I use a combination of TomatoVPN and OpenVPN to connect to the Internet while using unsecure connections at places like coffee shops. Even while connecting to a connection secured by a password you are still vulnerable to others sharing that same connection who know that password.
This combination of technology creates a secure tunnel through the Internet using a shared secret that is not communicated over that connection. TomatoVPN & OpenVPN are both free and the routers running the software also tend to be cheap. I found the LinkSys router I set Tomato up on became more stable as well as having the additional features. This technology provides a great way of using your secure home connection while away from home in a way that would have been hideously expensive only a few years ago.
When traffic is directed over the tunnel it appears to the outside world that you are communicating from your home location, meaning access to foreign resources that might be geo-fenced in your current location. You can check where the Internet thinks you are by using a service like WhoAmI.
The main downside of using a VPN tunnel for all of your Internet traffic is that your down bandwidth is constrained by the up bandwidth of your home connection.
There are a plethora of options for making VPN connections and I will not go in to detail here.
So coming to the point of this post… I did find it a little difficult setting up my client OpenVPN file up just right for my TomatoVPN & Windows 7 configuration. I’ve coped a slightly altered version of my “.ovpn” file below. It differs a little from what I have seen elsewhere but I now see traffic going over the VPN 100% of the time rather than intermittently appearing that it was doing so but actually using the Internet directly.
# Use the following to have your client computer send all
# traffic through your router (remote gateway)
# This is default for many routers
This article of mine does seem to get quite a few hits… I’ve come to need to set this up again and found the following blog article useful: http://blog.johnso.org/2009/08/how-to-setup-openvpn-in-tomato.html
When I get time I will document this again. If you find any good tutorial articles in the meantime please do post them in the comments :0)