DIY secure wireless with SSH/PuTTY

January 8th, 2004

I’ve been doing a bunch of wireless lately with my laptop. On publicly available networks, whether paid or free, WEP is usually not enabled, so anyone could easily come by with a tool like kismet and watch your traffic including POP and FTP passwords etc.

As an independent consultant, I don’t have a corporate network with VPN access through which I can secure my communications, so I’ve had to make do with what is available to me.

I have SSHD, smtp and a web proxy server running on my home network, so on my Win2k-based laptop I have set up a PuTTY connection with the following ports forwarded:

6588 – http/s proxy
25 – smtp (allows relay only from self)
110 – pop3 forwarded to pop3.simplefilter.com

On the laptop, I have a hosts file entry mapping the pop3.simplefilter.com to, smtp set to localhost, and my browser and Trillian proxy set to localhost:6588.

With this setup, all I have to do is run PuTTY, connect securely via ssh to my home machine, and then all HTTP/S, POP, ICQ, MSN, and YAHOO traffic happens securely through my tunnel. Running netstat on my machine shows one connection home and a bunch of localhost connections.

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