There are lots of free Wi-Fi hotspots you can use when you are out of the office or home, but which ones are safe and secure? Avast has two free apps for the iPhone that show where Wi-Fi hotspots are located and then secures them.
Avast Wi-Fi Finder
This free app for the iPhone enables you to find Wi-Fi hotspots. There is a Map view that shows the hotspots as icons on a map that you can scroll around and explore. Zoom out and icons on the map show the number of hotspots in the town or city, but zoom in and you can see individual ones and the street locations.
You can view the immediate area around you and see the hotspots that are within walking distance or you can use the app to check ahead wherever you are travelling to today. You could use it to plan the hotspot to use while visiting an area. A Wi-Fi view shows the hotspot you are currently connected to, hotspots nearby and the distance to them.
Select a Wi-Fi hotspot on the map and you can pull up an information panel that shows the name, whether it is safe and secure, the speed and the rating. If the hotspot is unsafe, it tells you why.
The main limitation with the app is that it has little information on many of the hotspots in my area. It looks like the hotspot data is crowd sourced, so if someone uses one, it probably goes into the database for everyone to see.
The app needs more users in order to build more information on more hotspots. It is still useful because it shows the locations of hotspots, even if it doesn’t yet have detailed information on them.
That’s about it. Avast Wi-Fi Finder just shows hotspots around you. However, there is a button to call up SecureMe, which is a stand-alone app, but the two work together.
SecureMe is another very simple app from Avast and this one enable you to scan the Wi-Fi network that you are currently connected to for security problems. It takes just a few seconds to carry out and if any issues are found, there is a button to show them. For example, there could be problems with web browsing security and internet connection security.
There is a large SecureMe button and when this is pressed it connects you to Avast’s VPN – virtual private network. This is an encrypted internet connection that makes it impossible for anyone to eavesdrop on your internet activity, see what you are doing, or what sites and services you connect to. It also hides your IP address and location. You are anonymous.
This is useful when you are out of the office or away from home and you want to use public Wi-Fi hotspots. Without the SecureMe VPN it would be possible for someone to spy on you, but once connected to the VPN then your activities are secure and private.
Unlike most VPNs, you cannot choose which VPN server to connect to. The idea is to simply secure your connection, not to pretend you are in a different country. It works and it is free.
These two apps are useful, but not quite perfect. Wi-Fi Finder needs to build up its hotspot information and SecureMe requires you to manually start the VPN. You might forget and there is also a time between connecting to a hotspot and when you activate SecureMe where you are vulnerable. This is not a flaw, just a limitation of the free app and Avast has a paid VPN that has all the features you expect from a VPN - SecureLine VPN.
Both apps are recommended for your iPhone.
|Title: Avast Wi-Fi Finder
Size: 14 MB
Verdict: A useful for finding hotspots
|Title: Avast SecureMe
Size: 28.6 MB
Verdict: Simple, effective, free VPN
- Written by Roland Waddilove
- Published: 02 March 2016