Presenting at New York City VMUG July 24 2014, “Insecure about using public WiFi? Connect to your home’s OpenVPN appliance, for free.”
.PDF version of presentation:
Connect to your home's OpenVPN appliance, for free - NYC VMUG Jul24 2014.pdf
See also step by step guide:
Using your home network’s ESXi or Hyper-V OpenVPN appliance to safely use public WiFi
Living in Southern New England, specifically, in scenic Central Connecticut, I'm only about a 2 hours drive to New York City or to Boston. This affords me the opportunity to get myself to either metro area's many User Group meetings with relative ease. I'm quite happy to announce that I'm getting my first chance to meet folks at the New York City VMUG this week. Even better, I'm doing a "User Presentation" while there, while on a little vacation side-trip actually. To me, this is all great fun, and an honor that I greatly appreciate!
Turns out Mike Foley is the featured presentation right after me, see also full agenda below. He's a Senior Technical Marketing Manager at VMware, a well known as a security expert, and Hardening Guide author. See also Mike's professional blog at
blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/author/mfoley, and his personal blog at yelof.com.
I've also had the change to meet Mike Foley at a local VMUG last year:
Where I struck up some small talk with the name-tag-less stranger across from me, as we all took our seats at the small Hartford VMUG user group. In passing, he was from VMware, as went went back and forth about various ESXi topics. I soon learned he was actually the keynote speaker, at that very same user group meeting, entitled "Virtualization Security for the IT Guy/Gal - Mike Foley." Oops! One way to be remembered, I suppose, at least this time, I know what he looks like ;-)
So later on this week, I'll post some follow-on information in this same blog post, summarizing my experience at this NYC VMUG, as both presenter and attendee. I have no idea how many will be in attendance, but I do know that whoever does show up will be getting a live demonstration of my OpenVPN based virtual machine running back at home, with encrypted sessions displayed from my iOS and Android devices. I'm planning to present, not just talk. Sure am looking forward to it!
Gladly, my proof of concept has worked well for months now, and was recently used on the WiFi at VTUG Maine last week actually.
With all the recent talk of potential NSA surveillance, Netflix choke-point creative VPN workarounds, and remarkably fast free WiFi at Starbucks, this roll-your-own no cost VPN seems an appropriate topic to try to tackle, discuss, and refine. Great for folks that don't really wish to subscribe to yet another monthly service. That dialogue is what user groups are all about.
I need to be clear that I'm not condoning anything nefarious here, and this little project isn't rocket science. I'm really just talking about an alternative way allow you, the virtualization enthusiast, to browse the web more securely while out and about. To the web sites you visit, it'll appear you're actually back at home. This solution is implemented in a way that has considerably less potential exposure of your home's private network, see also diagram here. The benefits of VPN are many, including prevention of snooping by nearby casual packet sniffers, viewing your wireless packets with ease. Yes, anybody on open WiFi networks can see all non-encrypted sites your mobile device is accessing, and more. Why not just avoid any public WiFi? Naturally, when possible, I do exactly that, sticking with my cellular's LTE connection. But that's frequently not an available option, such as when I attend user groups deep inside buildings.
Stay tuned to this post, or this site, for future article updates!
Even better, come join us at the
New York Times Building, 620 8th Ave, New York, NY 10018
right near Time Square this Thursday morning.
Register for free by 5pm July 23rd at:
TinkerTry.com/category:Presentations includes the related presentation from Bsides Boston on May 10, 2014, and a work-in-progress draft of the step-by-step guide. Step by step video walk through of the entire install and configuration process is planned for later this summer, to be appended to the end of this article you're reading.
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