About a year ago, I wrote about a Firefox extension called Firesheep that allowed anyone to easily hijack insecure HTTP sessions. Anyone connecting to public Wi-Fi at a coffeeshop, library, or airport could have their personal information, email, social networks, and banking credentials easily compromised by even the most non-technical hackers using this very simple, and effective tool.
To protect yourself when surfing the web on an insecure wireless connection, you probably read that using a VPN was your best bet. That still holds true today, however, VPN’s are not the easiest things to setup and require an expensive monthly fee for usage.
How Cloak Works
Before I continue, let’s examine some of the technical aspects of how Cloak works. Cloak is like any other VPN service. That is, it encrypts your Internet connection through their secure network servers, preventing any opportunistic hacker from intercepting and reading your personal data.
Cloak is built using OpenVPN, which is an open-source SSL/TLS VPN implementation. Furthermore, rather than rely on the use of a single cloud service provider, Cloak’s VPN servers are housed from multiple providers including AWS, Rackspace, and Linode. This strategy allows Cloak’s developers to reliably ensure that their servers are always up.
Similarly, the use of multiple servers means that they are housed in a greater number of geographic locations. Just like with CDN’s, this results in optimal performance with minimal slowdown on the users’ end.
If you’re looking for even more technical details behind Cloak, the developers have written a comprehensive guide here.
One of the best ways to describe how Cloak works is that does most of the heavy-lifting for you. No need for you to manually update settings, monitor your network connections, or deal with confusing jargon. It’s as easy as clicking “connect” in the status menu bar.
A nifty feature in Cloak is that it can automatically detect insecure networks, which activates itself. For instance, if you are using a password-less network, Cloak would turn itself on without your effort.
How to Get Cloak Now
Cloak is still currently under development, sporting the beta tag. The app is available for both the Mac and iOS platforms.
So, is this gonna cost me an arm and a leg? Cloak offers a free plan which offers up to 1GB of data or 2 hours of usage per month, whichever comes first. This would probably be sufficient for most users, especially if you access public Wi-Fi on rare occasions.
For increased usage, Cloak offers two paid plans without any time limits: an $8/month plan for 20 GB of data and a $15/month plan for 50 GB of data.
Conclusion: Download Cloak NOW!
I probably won’t subscribe to a paid plan since I tend to avoid public Wi-Fi whenever possible. But for those rare occasions when I’m at an airport or Starbucks, I know I’ll want Cloak at my side.
Check out Cloak for Mac and iOS