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Public WiFi Paranoia

Created by dave. Last edited by dave, 11 years and 252 days ago. Viewed 4,062 times. #3
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(25 February 2012)

So here I am in Montreal, just connecting to the WiFi provided by the hotel I'm at.

...or, wait. Before I connect to any of my usual services, I should check this out to see if I'm leaking information in the forms of cookies or whatever. So I fire up wireshark and after a few minutes can see one of the other guest's computers banging away anouncing itself via NetBIOS.


So that means it's possible others will be able to see my traffic, which means I'd better get paranoid before I connect to the web.

I figure that what I want to do is open a OpenVPN tunnel back to my computer at the office, then run VNC over the VPN and run my browsers from the office computer (since I trust the network there).

Only problem is, I rebuilt this computer about a month ago and OpenVPN isn't installed. OK, let's try installing the cached copy I kept on the computer between rebuilds… nope, won't install.

After a lot of messing around --

(Note for the future: the magic is

  • use openvpn-2.1_rc19-install.exe
  • set the installer to run in Vista-compatibility mode as an Administrator
  • if you forget this the first time, you have to find and kill the openvpn process that the previous attempt leaves running before you can properly uninstall the badly-installed version and remove all its directories
  • finally set the OpenVPN GUI application to run as an administrator so that it can set routes after the VPN is connected

-- I get it installed.

Then I think, no I don't have to go down the vnc and desktop route, I can just install a squid server, and then aim one of my three browsers at it over the VPN, and just use that browser for today.

That actually went fairly smoothly, and now all my web browsing is properly encrypted from here.

Now all I have to do is remember in future that the reason Firefox doesn't work is because it's proxy'd back to the office over the VPN.

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