How to Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi

If you’ve ever wondered whether Wi-Fi is safe, I’ve got a short, concise answer for you: no, it isn’t! But if you really want to make use of free wireless at McDonald’s or anywhere else in the world, there are some things that you should know.

First of all, don’t use free Internet access to do things you care about. If you check your email, for example, your password could fall into other people’s hands. This means that they will get access to all your private emails, and they may even change the account password to lock you out for good. And if you think that this is science fiction, think again: this very thing happened to one of my friends a while ago, and he was asked to pay quite a bit of money to regain access to his email account.

So go ahead and use all the free hotspots in the world if you want to, but only do that to read news on sites that don’t require logins, for example. Yes, you can watch that cat video on YouTube, as long as you don’t log into your YouTube account.

But those likes and shares are going to have to wait until you return home, to a (hopefully) much safer Wi-Fi network.

Then, it is crucial to stay away from fake networks, which are set up by hackers with the sole purpose of getting access to your confidential information. Not all the “Free McDonald’s Wi-Fi” networks are set up by McDonald’s, for example. Hackers will set up fake Wi-Fi hotspots which look just like the real ones, but have an extra, unwanted “feature”: are able to capture all your data, including the typed in user/password combinations.

Believe it or not, your device may share a lot of data even while you’re browsing a regular news site. Lots of apps send data to their makers, and this data can be sold for money.

If you use a laptop to connect to a free Wi-Fi hotspot, be sure to disable sharing before doing that. In fact, you should never share any file on your laptop over a network. There are several online collaboration tools (Dropbox, for example) that can do the same thing and won’t pose any security risks to your devices.

If you really need to access sensitive sites by making use of free Internet, you should install a VPN. It’s the acronym for “Virtual Private Network”, and it’s a software application that will create an encrypted tunnel between you and the target site. Even with VPNs, you should limit your activity to accessing HTTPS sites, which provide an extra layer of security. Don’t forget that even VPNs can be broken into, though.

Still, if you really have to work on your laptop, it’s easier and much safer to utilize your phone as a hotspot. Your connection will be much more secure this way. Most smartphones are able to tether their Internet connection, creating a private Wi-Fi network and making it available to other devices. Some advanced techies even use a portable router/sma antenna combo to boost signal strength. With this approach, you are getting the best of both worlds: speed and security. There is a drawback, though: mobile data plans aren’t very cheap yet. Still, I’d always pay an extra $10, rather than compromise my precious data.

High Tech Gadgets Your Dogs Will Fall in Love With

Recent pet statistics show that Americans own about 75 million dogs and 90 million cats. And with so many pets in our houses, it’s not a surprise that lots of companies constantly create various gadgets with the goal of improving the pets’ quality of life.

iFetch lets your dog play a game of fetch without requiring your active presence. The first version was launched in 2013, and now you can purchase one of the three available models: iFetch, iFetch Too and iFetch Frenzy.

It’s true that iFetch and iFetch Frenzy still require the presence of the owner, because some dogs may risk choking with the ball. Still, iFetch Too throws a larger ball,  so it can be used anywhere you want to – even indoors! The gadget is powered by an AC adapter, but it also includes a rechargeable battery.

SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder is another gadget that will improve your pet’s life quality. The device was launched by SureFlap and it helps dog owners feed them properly, by giving them the right amounts of food.

If you were ever scared that Max would starve while you are at work, this is the gadget to buy. With the Surefeed Microchip Pet Feeder, your dog will never overeat or starve. The gadget has also proved to be of great help for pets that were recovering and needed special attention with their diets. It can store up to 32 different identities, so it can be used for up to 32 different animals.

CleverPet is a gadget that can not only entertain your pet, but also… (drumroll) … stimulate its intellect! Just fill it up with your dog’s favorite treats, and then challenge it to do some things. CleverPet has three light buttons that the pet should press to get the treat and comes with an app that lets you control the difficulty of the challenges.

Furbo is destined for pets that suffer from separation anxiety. It’s a 3 in 1 gadget that includes a camera, a communicator and a treat dispenser. It can connect to your Wi-Fi network, and then it can be accessed by the pet’s owners even while they are away from home.  This way, the owner can see the pet, talk to it and even give it a treat.

If you’ve ever lost your pet – even for a few minutes! – you know that it can be a devastating experience. But there’s a new gadget in town that can help you with that! Smart Pet Tag can be attached to your pet’s collar, and then it can connect to the Pet Widget app. The owner can then see where his/her beloved animal is anytime.

The gadget is especially useful for dogs, which are often times allowed to run free, so they can easily get lost. The ID tag also includes your profile data; this way, if someone finds your pet, he or she can scan the tag using a standard smartphone and get in contact with you. The good news is that once you’ve purchased the tag, you won’t ever need to pay a monthly subscription fee.