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Old 09-30-2012, 06:30 AM   #21
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Dont know if it has internet for the price , but we now use a home "cell phone" from Verison.

$19.95 a month (plus the local tax extortion) and simply take it with us when we snowbird.

Same number ,either home, and on the boat or in the RV , it does work too (DC power required)

No time limits , no such thing as a long distance call in the USA.

Internet , probably for more bucks , but WI FI is really range/location limited , cell phones have better distance and coverage.

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Old 09-30-2012, 06:26 PM   #22
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Open WiFi Security Concerns-Approach

Disclosure - I'm not an IT or communications expert by any means. I rely on our firms IT resources and lean on them regularly.

Background to the point I wish to make - We use what is called a VPN (Virtual Private Network) capability for secure communications. I can't explain all the details and understand that with this in play data packets are encrypted between the source (for example my laptop) to the receiving system whether carried in the air or on a conductor of some type. With this feature I can log into a client's system from an open wireless network (unsecure access point such as the hotel I'm presently staying in) and have secure communications. We use the same approach for firm email - secure independent of the local access point. That's my understanding.

The issue - what security do I have when on an open wireless system (such as this hotel or a marina) when I'm not connected to our email server or to a client's system with my VPN app? In late 2010 Jeffery and Karen Siegel of Active Captain discussed this exposure in a couple newletters. They provided some background and suggested approaches for such situations. The newsletter articles were:

Open WiFi Dangers ... (

More on Open WiFi (

Https - ... and also VPN's 101 - Part 1 (

VPN's 101, Part 2 (

VPN Selection (

Essentially they suggested subscribing to a service that provides VPN features when needed. So at the moment I'm working from my room in a hotel that has an open WiFi - no password required to use their network access point. My approach is to connect to their network and before I go to a web page where I might enter a password - such as to login to make this reply - I open the Witopia private VPN application - one of the services they evaluated and recommended. I then connect to their system and work through their network. I don't notice any response drag and have a secure connection.

Again this is how I understand things so stand to be corrected as necessary. Perhaps this is all outdated since it's nearly two years old.


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Old 09-30-2012, 08:36 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Sealegs View Post
Again this is how I understand things so stand to be corrected as necessary. Perhaps this is all outdated since it's nearly two years old.
It is as dead-on accurate today as it was 2 years ago. A VPN that can be trusted is a sure way to get around the dangers of open WiFi. If you blindly just connect to an open WiFi spot that you happen to find while cruising, you are asking to have your email account hijacked. All non-https website traffic can be easily recorded.

Using open WiFi starts a downhill slide of identity theft and can lead to bank/credit card spoofing quite easily depending on your email server.
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Old 09-30-2012, 10:02 PM   #24
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Yes, HTTPS or VPN is the way to go for anything you need to be secure.

VPN is unecessary if you are using HTTPS. HTTPS builds the same kind of tunnel as VPN.

If you are accessing e-mail over a non HTTPS link, or over any public connection then your e-mail could be hacked.

Personally I never use public internet. I use my cell phone or my satellite system.

Even over that I use a VPN link back to my companys network for email

Here's another risk. If you use VPN (like I do), there is something called split tunneling. What that means is that only traffic that needs to go accross the VPN link is sent accross it. The rest of the traffic is sent out as normal in an unencrypted format to the internet. Split tunneling is widely used to decreases the "double" bandwidth requirement that internet traffic places on the VPN endpoint (normally your company). So, if you are using split tunneling for your VPN then your internet traffic is unencrypted even though you might think its secure.

The moral here is for anything you want private, make sure you have encryption all the way to whatever you want private.

And I am a networking professional.
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Old 10-01-2012, 02:03 PM   #25
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I use WiFi Tether app on my HTC and FoxFi on my wife's Moto.
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:19 AM   #26
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Other than the public wifi risk that others have mentioned, the two biggest vulnerabilities you will face are at either end of the connection. Any institution that stores PII (personal identity information) is subject to continuous automated attack - but your personal equipment is vulnerable as well. The least secure stage in the entire communications chain is your local equipment.

The implication of this is that anything on your local equipment - phone, tablet, computers - that is critical to you must be further protected (meaning encrypted). I personally store senstive data in 1Password, but there are other options. And the drive on my laptop is encrypted with BitLocker.
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Old 10-05-2012, 08:53 PM   #27
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We have been using our Verizon mifi and then the hotspot on a smart phone for years. Dumped the land system a while back. Works flawlessly and is encrypted.

Mark Bowerman
Brokerage owner and cruiser
Esse Quam Videri
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