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Security

Norton's new VPN app wants to save us from dangers of public Wi-Fi

It's billed as a way to stay secure on public networks, but Norton's new Wi-Fi Privacy app also gives you plenty of VPN benefits on your mobile, though you'll need to pay for the privilege.

Norton Wi-Fi Privacy promises security on public Wi-Fi networks.

Norton

Norton is pushing hard on mobile with the launch of a new mobile VPN, but forget about torrents and accessing overseas Netflix catalogues: The company says it just wants you to stay safe on public Wi-Fi.

The company on Tuesday announced the global launch of Norton Wi-Fi Privacy -- a subscription-based app that encrypts all the data you send over a public Wi-Fi network, from social media logins to internet banking details and shared photos and videos. It's available now on both Apple and Android devices.

Norton is so concerned about your security that it commissioned a dedicated Wi-Fi Risk Report to tie in with the launch, surveying internet users in nine countries to show just how little we care about our own privacy.

According to Norton's research, 57 percent of people believe their information is safe when using public Wi-Fi and only 35 percent can tell the difference between secure and unsecure Wi-Fi networks.

It seems that Norton is trying to save us from ourselves.

At its heart, this security app is a VPN for mobile:

  • Encrypts data sent and received over public Wi-Fi networks
  • Offers security in browser and in other mobile apps
  • Blocks ad-tracking cookies
  • Masks online activities and location
  • Allows you to switch virtual locations to access geoblocked content
  • Available for iOS 7.0 or later and Android 4.04 or later
  • One-year, one-device subscription

Norton is promising low latency, thanks to a number of global server locations, and says its encryption keys are changed for every connection, so they don't log any data. You'll certainly get more than a secure Wi-Fi connection, and at $30, £23 or AU$47 per device per year, that's probably just as well.

But Norton is also hoping brand recognition will win over customers.

"There are a lot of VPN providers out there, a lot of unknown brands," said Norton's director for the Pacific region, Mark Gorrie. "Bringing a trusted brand into this space is a benefit."