Security threats to mobile devices are growing — and made worse by connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots that allow people to pick up sensitive data, such as online banking transactions. Cocoon, which makes a secure and anonymous plug-in for the Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers on PCs and Macs, recently launched a free, full-scale browser app called GetCocoon for iPads and iPhones. GetCocoon encrypts your mobile’s address and your page requests. That allows you to browse the Internet anonymously to prevent sites from collecting information about you, and protects your data when you're using open public Wi-Fi networks. GetCocoon also blocks ad trackers and provides anonymous email addresses to use when you want to sign up for a newsletter but not have spam land in your regular email account. Instead, mail from these companies is sent to Cocoon's Mailslots, a dedicated inbox inside the app. Unlike The Onion Router and similar secure browsers, GetCocoon was designed for tech novices. As long as you remember to tap GetCocoon rather than Safari, you can surf anonymously and protect your device from malware, public Wi-Fi sniffing and mobile identity theft. Here's how to get started:
- Download GetCocoon from the App Store and set up your account with your email address and a password.
- Look for a power button icon at the top left of the browser. Tap it and the bar at the top will turn blue to show that GetCocoon has been turned on. In the future, each time you launch GetCocoon it will be on, but you will have to enter your password every time.
- Before you begin browsing, click the gear icon in the upper-right corner of the screen to set your preferences. You can specify what page you'll see when you start GetCocoon and choose a search engine other than Google, which is GetCocoon's default. And if you'd like to block Facebook tracking, simply check the box.
Bookmarks work a little differently on GetCocoon. Go into your History to see a list of sites you've visited. If you want to save or bookmark a site, tap the pushpin icon. GetCocoon does show its own ads at the bottom of the screen, but that's the price of a free app. Or for $5 a month, you can use GetCocoon ad-free.