Huffington Post Recommends Personal VPN to Encrypt All Online Activity, Personal Security


As an in-depth Huffington Post article points out, it’s no wonder celebrities are often victimized by hackers. The reality is, it’s just not that hard to hack celebrities — or anyone else, for that matter.

Indeed, among the five security tips shared in the article, two are suggestions that this website has repeatedly recommended and warned about over the years. For example tip #4 warns about the dangers inherent in wireless networks and tip #5 warns about malicious spyware that can infect your computer and compromise security:

#4 — WiFi Spies — Movie stars do a lot of traveling, and while they’re roaming about they’re often connecting their phones to open WiFi networks — whether it’s at the airport, hotel or Starbucks. This puts them at greater risk of being hacked. Using public WiFi puts all of your online accounts, Internet searches, emails and usernames/passwords out in the open where they can be read, copied and hacked by any person with moderate computer skills. In fact, there are special tools available online that do this.

TIPS — Don’t use public WiFi. Stick with 3G or 4G service, as it’s harder to hack. If you must use a public wireless network, only use websites or apps from your phone that offer encryption (‘https’ in the address bar) and don’t save your passwords in a cache. Even better, setup a virtual private network (VPN) that will encrypt your online activity no matter where you are.

#5 — Spyware — Stars who spend a lot of time using open WiFi and chatting with friends or followers on social networks and clicking on shared links are also at risk of spyware. Spyware is malicious software that can infect your phone in order to record the things you type — like usernames and passwords — and it can also be used to steal items from your phone, like photos, contacts, and banking data. “FakeToken” is one example of spyware that is currently being found on some Android phones. There’s a good chance some celebrity phones have been infected by spyware.

TIPS — Don’t use public WiFi. Don’t click on suspicious links, whether they’re in email, text messages or tweets.

It’s refreshing to see Tip #4 mention the use of personal VPNs as the safer solution for encrypting sensitive personal information (“even better, setup a virtual private network that will encrypt your online activity no matter where you are”).

In fact, the HuffPo is joining the ranks of several other notable and reputable organizations by making this suggestion: the Wi-Fi Alliance, The New York Times, and many others have endorsed VPN technology when transmitting sensitive data over public WiFi networks.


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Elaine Rigoli

Elaine Rigoli is PRIVATE WiFi's manager of digital content strategy.