If you’re reading this, no doubt that like me you’ve found yourself in a dire situation where you HAD to connect your laptop to the interweb. Something exploded in the office, your boss had to have something 5 minutes ago – you know that thing you’ve already sent them – or perhaps it was finally time to check-in for your Southwest flight and you didn’t pony up the $15 for early check-in.
So there I am in a Starbucks and the only wifi available is the free wifi sponsored by AT&T. Queue disgust and aversion. I feel like they should hand out those toilet cover sheets when you get onto a Free Wifi, because you have no idea what is waiting for you when you connect. And moreover, who might still be on the network that is just licking their lips waiting for you to jump on.
Free internet is an unseemly way to connect that leaves you exposed to others who know how to snoop on your traffic. Because of these dangers, the FTC has gone so far as to publish its own tips for Using Public Wi-Fi. This also explains the recent spate of Private VPN services available to the business traveller, and the self-employed who count Starbucks as their conference room. In fact, I just shared a breakdown of the top VPN services with a friend yesterday from PcMag – Best VPN Services of 2017.
Now at this point in the infomercial the announcer proclaims you too can get a VPN service for $19.99/mo, so you would be correct in feeling like this might be leading to a sales pitch. But, on June 19th the group that brought us encrypted email
is now providing a quality VPN service that starts at FREE!
Proton Technologies is committed to safe and private internet. Their website proclaims:
“Our goal is to build an internet that respects privacy and is secure against cyberattacks.”
The scientists and engineers behind ProtonMail and ProtonVPN started together at CERN, and they represent the most prestigious universities. On the information page for ProtonVPN they explain some of the ways that this new offering improves upon some of the well-known vulnerabilities in VPN. If you’re still amazed that this is coming to you for free, rub your eyes but you can rest assured that the power of open source is alive and kicking.
The entry level provides service for one device at a time, and it does limit the connection speed. I promptly signed up for the intro and have used it from home. I found the connection speed to be sufficient for basic work (Outlook, etc.) and light surfing – very light. Going to NYTimes.com I measured download speeds of KB/s through a US server. This compares with my phone on AT&T LTE where downloads are at speeds of MB/s.
Given this speed, power users with multiple devices may be inclined to purchase the higher packages. Fortunately, even those more expensive subscriptions are still economical. Find out more on their pricing page. For myself, I plan on utilizing this free plan for some time.
So, let’s summarize – If you work on the go and find yourself using open networks (coffee shops, hotels, airports, etc), STOP and download this, or any other VPN service.
Let us put your name in lights!