Secure connection for tablet PC

OK.  Way behind the times here I know but I'm thinking of buying a tablet PC as a gift.  My concern is being able to have a secure connection on the go because the only real purpose for getting this thing would be for the recipient to be able to log into his bank account, brokerage accounts, retailer websites, etc and perform transactions while away from home.

I've heard that free wifi hot spots are dangerous because the connections are not secure.  What about cellular services like Tracfone?   Are connections through their services secure (assuming a tablet PC can be used with their services since it's not actually a cell phone)?

Trying to figure out how to connect safely... either while traveling somewhere or at some destination.

Thank you.
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There is no such a dangerous free wifi or hotspot but naive and illiterate people. Take like this, using a bus or metro is very dangerous because I heard that someone was robbed there. You have to learn how to make a difference between secure and unprotected web site. You can get a link to the site that looks identical to your bank website, but you have to know how to make a difference between web addresses. You can be cheated and robed in many ways, and that can happen to any of us.
Back to your question, if you are a concern using someone else network never join other networks. Always use your phone as a hotspot with password protection when you are outside, or you are travelling, and be ready to pay extra dollars for extra security.
btanExec ConsultantCommented:
It is alright as a gift but you cannot give security as it is mainly a user diligence. The phone provided the WIFI connectivity and is able to automatically connect to those WIFI joined previously.

However, the devil is in the details. The free WIFI hotspot is either insecure (without any password) or Poorly secured (using simple and publicly known password or using weak ciphers like WEP/TKIP, WPA). Besides this, there is possibility of faked hotspots trying to spoof that WIFI which you will automatically connect assuming it has a stronger signal. You cannot prevent those existence so best is not connect to these hotspots.

Adversary will be sitting in the middle and listening to the insecure traffic exchanges. Although website may be secured (HTTPS), your traffic is still being watched over. So better to use your mobile data to get into Internet. Some may also consider use of VPN or TOR which give anonymity and some privacy.

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Shaun VermaakTechnical SpecialistCommented:
I've heard that free wifi hot spots are dangerous because the connections are not secure
The WiFi Pineapple is a commercial example of such an exploit. Any data that is not secured in transit will be captured.
To prevent this, always use a trusted VPN
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dbfromnewjerseyAuthor Commented:
So these people that are using their tablets to perform, say, bank transactions while away from home are using VPN's?
Rob KnightConsultantCommented:

Consider tethering the tablet via your smartphone - this avoids using hotel Wi-Fi/hotspots?

The banking portal should be using a secure connection anyway and many use a token or additional code sent to your phone to prevent someone stealing credentials and logging in with them.

The other option is to use a VPN - the best solutions will automatically start and connect without user intervention - when in a hotel/hotspot, these will wait for any code to be entered to 'unlock' access or where accepting a usage policy is needed.

btanExec ConsultantCommented:
For remote access like away from home VPN setup is make available and also authentication will be 2FA to check for high identity assurance checks. To reduce the exposure of WIFI faked AP man in the middle attack, VPN should be turn on immediately after connecting to the WIFI SSID. Avoid also captive portal which is a website that prompt you to enter credenital of room no, to start using internet. The portal may be faked as well - you do not know who is behind these portal.. In fact, the mobile device is supposed to be managed by a mobile device mgmt (MDM) to have policy enforced on the device hygiene which include restricting application access to other apps data within the same device ...
VPN is an ideal method when you're on a network that you cannot trust (namely public networks). If you're on a more trustworthy network (i.e. your home network), a VPN still doesn't hurt, but you're less prone to some of the risks that you would be on a public network (this assumes that the home network is properly secured). When on travel, using your own hotspot is a much safer bet than using the public wireless (others have already mentioned this).

Another key thing is to make sure that the tablet itself is secured with passwords and tracking. Additionally, whenever possible secure sensitive accounts with options like multifactor authentication as previously suggested.
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