[plug] Safely using an untrusted router

Dirk justanothergreenguy at gmail.com
Tue Oct 20 03:48:56 UTC 2015

Oops, I meant to send this to the mailing list...

On Tuesday, 20 October 2015, Dirk <justanothergreenguy at gmail.com> wrote:

> Thanks Brad, for your quick response!
> I only use a wired modem router (with only one device attached being my
> PC) when I need to access important online accounts (e.g. Gmail, govt
> depts, etc), so am not concerned with slow speeds and greater latency.
> My local network is therefore pretty simple:  just my PC and the wired
> modem router.
> All my general browsing is done with a different computer, old phone,
> or tablet on a separate wifi modem router.  I turn off the wireless router,
> and swap the RJ11 over, before using the wired router, and vice versa.
> I might have to look into using a modem in pass-through mode, and
> hopefully my ISP can enable the PPPoE at their end.
> Does your Billion modem have any firmware that can be updated or
> compromised (i.e. wouldn't solve my issue), or is it all hardware?
> Btw, I'm considering using a Raspberry Pi (not sure how secure Raspbian is
> though), to get around the possibility of BIOS malware in my PC, as I can
> verify the integrity of the Pi's 'firmware' by rewriting the OS onto a
> small SD card each time I need to access important online accounts.
> Cheers, Dirk
> On Tuesday, 20 October 2015, Brad Campbell <brad at fnarfbargle.com
> <javascript:_e(%7B%7D,'cvml','brad at fnarfbargle.com');>> wrote:
>> On 20/10/15 10:51, Dirk wrote:
>>> G'day fellow PLUG'gers,
>> Anyway, I'm hoping someone knows how to handle an untrusted router, and
>>> whether a VPN tunnel would guarantee a secure connection, whether or not
>>> there are any DNS hijacks/spoofing or any other funny games going on in
>>> the router.
>> I'm often on untrusted networks. I use an openvpn tunnel to either my
>> home system or a co-located box depending on which hemisphere I'm in.
>> I use the tunnel as my default route, so once it's up all traffic
>> traverses it. This slows down browsing quite a bit as dns lookups are
>> considerably slower however.
>> I don't use a "router" at home. Just have a a billion modem in
>> passthrough mode and run pppoe on the server.
>> We use a Zimbra server and I run the Zimbra client for mail. I started
>> getting ssl alerts when out and about because the foreign networks were
>> trying to man in the middle my ssl sessions, so I switched to tunneling
>> everything over the vpn.
>> I would not say it's 'secure' as such, but it will stop anyone on the
>> same local network segment sniffing traffic and provides an extra layer of
>> 'warm fuzzy' at the expense of speed and latency.
>> I think the likelihood of 'BIOS malware' is probably pretty low. I would
>> suggest if you don't trust your local network then you should be doing
>> something about that first rather than trying to work around it.
>> _______________________________________________
>> PLUG discussion list: plug at plug.org.au
>> http://lists.plug.org.au/mailman/listinfo/plug
>> Committee e-mail: committee at plug.org.au
>> PLUG Membership: http://www.plug.org.au/membership
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.plug.org.au/pipermail/plug/attachments/20151020/0b1b5bf9/attachment.html>

More information about the plug mailing list