Woohoo! Free Wireless

Wed 11 February 2004 by Kevin van Haaren

As you can tell from my domain name I consider myself to be somewhat of what Eric Cartman refers to as a “god damn hippie” (without the long hair or new age bullcrap). Part of this means sharing. So I’ve finally opened my wireless connection to anybody who wants to use it, for free.

The main reason I haven’t done this in the past is I like sharing things, but I’m not so insane as I don’t have stuff I want to keep private. So until I could develop a way to connect to my other computers in a secure fashion I didn’t want to open my wireless up.

Enter IPSec. Mac OS X added support for IPSec to my G4 PowerBook laptop, and VPN router endpoints have gotten cheaper. So now to connect to my privater computers I build an IPSec tunnel from my laptop to my router and connect to my computers through that.

Using a VPN is far more secure (at least with at least 3DES encryption) than the security protocols WEP or even WPA that wireless networks use. Note that traffic across the internet is not secured by any encryption and anybody in the neighborhood can sniff your traffic to see what you’re doing. But this isn’t really different from the internet in general. A couple of simple hacks on a cable modem and people can sniff all the traffic in their neighborhood. The important stuff goes through SSL anyway.

It’s a true geek that sets up a VPN in their own house. Not sure if that is just totally cool, or just really sad.