SSH/VPN - WiFi Hotspot Security

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by masterp34588, Aug 11, 2008.

  1. masterp34588 macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2008
    I've been researching the best way to go about security while I'm utilizing free wifi access at airports, coffee shops, the library, etc. I've been doing my best to figure this out on my own but I think the sheer number of sites I've been reading on this topic has started to confuse me. I've been reading about SSH for while and heard that it is a good way to secure my information, but on the other hand I've heard VPN is good as well. Frankly, I can't figure out what the differences are aside from the fact that typically SSH is used via the terminal and VPN can be used with a GUI. Although, I've seen a wide variety of programs (FUGU -, SSH Agent -, SSH Tunnel Manager -, Meerkat -, and about three or four other apps) that are supposed to assist in making a SSH tunnel but after playing with them for a few moments they only contribute to more confusion :confused:!!

    Here is what I have to work with. I have a macbook and an iMac both intel and running leopard. My iMac is obviously at my apartment with cable internet access. I have a router with the DD-WRT firmware on it (but I have yet to updated it to the latest version). I believe I installed the version where I can use VPN directly from my router but I haven't really researched that aspect of it at all. I also have MobileMe so I can use Back To My Mac to connect to my iMac at home via SSH (I read something about that at this link Ideally, I would be able to use my macbook while out on the road and utilize my iMac connection and be confident that my information is hidden from any would-be snoopers (if they even exist...maybe I'm just paranoid).

    I've used VPN connections with my school before so I'm familiar with how that works so I'm not all that intimidated with using it. Although, I had to use some Cisco app to connect even though I think OSX can handle VPN connections. I'm not that frighted of jumping into the terminal, but I wouldn't mind paying a small amount of money for an app that would make this whole process easy. I would prefer to have this process be as transparent as possible and have it secure most..if not all of my internet traffic. Anyway, what do you suggest? What is the easiest way to go about securing my connection? What is the main difference between VPN and SSH? Is VPN is just as secure as SSH? Thanks in advance for your help! :)
  2. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Complex setup, but works nonetheless. First, try to VPN, as this is corporate standard and SSH shouldn't be used for this type of work. SSH is for going into web servers and add/deleting files. Or at least, that's what I use it for when I manage web pages on remote servers. By all means, VPN means Virtual Private Network, and is much more secure than SSH. It's more visual, as SSH is command-line based.

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