Take the 2-minute tour ×
Server Fault is a question and answer site for professional system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I travel a lot and connect to public wifi hotspots all the time. What information will be given out if I use VPN within public wifi hotspots? Will the owners or intruders in the hotspot be able to detect the websites I go to (DNS lookups, Traffic sniffing)?

In other words, will using a VPN totally keep my browsing private and secure my traffic from being detected? Are there any gotchas I need to keep an eye out for?

share|improve this question
    
I am thinking of using openvpn on server and client –  Pasta Mar 9 '10 at 22:05
add comment

3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

A decent VPN - you tagged "openVPN" which is one - very safe - assuming you tunnel all traffic (including DNS) over it!

share|improve this answer
add comment

It depends on the VPN client. At the very minimum they will know you are making a VPN connection and the server you are connecting to.

If you ignore the possibility of bugs in the VPN or new discoveries in cracking the crypto used. Then a proper configuration of a VPN should be able to completely hide your activities.

To completely hide your tracks you need to make sure your default gateway is over the VPN, and you are using DNS servers that are only accessible via your VPN.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Well. First of all VPN can only protect you when you're using it (so you route the traffic through it, have NAT etc.).

Secondly VPN should encrypt securely the traffic. While it seems trivial in many home-grown solutions it was done in wrong way (problems with initialization etc.) [VPN should be protected from playback and injection, usually support out-of-order delivery etc.]

The secure one includes:

  • OpenVPN
  • Various based on IPSec (like L2TP/IPSec)/IPSec tunnel mode.
  • SSH

To insecure belongs

  • Crude L2TP
  • IPv4-in-IPv4
share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.