Helpware: Safe surfing in China
Nov 28, 2012 (McClatchy-Tribune News Service - McClatchy-Tribune News Service via COMTEX) --
If you live in China or anywhere where a government- or corporate-built firewall prevents you from surfing the Internet freely, there's good news. Hotspot Shield, a free program for Windows and Macintosh computers (including those running Windows 8 and Mountain Lion) will let you bypass firewalls, and so much more.
When you engage Hotspot Shield, whether you're in China or just at work, it redirects your IP address to a server in, for example, San Jose, Calif., making your surfing anonymous. Every PC has a unique IP address, which means hackers can pinpoint your PC in order to cast their evil spell. With Hotspot Shield you are anonymous, which means the thugs in China can't find you. More to the point, if you are at work, and your oppressive bosses have restricted your use of social networks, Hotspot Shield will let you Twitter 'til the cows come home, as they are wont to do.
If you are in a public place, such as a coffee house where Wi-Fi is free, you are vulnerable to hackers, big time. That scurrilous rogue sitting across from you might be trying to steal your identity. With Hotspot Shield, he doesn't have a chance. You might want to shout out that there is a hacker in the room, and that there is a way to thwart him, short of pummeling him about the neck and shoulders.
Then there is the constant threat of malware _ not so big a deal if you're using a Mac, which hackers don't much care about. Malware is an appropriate name for malicious software that allows hackers to take control of your PC. You don't want that to happen; Hotspot Shield makes sure it doesn't by blocking sites that look innocent enough, but are decoys for downloading malware.
Best of all, Hotspot Shield encrypts, or jumbles, your Internet experience by adding a secure way to surf. That's especially useful if you take advantage of shopping on the Internet or visiting your bank's website. Passwords are garbled, as far as a hacker can tell. Your identity is not vulnerable to theft. That's huge, since once a thief steals your identity, your life is pretty much ruined for the months or years it takes to set things right. When your identity is stolen, nefarious jerks are opening credit card accounts in your name and spending as if every day were Black Friday. Hotspot Shield doesn't let that happen.
Setting up the program is as simple as downloading it (www.hotspotshield.com) and clicking on the "install" button. The free version has lots of ads. A $30 paid version gets rid of the ads and has more features to fight malware along with free tech support.
Anything you can do to frustrate hackers is worth the effort of downloading and installing Hotspot Shield. And if you live in China, you can now surf the Internet freely. Take that, Chairman Mao.
(C)2012 McClatchy-Tribune Information Services
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