Helping you balance your online life

Jun 18th


Beware! Is Someone Watching You?

Isn't it annoying when you open your laptop on a plane and the nosy stranger sitting next to you peers at your screen? That's the least of your worries.

Connecting your laptop to a plane's WiFi is just like connecting to a public WiFi hotspot and poses some very real security risks. Like what? Sophisticated cyber crooks can easily gain access to your Internet activity and digital information. After all, WiFi signals are just radio waves, and anyone can "listen in" to what you're doing on your laptop-- just as they would listen in to a radio station.

woman using computer on airplane

Depending on what you do while surfing at 33,000 feet, you may have just given up your email address and password, bank account information, credit card numbers and Facebook user ID with access to lots of personal information and photos.

The bottom line: Every public WiFi connection is an open door to your computer. If you log on with a user name and password, then you're exposing personal information you really do not want divulged.

What can you do to protect yourself? You can always go old-school and never connect your laptop to the airline's WiFi. But that can be inconvenient and even hurt your business if you need to get work done. Not to mention boring.

The more sensible option is to get your own virtual private network or VPN. Before you scoff, saying there is no way you could afford that, know this: You can try AOL's PRIVATE WiFi free for 30 days, and if you like it, then pay only $9.99 a month.

How does it work? With the same proven encryption technology used by banks and government agencies, PRIVATE WiFi helps protects your identity and sensitive information by encrypting everything you send and receive on your laptop while using a public WiFi hotspot--from planes to trains to coffee shops.

PRIVATE WiFi installs in minutes and takes seconds to connect you to a secure encryption server so you can browse the Internet securely from any public hotspot. It runs invisibly in the background, but you know it is working because you'll see a small icon in the system tray on a PC or the menu bar on a Mac.

Hackers can't steal what hackers can't see. PRIVATE WiFi really is the safer way to do everything online while you're on the go.

Now about that nosy seatmate? Smile sweetly and say, "Do you mind?"