Frequently mooching computers on the road (or fiddling at the office)? SurfEasy may help clean up your tracks

Public computers have not been eliminated by mobile phones and tablets. For all the things mobile devices do well, there are still plenty of tasks best suited to full computers. Carrying a laptop is no fun but using public computers is asking for trouble. A little identify theft with your email scuppers trips fast.

SurfEasy vows ‘plug-in privacy’ by Edward C. Baig in USA Today examines the SurfEasy USB. When plugged into a computer, SurfEasy launches a password-protected browser and VPN connection that claims to provide secure browsing and leave no traces behind. For convenience, it provides access to your history, bookmarks and password. The browser is Firefox based.

At $59.99 for the USB which includes 2 GB/month of browsing, it is not a no-brainer purchase. Heavy users of more than 2 GB/month further need to pony up for monthly$5/ 25 GB or $10/75 GB plans.

Those who frequently use public computers, be they in truly public settings or at frequently visited friends or relatives’ homes may get good value. Also, international travelers who do not have an employer to absorb mobile roaming fees can find themselves using public computers much more than in their home country.

The big limitation is that the device only protects activity within its browser, not anything done elsewhere in the computer.

When The Rapid Traveler was more frequently traveling countries with limited wi-fi he would have made good use of this. Anytime he used a regular USB at a public computer in the former Soviet Republics he had to torch it to prevent contagion.

Oh, and Mr Baig claims it a ‘con’ that, “It can potentially let you access off-limit sites.” Office cubicle jockeys, rejoice!

Rapid Travel Chai newsletter ¦ Twitter ¦ Facebook ¦ Instagram

  • Rob

    It would be very easy to roll your own version of this. You can install firefox on a flash drive and it doesn’t do anything to the actual computer. Then just use your VPN from work.

  • xp0

    Yeah and also keep in mind this does not protect you from keyloggers.

    You can use websites like logmein.com to securely connect to your PC at home and then do all of your browsering/searches/banking/etc from your home PC as well.

    Obviously always make sure to never save a password, clear all of your internet cookies/cache when done and I also always reboot the PC as well.

    Cool little app though. I wish I thought of something that was so easy and charge that much for.