getting into that sort of stuff.

I’ve been trying out NordVPN. It costs about S$8 a month and is so deliciously simple, it’s actually fun.

Install the NordVPN app on your laptop, desktop or phone and you see a cartoony map of the world, packed with all the servers it operates. One click/tap and your internet browsing starts getting routed through Iceland. Or Italy. Or India.

If you have an advanced router you can even set it up so everything in your house gets the VPN treatment. But as I’ve only just got internet installed I’ll leave that for 2017. Internet may be considered a human right by the UN, but that doesn’t stop you going without it for a month when you move house.

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