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secure web surfing

Safely Surf The Internet From A Public Wireless Network

by Trace Mayer, J.D. on February 16, 2010

Reading time: 3 – 5 minutes

These days many organizations offer free wireless network access for their customers in an effort to entice more people in the door. People love this and they will stay longer than usual at their favorite restaurant, cafe, bookstore or lounge. There is nothing better than to be able to surf the web on your laptop, as if you were at home, but at the same time still be in a social setting.  Many people also like to use the internet while they are temporarily on vacation away from their tax free states without risking a huge tax liability for doing so.

But there is one drawback to all of this free Internet that is floating around. It would be wise to take into serious consideration before you decide to logon how you are going to protect your personal information. You should make sure that you are able to surf the Internet from that cafe or restaurant freely and without fear of someone intercepting your data.

For example, you can use an SSH client to to run an encrypted session to a server that is outside of the network such as an encrypted proxy server like a hawala system. This will help protect your computer by giving anyone that is trying to do a man in the middle attack on your data merely a bunch of encoded characters. They will see data flowing through but they will be unable to decipher it. Additionally, when you surf the Internet your information is easy to read through data packets that go through the air. Encrypting this message will still allow the person to see data but but they will be unable to make any use of it.

Another example is to secure a web viewing session when you are on a strange network, such as through the use of a proxy program such as Tor. We call Tor a proxy but it is not one in the original sense. It allows you to safely and anonymously surf the Internet through different proxies but it can be very slow. This is the main reason more people do not use it. Sometimes, you just want to get on the network and get off right away. Tor does not let you do that. It is a little sluggish but it will help keep you secure and anonymous.

One more thing that you want to do when web surfing on a public network is to make sure that when you login to anything online is to make it is through an https connection. An https connection, is when you see a letter “s”, standing for secure, following the normal “http” that you see while you are web surfing. Often there is a small padlock indicating the secure session. This will allow you to have a safe, secure, encrypted session with the server. This is always important but especially more so when you are on a public network. Make sure you do this whenever logging into financial sites such as a bank account, Paypal or GoldMoney account.

CONCLUSION

These are a couple of ways that will help your know that your web session be secure while you are surfing via a public network. You can find even more in the book How To Vanish, Legally Protecting Your Personal and Financial Privacy.  Anyone around could be trying get your data.  Be sure to keep your guard up to protect your personal and financial privacy.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Trace Mayer, J.D., holds a degree in Accounting, a law degree from California Western School of Law and studies the Austrian school of economics. He works as an entrepreneur, investor, journalist, monetary scientist and operates Run To Gold. He is a strong advocate of the freedom of speech, a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the San Diego County Bar Association. He has appeared on ABC, NBC, BNN, many radio shows and presented at many investment conferences throughout the world. This is merely one article of 41 by .
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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Fran Jipani December 19, 2010 at 9:37 am

I am posting this here as, ironically, your anonymous web surfing page was blocked by my library computer! How does proxy surfing differ from the InPrivate browsing, now provided by internet explorer, google chrome and apple mac?

2 Trace Mayer, J.D. December 19, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Hi Fran, That is an excellent question. To simply explain the difference there is a record kept with (1) the browser and (2) the ISP. When you turn on anonymous surfing with your browser then it may keep your web surfing habits private as contained in the history of your browser. Thus if someone gets your laptop, computer, etc. then they would not be able to know what your browsing history is. The record kept with the ISP is done as a result of routing the Internet traffic from your computer to the website where you want to visit. Anyone who has access to those records can then see a record of your web surfing without having access to your computer or laptop, etc. Sometimes this traffic can be intercepted between your laptop and the ISP. Using a proxy server directs all traffic from your ISP to another computer and from there to the Internet. Most good proxies do not keep logs. Thus, the ISP knows you went to the proxy but do not know where you went from there.

To maximize your privacy of web surfing you would surf via a reputable proxy and turn on anonymous web surfing with your browser along with securely deleting history, cache, etc.

Hope that helps!

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