shmu26

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For public wifi, is a 3rd-party firewall better than Windows firewall, and why?
If 3rd-party, what is recommended? Windows 10 x64.
I don't want to spend a lot of money, or a lot of time configuring, because I am not in this situation very much.

While I am here, are there any good free VPNs that are appropriate for low to moderate internet usage? Is it a security risk to install VPN and set it up while on public wifi?
 

tim one

Level 21
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The main dangers using a public wifi are the “sniffing”, which consists in the acquisition of all the data packets that pass through a unsecure network and the attack type “Man in the Middle”, when the hacker intercept or modify the running communication.

In my opinion the first thing to do is to check the sharing options of your PC to avoid that the settings used on your home network (for example to access a network printer or exchange files among two computers) remains unchanged even when you connect to a public network. So change them in case.

The router of the public wifi usually has a firewall that protects the local network from external attacks. But that firewall does not guarantee security of the individual users in the case of an internal attack to the network.
I think Windows firewall is often enough to protect the computer from unwanted access. The important thing is to make sure that it is active.

And, of course, a good paid VPN, but I don't think you transfer money by online banking using a public wifi.
 

Electr0n

Level 4
Verified
For public wifi, is a 3rd-party firewall better than Windows firewall, and why?
If 3rd-party, what is recommended? Windows 10 x64.
I don't want to spend a lot of money, or a lot of time configuring, because I am not in this situation very much.

While I am here, are there any good free VPNs that are appropriate for low to moderate internet usage? Is it a security risk to install VPN and set it up while on public wifi?
Windows firewall is good enough, but it would be better to use a vpn on a public wifi.
If you're a moderate user then try windscribe, the free version gives you 2GB/month,and if you verify your email address while signing up, you will get 10GB/month, they are quite good despite being free.
 

shmu26

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Thanks guys.
The proxy on my home network connection blocks me from setting up a VPN while at home.
Can I set up Windscribe while on public wifi, or is that not secure?
 

In2an3_PpG

Level 17
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Thanks guys.
The proxy on my home network connection blocks me from setting up a VPN while at home.
Can I set up Windscribe while on public wifi, or is that not secure?
I would set it up via secured private network first. If i'm not mistaken i believe you have to set up an account with them to use their free option still. So entering in credentials someone else could possible find out through a MITM attack on a public network might not be a good idea. Which then could make you prone to other malicious activities.
 

shmu26

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I would set it up via secured private network first. If i'm not mistaken i believe you have to set up an account with them to use their free option still. So entering in credentials someone else could possible find out through a MITM attack on a public network might not be a good idea. Which then could make you prone to other malicious activities.
So I can set it up while using built-in VPN of Opera browser, then. Sounds good?

What about smartphone -- does that need VPN, too?

Pardon me for all the beginners questions, but I am not a smartphone owner, and not a big traveller either.
 

CyberTech

Level 22
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So I can set it up while using built-in VPN of Opera browser, then. Sounds good?

What about smartphone -- does that need VPN, too?

Pardon me for all the beginners questions, but I am not a smartphone owner, and not a big traveller either.
Yea sounds good when you turn on VPN so check IP/DNS Detect make sure it's not your real IP so then use internet..

yea it does too, when you use someone's wifi you dont trust so use VPN, and it should use it if you are at the cafe or public wifi or somewhere...
 

In2an3_PpG

Level 17
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So I can set it up while using built-in VPN of Opera browser, then. Sounds good?
I would say that's questionable. I recall them ending the VPN service for mobile, not too sure about their web browser as i do not use it. If they still offer it through a private or incognito window then i would say that should be just "Ok". As your encrypted just through the browser. I would still prefer you to try and set it all up before you enter a public network. IMO. If that's at all possible.

Smartphone would be the same thing. Use a VPN when in a public network. If you plan on using it for anything other then texting or calling.

Pardon me for all the beginners questions, but I am not a smartphone owner, and not a big traveller either.
Not a problem. That's were all here for right? To help and learn from one another. :) Well at least for a select few of us. I have been silently learning from you and @Andy Ful through the threads you guys go back and forth on.
 

shmu26

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Thanks guys. So what happens when you use a dedicated app on an android device, for instance, your bank's app. It should be protected by VPN, or such an app doesn't need VPN, because it uses cell connection? I don't know how these things work...
 

In2an3_PpG

Level 17
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Thanks guys. So what happens when you use a dedicated app on an android device, for instance, your bank's app. It should be protected by VPN, or such an app doesn't need VPN, because it uses cell connection? I don't know how these things work...
I believe all confidential apps such as banking need to be protected behind a VPN in a public network. Or even in the cellular network. Cellular would be more secure than public. As the attacker would have a tougher time trying to locate your dedicated connection. I know the banking apps tend to setup their own private channel but just to be on the safe side or paranoid side. You would still benefit from using a VPN.
 

Robbie

Level 28
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Content Creator
Take into account a firewall is not only there just to deal with inbound and outbound connections. The more advanced the firewall you choose is, the more attacks it may cover or protect you against.

For example:

  • Botnet protection
  • IDS protection
  • Advanced rules
  • Gateway defence
  • NAT protection

In case something compromises your security, the firewall can be there blocking the access of the threat to the internet.

There's a lot you can achieve with Windows Firewall if you know how to use it and configure it.

If you don't, there are a lot of good options, many of them paid. If I were you, I would go with an antivirus suite that complements the protection with a solid firewall (which is probably based on WF).

And of course, aforementioned, a trusted VPN.

Thanks guys. So what happens when you use a dedicated app on an android device, for instance, your bank's app. It should be protected by VPN, or such an app doesn't need VPN, because it uses cell connection? I don't know how these things work...
All networks can be compromised. As our pal @In2an3_PpG mentioned, using a public network maximizes the potential risk of being a target. Nevertheless, a cellphone network can still be targeted, here's when a VPN would still protect and encrypt all your information. Still, the chances that your phone is a target when you're at home, are minimum, of course depending on where you live and who you are. I, personally, do not use a VPN when home banking on my own, private, non-shared laptop. If I had to do it on another network, despite it's private, or another one's device, I would certainly use a VPN and a virtual screen keyboard. I would still avoid having to connect to any of my accounts if it isn't strictly necessary.
 

shmu26

Level 82
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I would say that's questionable. I recall them ending the VPN service for mobile, not too sure about their web browser as i do not use it. If they still offer it through a private or incognito window then i would say that should be just "Ok". As your encrypted just through the browser. I would still prefer you to try and set it all up before you enter a public network. IMO. If that's at all possible.
So when I get my hands on a smartphone, I can connect while still at home to its cellular network, and tether my laptop to the smartphone, and get my windscribe account all set up and working, on both laptop and smartphone.
 
D

Deleted member 178

I think most people (here) are forgetting the most obvious principle : "Don't do sensitive stuff on a public WIFI !"
On public wifi, you watch vids and play games, surf on some leisure sites, you don't do banking on them.
So based on this, having an uber security setup isn't mandatory.
 

Klettern

Level 1
I think most people (here) are forgetting the most obvious principle: "Don't do sensitive stuff on a public WIFI !"
On public wifi, you watch vids and play games, surf on some leisure sites, you don't do banking on them.
So based on this, having an uber security setup isn't mandatory.
Or just use a VPN. I don't get how people are so naive. Most of the public Wi-FI places have WEP encryption which is easily hackable. For example, I use Surfshark VPN and I feel secure while the speed doesn't suffer that much too. Then banking even at public wi-fi's isn't a big deal.
 
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