On Tuesday, Symantec introduced Norton Hotspot Privacy (opens in new tab), a new service in North America and the UK that helps protect consumers and their private info as they connect to public Wi-Fi networks.
Symantec's new service arrives as consumers increasingly take their laptops, tablets and smartphones to McDonald's, Starbucks, airports, and even the local park to access the Internet through an open public access point or guest access. The firm says that while 53-percent of online adults who use free or unsecured Wi-Fi have concerns about the security of those services, many are still putting sensitive or financial information at risk.
"Two-thirds of online adults use free or unsecured Wi-Fi networks, from coffee shops to airports and public parks," Symantec said. "But along with the convenience come risks of exposing sensitive information to cybercriminals. Norton Hotspot Privacy enables users to become ‘invisible’ on the network and also encrypts their username, password and other confidential information they may be entering online."
Symantec's new service creates a secure, private connection that cannot be seen by eavesdropping software. It makes the user "invisible" on public networks so that no one can track or monitor their online activities. The new service protects the user’s entire Wi-Fi session when surfing the Web, encrypting the connection, so usernames, passwords, credit card numbers and other confidential information remain safe.
Symantec said users can can sign into the Norton Hotspot Privacy Web portal, download the client, and the VPN will automatically configure to create a private connection. It provides unlimited bandwidth on up to five devices, including Mac and Microsoft Windows PCs.
"Increasingly, public Wi-Fi is a part of everyday life, providing people with a convenient way to connect on the go," said Dave Cole, vice president, product management, Consumer Business Unit, Symantec Corporation. "With Norton Hotspot Privacy, consumers are able to take advantage of the convenience of public Wi-Fi, with the confidence of knowing their information is secure and their online activities remain private."
Naturally Symantec isn't offering this kind of protection for free: a 1-year pass is $49.99 USD, a 1-month pass is $19.99 USD, and a 1-day pass is $2.99 USD. For more information about Norton Hotspot Privacy, head here (opens in new tab).