A funny thing happened on the way to Boston: the CNET office disappeared. Our Cambridge office is moving to a new location, so when I arrived on the East Coast for a short stay, I found myself without a cube to call home. More importantly, I couldn't work from a computer already inside the CNET firewall, which left me with two choices: use a VPN client, or use a remote access program.
I haven't encountered a single VPN client review without some degree of legitimate complaint, and my own experience with them has left much to be desired. … Read more
There are a lot of notable remote access programs out there, but Remobo is one of the few that's free. It's also an early beta, so I expected to encounter a lot of bugs. And so: there were. But overall, Remobo was surprisingly stable and reasonably effective at allowing remote access both to a secondary computer that I controlled and a friend's machine.
Here's a quick rundown of what Remobo can do. It allows users to create multiple accounts under one user name, so that they can access a secondary or tertiary machine from afar. It … Read more
On Tuesday, Check Point Software Technologies announced support for the Apple iPhone through its Virtual Private Networking (VPN) software tool VPN-1.
Using the iPhone's embedded Layer 2 Transport Protocol (L2TP) client, VPN-1 is able to provide secure, encrypted access for iPhone users communicating with enterprises currently running Check Point's VPN-1 gateway.
In Ed Foster's The Worst Vendor Poll back in January, Comcast beat out 23 other companies and was voted the second worst company, just behind Microsoft. After my first dealings with Comcast cable Internet access, I can confirm the opinions of those voters. While installing new service in an apartment, the Comcast guy screwed up my VPN.
Things started out on the wrong foot, the installer called ahead to his next appointment to say he'd be there in a few minutes before we were done. He had done the physical hooking up, but hadn't yet verified the … Read more
Defensively speaking, anyone using a public WiFi hotspot should employ Virtual Private Network (VPN) software to encrypt all traffic/data traveling over the airwaves. Less obviously dangerous, but equally snoopable, are wired Ethernet connections to the Internet in hotel rooms. I wrote about the dangers in hotels last month, see Defending against insecure hotel networks with a VPN.
If you work for a large company, you may already be using VPN software to make an encrypted connection to the home office. Many of you however, need it and don't use it.
Yesterday I briefly described the VPN services, and … Read more
Last month I wrote about using a rented VPN (Virtual Private Network) service to provide encryption for everything you do on the Internet (see Defending against insecure hotel networks with a VPN). The need for a VPN on a wireless WiFi network is pretty obvious, but, as I wrote, it is equally important for anyone who travels, as there are a number of ways to be spied on when you use a wired connection in a hotel room. I mentioned two companies that rent VPN service, Witopia and HotSpotVPN.
A reader left an interesting follow-up comment:
"I like the … Read more
My point last month, when I wrote that Ethernet connections in a hotel room are not secure, was that wired Internet connections in a hotel are no more secure than wireless connections. The issue I described involved a technically savvy guest, reconfiguring the network to place their computer logically between you and the outside world. Thus positioned, they might as well be watching over your shoulder.
A few days ago Leo Notenboom cited two additional reasons why wired hotel connections can't be trusted: hotel employees can snoop and, if the rooms are connected with a hub, even a nontechie … Read more
I could write a whole blog about correcting computer articles in newspapers, pointing out mistakes and omissions. Many times I have corrected and expanded on articles in the Wall Street Journal by Walter Mossberg, but I've also griped about mistakes in the other newspaper I read regularly, my hometown New York Times. Back in May, on my previous blog, my comments on an article that David Pogue wrote in the Times about data cartridges for backing up computer files prompted a surprising rebuttal from Mr. Pogue.
Beats me why major newspapers don't hire computer techies to write about … Read more