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F-Secure’s Freedome VPN: Setup so easy your grandma can be invisible and untrackable

Dec 24, 20145 mins
Data and Information SecurityMicrosoftSecurity

It takes one tap to setup F-Secure's mobile VPN app, Freedome; it's so simple your granny can be invisible and untrackable in about a minute. Security is also rolled into an app that protects your online privacy.

If you care about digital privacy and security, then you know a VPN is the way to go. Although there are many mobile VPN options, F-Secure’s Freedome VPN is so easy to setup your great-grandma or a kindergartener could do it. Turn it on by tapping on the center of the screen; you get a prompt to trust this application and then protection is on. It’s really just that simple; you are up and running the VPN that makes you “invisible” and “untrackable.”

F-Secure encrypts your traffic, has no backdoors, does not log, share or sell your data. There’s a little key icon in the upper left of the notification bar when the Freedome VPN is on and protecting your device. Automatic location defaults to a server that is closest to you. If you tap on location, it opens a globe so you can set a virtual location and your device will have an IP address in whatever country you select.

From there, you can touch any of the circular rings that F-Secure calls “layers” indicating protection: traffic protected, sites blocked, tracking attempts blocked and how many apps are secured. Those options are there because F-Secure rolls security into its VPN app, including an always-on free antivirus that scans your device for malware, spyware and other harmful apps. If you already have app security, then swipe down on app security and toggle it to off. The same goes for tracking protection, browsing protection and connection protection.

The tracking protection quickly adds up as you see how many sites try to track you. For me, there was no slowdown when running the VPN over Wi-Fi or 4G. The only issue I experienced when leaving it on for an extended period was a hit to battery life.

If you aren’t convinced why a VPN is important, then F-Secure threat analyst David Perry told me:

Anyone who uses public Wi-Fi is at risk. In general terms to the end user, if you didn’t enter a password to get on a public Wi-Fi, then your computer is wide open to even the most amateur of hacker. There is plenty of evidence that hackers and hacker wanna-be’s (let’s call them script kiddies, it’s traditional after all) are doing exactly that, and by a number of methods.

They can just listen in on internet traffic, a practice called sniffing. They can download the tools to do this off the internet for free. They could of course set themselves up to look like your local Starbucks or McDonalds, your public library or public park or school cafeteria, a process called EVIL TWIN (also very prevalent everywhere), or if they are a little more sophisticated, they could have just infiltrated the Wi-Fi server at said public place and corrupt it to do their snooping for them.

What are they after? Well the usual obviously, your passwords and credit card numbers and name and address and so on, but they might be after something more, well, personal. The pros just want money, but amateurs might get a kick out of your personal email and or personal photos. Especially if those photos are, well, personal.

This is an endemic threat. Everyone will tell you that what you need is a VPN. That’s a good start. You will also need to block malware from your mobile device, and stay away from known malicious or corrupted websites. This is done by heuristics and by a reputation service analysis of the websites in question. You will want to keep information on all the tracking attempts made on you, to “keep score” so to speak. That way you can tell if your favorite shopping site or travel site or social network is trying to track you and how often they try. (Get ready for this to pile up into the thousands in a surprisingly brief time.) You need to be able to turn it on or off easily. (Some things just won’t let you run privately, HULU, for example).

Another surprising benefit is when a big shopping site can’t track you anymore and then “you might suddenly get a better price,” Perry added. “You might be able to appear to come from some other country and watch, for example, BBC television online.”

Freedome is free for 7 days. There’s no ads; there’s unlimited bandwidth. One subscription covers all your Android devices with the same Google Play user account. This VPN has a 4.3 rating on Google Play and 4+ on iTunes. F-Secure respects your privacy and the company is based in Finland, a country that also gets high marks for personal privacy. If you like it after 7 free days, then it’s either $4.99 per month or $29.99 per year.

Whether it’s this VNP app or another, please do something nice for yourself by protecting your online privacy.

ms smith

Ms. Smith (not her real name) is a freelance writer and programmer with a special and somewhat personal interest in IT privacy and security issues. She focuses on the unique challenges of maintaining privacy and security, both for individuals and enterprises. She has worked as a journalist and has also penned many technical papers and guides covering various technologies. Smith is herself a self-described privacy and security freak.