Security dominoes

Getting off my ass and finally getting email encryption setup seems to have set off the security bug.  Last week I decided to go ahead and finally sign up for a VPN to secure all of my internet traffic.  I shopped around and finally settled on a provider that had high reviews in forums, on a few mainstream websites and (perhaps most importantly) took bitcoin for payment.  All in all it was a very easy setup and I had an account created and my Mac was connected via their client in a matter of 10-15 minutes.

Not being satisfied with just my machine being protected however, I decided to buy a new wireless/wired router that could connect to and route all the traffic for every device in my home over the VPN.  After looking at some pre-flashed routers, I decided to roll my own and bought a Netgear Nighthawk R7000 (yes it does look like Darth Vader’s illegitimate love child) from Amazon. As is par for the course, it showed up a 2 days later (I still love Prime…almost as much as my Big Green Egg).  I had already downloaded the latest version of DD-WRT specific to that model, so after unpacking, wiring in and powering up I had the stock firmware wiped away, replaced with clean, open source linux sweetness.
The network reconfiguration (removing the Apple Airport that had been in place for the last few years, replacing with the the DD WRT powered R7000, and reconnecting all the cables and wireless clients) took another hour or so.  Then it was time to get the router connected to the VPN.  Using the very well done instructions from my VPN provider, I was able to configure everything in 10-20 minutes and my first connection was successful.
So for a total investment of about $200 and 3 hours of time, all the internet traffic in my home is now protected by a VPN, which means no logging by my internet provider, better access to sites that block based on geo location, and more secure public wifi browsing (obviously I will have to revert to the locally installed clients for that.  The cool thing is they offer them for mobile devices like iPhones and Androids too).  I know there are no perfect security solutions, but I think this will be worth the investment of time and money.
If you’ve read this and have no idea, what I am talking about then the first question you need to ask yourself is: do I care how my and my families information is logged and used?  If you answered yes, then figure it out (I would be glad to help as I can).  If you answered no, then think about it a little bit more. A common question from privacy nay-sayers is “what do you have to hide if you haven’t done anything wrong”.  To which I always ask them, “So, then is your toilet in the middle of your living room.”  A right to privacy is an extension of the basic right of self ownership.
Next on this list: I think I finally need to get rid of (or at least run something in parallel to) Gmail.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *