Internet/Network Security/Public wifi safety

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Question
I have a samsung tablet with android ICS on it.  It's not rooted/jailbroken.

Is hotspot shield a good choice to use when using public wifi?

What about hamachi vpn?

Is there an increase in security risk by using a device that has browsers that have saved passwords in public wifi?  For example, when I go to my gmail page at a public wifi, it auto signs me in.  Is that a problem?

Answer
I can't comment on hotspot shield or hamachi vpn because I'm not familiar with either. Feel free to ask about these a month from now.

Wifi-specific risk depends on several factors.  Risk from open Access Points (Hotspots) is associated with a lack of accountability to users (because users don't know who is responsible for them and users have have no recourse if a system they connect to is compromised by using one.   That is, even if a well-hardened computer is using it, by using it you may reveal the name of accounts you use and your password, even if you connect using SSL.  The reason is, the hotspot can be configured to intercept your SSL connection.  If so, this will reveal the credentials to a third party.  You won't know though because after intercepting your request to connect, it will establish the SSL connection, obtain your login information, and use it to connect where you are going.  The attacker isn't likely to use the login info right away, but s/he may.

The same is true for VPN connections.  This is a form of a Man in the Middle attack. In general a MITM attack is more difficult to pull off but its easier to execute over Wifi than over a wired connection.

CMDA modems (cell connections) are a safer alternative than open Wifi.  And they may be slower.


Hope this helps.  

Internet/Network Security

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John Crout

Expertise

Computer/IS Security, Online Safety, Incident Management

Experience

20 years supporting Windows networks and 10 years supporting Linux networks.

Organizations
Association for Computing Machinery; Information Systems Security Association (ISSA); United States Coast Guard Auxiliary; ISC2; ACM

Education/Credentials
Master of Public Health in Epidemiology and Biostatistics (Miller School of Medicine); Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering Computer Engineering Option (University of Miami);

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