Easter Holidays

Grenfell Internet Centre will be closed over the Easter/School Holidays.

We will close:
4:30pm, Friday 8th April
and reopen:
9:30am, Tuesday 26th April

“Egg hunts are proof that your children can find things when they really want.” – Unknown

Do I need a VPN?

A VPN or Virtual Private Network is traditionally used to allowed remote staff to make a secure connection back to their workplace servers. This allows a device in your home to act as though it is physically located in the workplace. This give you access to local files, servers, and the protections of the workplace network.

When you hear about a VPN these days it is normally focused on privacy. VPN providers allow you to connect back to their servers so instead of your traffic appearing to come from your home connection, it appears to be coming from the VPN provider. This stops websites from knowing your true IP address on the internet and it also stops anyone on your own network from sniffing the traffic to see what you are browsing.

This can be extremely handy if you are often connecting to free WiFi. The VPN allows you to encrypt your browsing data to stop anyone on the network intercepting any browsing traffic.

When you are connected to a VPN you are stopping your ISP from seeing your browsing traffic. Some ISPs have been known to collect browsing data in order to target you with ads – although this isn’t widely implemented in Australia. By using a VPN you remove the capability of the ISP to do this – but now the VPN provider has access to your data instead. This doesn’t really make things more private, you have just changed who your data can be collected by. Most VPNs do sell themselves on privacy, so they may not keep this data long term. But it is worth doing your homework to see what a VPN provider logs and for how long.

A big advantage of a VPN is that you can change your location on the internet. If you are trying to access a website or streaming service that is only available in certain country (geo-blocked) you can change your connections location in your VPN software to appear to be in that country. The website or service you are trying to access will now adjust to the region it appears you are connecting from.

Everyone’s online needs are different and not everyone will need a VPN. Many VPN providers sell you on their product keeping your safe from cyber criminals. This isn’t entirely true in all cases and is just marketing hype to sell more products. There isn’t a software only solution to keep you safe online.

If you are travelling and connecting to potentially hostile networks, wanting to access a bigger Netflix library, or wish to be more private online (depending on the VPN) then a VPN might be a good fit. If you are looking for a solution to protect your from cybercriminals then this may not be the solution you are looking for.

Do you research before making any purchase and be sure to check out our other Tech Tips articles.

Upgrading to Windows 11

Windows 11 was released to the public early October 2021. It is a free upgrade for users running Windows 10, but do you need to upgrade?

The short answer is no. If you are running Windows 10 you can expect security patches from Microsoft until October 14th, 2025. You can safely run Windows 10 until this date.

To see if your device can run Windows 11 you can run and download the Windows PC Health Check from Microsoft.

The system requirement for Windows 11 are reasonable low, requiring a dual Core 1GHz CPU, 4GB Memory, and 64GB of storage. Windows 11 does however require a Trusted Platform Module (TPM). This might not be available on all devices meaning a device without a TPM will have to stay on Windows 10.

A TPM is hardware that handles security functions within your device. One function is ensuring that the booting operating system is trusted. This helps to prevent an attacker from tampering with your device in order to install a rootkit. A rootkit is normally not detected by your antivirus software and could allow an attacker to steal private information such as credit cards details or passwords.

A TPM is also used to enable biometrics for logging in to your PC. Windows Hello is a feature available to Windows users to allow them to log into their device with facial recognition or fingerprint. Without a TPM this functionality cannot be used. All the features of a TPM happen in the background and are going to go unnoticed by most PC users.

The only noticeable change for the average Windows user will be the new Start Menu. The Start Menu has always been down the bottom left of the screen, but with Windows 11 it has moved to centre screen. This change is to cater for wider screens that are in use these days, making it easier to navigate on those devices. There are also some cosmetic differences in the icons and menu items.

If, like many people, you don’t like changes to the look of your device, it is perfectly safe to stay on Windows 10 until October 2025. But if you like to experience the latest and greatest why not download Windows 11 today.

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