By PAOLA SINGER
Solution: Hackers can easily monitor a public Wi-Fi connection, which means using a hot spot can be unsafe. Even wired connections in hotel rooms may be vulnerable.
To protect your laptop's data, subscribe to a service that encrypts the information sent over the Internet by creating a virtual private network, or VPN. HS Shield is a free download that employs VPN technology to prevent others from viewing email, instant messages or credit-card information. The ad-supported service works with Windows and Mac computers. With Publicvpn.com, you can create a safe "tunnel" between a computer and the site's server. There's nothing to download; the service is set up through your built-in network connections interface (Windows or Mac), using a password.
HotSpotVPN (hotspotvpn.com) It supports Windows and Mac PCs, as well as iPhones and other mobile devices.
Caveat: HotSpotvpn, HotSpot Shield and Publicvpn work with both wired and wireless Internet connections. But other VPN services may work only with wireless.