The geeks among us might take exception at how freely we use the Internet at our cafe. It is true the Internet we use at most “free” spots is insecure, meaning the text we send or receive could be picked up and read.
So the question becomes, should we worry and what can we do?
I worry about sending usernames and passwords through these connections. For most things it may not matter, and if the site shows an address starting with https:// (note the ‘s’) and a lock icon appears in the lower right of our web browser then the information we send is encrypted and is likely to be safe. (Banks and email sites SHOULD be doing this) But simpler sites like Facebook, Youtube and the like, logging into these in a cafe DOES send the open text we use through the network and that could be compromised.
I just bought a new router for my home network and suddenly some things I have done on the network quit working. It turned out this new router does not ‘loopback’ basically meaning I cannot type an address for my computers here and see them as I would on the net. So to see if my addresses were working I would have to go to someone else’s computer away from my own network to see them.
OR I could use the same services I would use to protect myself in a cafe or to see blocked sites at work like Youtube, I’d use a Proxy, and the one I have linked above is http://www.hidemyass.com
If you visit this site you will notice an address bar in the page. If you put the site address you want to see in this second address bar you will see your desired page, but the address your computer (and network) will see will belong to hidemyass.com thus seeming to come from another server. There are hundreds of these sites, maybe thousands all doing a similar service. Just Google for ‘anonymous proxy servers free’ and you’ll find them. The one I have presented here encrypts the link so that it doesn’t give away what site it has presented to you, not all do that.
So… should we worry? We should be cautious. If you are not on a secure site and you are sending information you would not want stolen, use a Proxy site and go ahead and enjoy yourself.
My two cents. Do you have any comments? Just use the comment form here on our website at http://epcug.net