Protection, Privacy and Playoffs

I'm not generally a privacy nut when it comes to my digital life. That's not really a good thing, as I think privacy is important, but it often can be very inconvenient. For example, if you strolled into my home office, you'd find I don't password-protect my screensaver. Again, it's not because I want to invite snoops, but rather it's just a pain to type in my password every time I come back from going to get a cup of tea. (Note: when I worked in a traditional office environment, I did lock my screen. I'm sure working from a home office is why I'm comfortable with lax security.)

Somewhere I don't like to slack off on security is when I'm out and about, especially on someone else's network. Make that a public Wi-Fi network, and my paranoia level skyrockets. I always have a VPN set up at home so I can connect remotely, but sometimes my home bandwidth is just too slow for comfortable remote use. Recently I paid $39.95 for a year subscription to http://www.privateinternetaccess.com, and I couldn't be any happier with my decision.

PIA offers PPTP, OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec and the ability to connect up to five devices at the same time. That means I can protect my network (I don't really trust Charter) and connect my laptop while on the road. PIA offers unlimited bandwidth, it doesn't log traffic, and even the account purchasing is anonymous. You can buy your subscription with a Starbucks gift card if you want!

One of my favorite features, however, is that with the option of multiple VPN gateway locations, you can mask your traffic to get around blackout restrictions. For me, that means I can watch Tigers baseball games normally unavailable to me in the MLB app by routing my traffic through the West coast. The $40 price tag seemed pretty steep at first, but with the amount of use I've gotten out of PIA, I'll be signing up again next year without question. You get a seven-day money-back guarantee, so there's no reason not to try it. Visit http://www.privateinternetaccess.com for more details!

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Shawn Powers is a Linux Journal Associate Editor. You might find him on IRC, Twitter, or training IT pros at CBT Nuggets.