Planning on traveling soon, what programs should I have to be secure when using public WiFi?

Discussion in 'Networking' started by OursIsTheFury, May 6, 2016.

  1. OursIsTheFury


    Apr 23, 2016
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    Hello there. I'm planning on backpacking through Europe, and I am bringing a laptop with me because I work online. This will be the first time I will be using both a laptop and public WiFi, so I have some concerns about internet safety and privacy when using these WiFi hotspots. Can you recommend any programs that I have to install first before accessing any public internet connection to secure my privacy while browsing?
    OursIsTheFury, May 6, 2016
    IBMPC8088 likes this.
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  2. OursIsTheFury


    Feb 1, 2016
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    Virtualbox. If you're traveling around and you have wifi, I would honestly just piggy-back your wifi through a bridged connection to the access point, and use a Live CD so that if there is anything that isn't above-board of the network you're connecting to to interact with, it won't be able to access any files or documents through an unauthorized network share. You'll be able to use a hardened OS even if it tries that is more than the usual system, and it won't save any passwords or other information to disk so that keyloggers or anything else won't be possible during that specific session if you stop while on the road to connect to a public wi-fi somewhere. Just make sure that if you do this, you don't use your host system.

    Better yet, if you can temporarily configure your software firewall to only allow access to virtualbox and then use it that way, you can. Best case scenario would be to just boot your machine from a live-CD, have it recognize your wifi card, and then use that exclusively even from the host system.

    There is a 2% or less chance that it can access the hard drive (less than that if you use a linux or BSD live CD instead of a windows one; Tails is a good choice), but I would probably do that if you have the option to via a usb bootable flash drive or a bootable CD/DVD.

    Best of all is if you can use a host system without touching the hard drive through a Live CD or Live USB session.

    If you need to make a bootable flash drive with a version of linux like this quickly, you can grab a copy of Unetbootin for Windows or Linux to make a bootable flash usb that you can use for this anytime, anywhere you need to.

    You can make a linux live usb from Windows without doing anything differently to your machine. It's just a program that configures and can even download an entire distro for you and image it to the usb drive without affecting anything on your regular machine.

    I would just get an empty flash drive, use UNetBootIn before you go, and then carry that with you to use on your private machine or anywhere you travel to where you need a private system and need to make sure it doesn't leave traces or have any notable security risks while you use it on the road.

    You can actually mix these two and use a live USB linux or other operating system session through a virtual machine just for another added layer of protection while restricting the firewall, but depending on what and how you're doing it, you may have best results just using the live CD or live USB through your host system and booting off of it. If for any reason you can't or the BIOS isn't letting you, then doing it through the virtual machine is the next best thing. By the way, if you're using a virtual machine, you don't really even have to use the live USB or Live CD creation program above. You can just create a virtual machine and then tell it to use an ISO file for the version of a live CD of linux or something else that you downoad as the virtual CD drive in its place.

    You can use several choices like Tails or Lubuntu or even Puppy Linux if you like. Any of these are good as a live CD to do things online or while on the road without leaving traces.
    Last edited: May 7, 2016
    IBMPC8088, May 7, 2016
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