I must admit I love my Chromebook laptop. I travel a lot and this lightweight laptop is close to a perfect traveling computer. Not only is it lightweight, its battery lasts for more than eight hours, it boots up quickly, and it never gets viruses. Thanks to the high security of today’s cloud-based apps, it is perhaps the second-most most private computer I own. My desktop computer with the TAILS Linux system is the most secure (see https://privacyblog.com/2015/05/02/use-a-secure-and-free-computer-for-banking-and-all-other-finances) but that is a desktop system, not a laptop. The Chromebook is more practical for use when traveling. Nothing needs to be stored on the Chromebook itself where it is accessible to thieves.
(I had a Windows laptop stolen from the trunk of my automobiles a few years ago so I am really sensitive about storing personal information in an unencrypted format anyplace where it might be stolen, as happened to me. With a Chromebook, there is no need to store anything in the Chromebook’s internal hard drive. Anyone who steals a Chromebook will obtain no private information at all.)
The Chromebook performs most of its magic by connecting to a wi-fi connection and using apps and secure file storage in the cloud. When a wi-fi connection is not available, I use the tethering feature on my cell phone to supply wi-fi to the Chromebook. For info on tethering, see my earlier How to Turn Your Smartphone into a Wi-Fi Hotspot article at https://privacyblog.com/2016/01/02/how-to-turn-your-smartphone-into-a-wi-fi-hotspot.
Setting up a VPN on a Chromebook is surprisingly easy if you already subscribe to a VPN service that uses OpenVPN or L2TP. Most of the reputable VPNs do offer one of those or both. Full instructions for configuring a OpenVPN or L2TP VPN service are given on Google Chromebook Support pages at https://support.google.com/chromebook/answer/1282338?hl=en.
I configured the Private Internet Access service (see https://www.privateinternetaccess.com) within 2 or 3 minutes on my Chromebook and it seems to work well. If you are not familiar with VPNs, it may require a bit more time than what I required but it still isn’t rocket science. I suspect most experienced computer users can follow the instructions. If you are not that experienced, ask a friend or, even better, that 12-year-old up the street for assistance.
Categories: VPN (Virtual Private Networking)