Is Free Wi-Fi worth your Identity?

Question: Is there a cost to Free Wi-Fi?

Answer: The cost could be free malware, rootkits or even worse your Identity being stolen.

I have had 3 clients that have been hacked using free Wi-Fi, one of the clients were using a free Wi-Fi from a national hotel chain.

Using a free Wi-Fi can be dangerous in ways of simple Packet Sniffing, or even worse Man In The Middle Attacks. This will allow a person to at worse monitor traffic and information being sent and delivered to your computer. They also have the ability to possibly change or inject new messages in traffic flow. Last year’s hacks were some of the worst attacks on Corporations so it seems impossible to stop all hacking attacks.

However I want to show you a possible way to create a Small Business or Home Office VPN that will help to protect you when using the internet and connecting to your Local Area Network. Again this is not a guarantee for protection but will improve your security and does initiate a PPTP VPN to help with protection.

I have been using and working with Mikrotik routers and have found they are really powerful for a very good price. They have a RouterOS that allows for complete configuration and control of the Firewall, Network Address Translations as well as Setting up multiple VPN’s. The RouterOS6 is based on the Linux-3.35 with a very friendly user interface and amazing documentation found here.

I am going to demonstrate the Updated RouterOS6 functionality and complete simplicity of developing a VPN that is able to be used on almost all Operating Systems you have including Mobile Devices. Based on an Amazon quick search you will find many version of Mikrotik Routers and they are some that the price is amazing for the complete functionality that you will receive from this product!!

Once you receive the Mikrotik and unpack it you will need to look at the bottom of the box for the instructions to connect to the system the first time shown below:

IMG_0518

So once you have connected Port 1 to the Internet Cable and then connected a computer to Port 2 of your Mikrotik router you will need to verify you have received a IP address from the DHCP Server that is running on the Router. (Hint: you may have to wait a few seconds for the IP address to be assigned.)

Once you have received the IP Address from the router you will need to open a browser and type in the address: http://192.168.88.1 as shown below:

image

Some times I get the browser to Login In with out seeing the Screen above however some times it will show you the above screen. If you see this screen you should already see the Login: is set to “admin” the password is blank by default shown by the red arrow. Finally you will need to press the login button shown by the Green Arrow above.

Once you have completed the post above you will see the Quick Set Page which is new in the RouterOS6. This page really is a simple setup for major functions of this router. I can tell you this is really powerful for simplification on setting up your router the way you need to have it. The Quick Set page is shown below:

image

From here we will be doing all our setup to accomplish our goal of a VPN for our Small Business or Home Office. The first thing I would suggest is that we need to change the Password of the “admin” user this can be accomplished by setting the password in the Red Box shown above, then when complete press the Apply Configuration button shown by the Green Arrow. After this change you will need to refresh your browser and enter the password in the Password section of the login page. (See the 2nd photo of this blog as an example of the page where the password is needed.)

Once you have changed the password of the router that will protect from others being connected to the router either locally or trying to hack in remotely. We are now going to set up the VPN Access of the Router. This will require the following steps with the associated photo shown below:

  1. Enable the VPN Access by placing a Checkbox shown by the Red Arrow.
  2. Type in the VPN Password you want to use for connecting shown by the Green Arrow.
  3.  Press the Apply Configuration button shown by the Yellow Arrow.image

This is basically all you need to do for the Router! Very simple yet very powerful. Now all you need to do is setup a PPTP connection on your computer or iPhone.

To Setup a PPTP VPN on windows machines you will use the icon in your control panel as shown: image

Then click on this icon: image

This will take you to this screen:image

You will need to choose the Connect to a workplace connection option shown by Red Arrow, and then press the Next button shown by the Green Arrow shown above.

image

Next choose No, Create a new connection shown by Red Arrow, then press the Next Button shown by Green Arrow shown above.

Next choose “Use my Internet Connection (VPN)” option shown by the Green Arrow shown below:

image

Next you will put the VPN Address shown below in the Green Box with the Green Arrow in the Internet Address of the Connect Workplace Internet address Box shown below by the Green Arrow. Also name the Destination Name to correlate to the VPN you are setting up shown by the Red Arrow below, and Next press Create button shown by the Yellow Arrow shown below:image

image

This should place the VPN in the Charm Bar if you are on a Windows 8 or Windows 10 Version of Microsoft where you can press the Connect Button as shown below by the Green Arrow.

image

Finally you will need to type in the VPN User as shown by the Green Arrow, and VPN Password as shown by the Red Arrow shown below. Then finally press the OK Button shown by the Yellow Arrow.

image

This will of course need to be used out side of your Local Area Network because you will not be able to connect to the PPTP VPN from inside your current LAN. You will also have the ability to setup a PPTP VPN on your Mobile phone.

This should be all you need to have a fully functional PPTP VPN on your Small Business or Home Office. For as little as approximately 70 dollars you can have a piece of mind that you are helping protect your self from Man In The Middle attacks and help improve the change of stopping Identity Theft.

With the simplicity and protection this could provide this seems to be a great idea!!

Thanks and please follow my blog!!

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