View Full Version : Accessing a LAN disk from the Internet

04-03-2009, 02:30 PM
I just bought an Iomega Home Network NAS hard disk and in the configuration I see it has an FTP server and a Samba server. No problem accessing the thing from my local network just using Windows Explorer & SMB.

From the Internet side I can use FTP but I do not like the idea due to lack of encryption and security. I would have to separately encrypt all files and decrypt at the other end. Too much trouble.

What about SMB? I do not know how to use it over the internet. Can I use Windows Explorer and SMB over the Internet? I guss it wouldn't be secure either....

So it seems the Network disk I bought is really not suited for Internet access?

Would it somehow be possible to VPN into the disk?

Any other ideas?

04-03-2009, 03:30 PM
No, SMB has no native encryption and most likely your ISP is blocking the ports it uses. On top of that it doesnt handle internet-like latencies well.

>Would it somehow be possible to VPN into the disk?

I doubt your home NAS is a vpn server. What you could do is configure a computer on your network to work as a VPN server and forward a port to there, but that might be too complex.

An easier solution would be to download and install Filezilla server and setup an SFTP server on your home computer. Map your NAS to that computer. Forward the port for SFTP and use an SFTP client like Filezilla to access those files. This can all be done with a user friendly GUI.

If your home computer has Windows XP Pro or Vista Business you can enable remote desktop and use remote desktop's built-in file transfer feature to send and receive files. RDP uses encryption by default now.

Lastly, you can install an ssh server on your system and tunnel ftp over ssh, but that also is a little complex. Personally, I just use remote desktop nowadays.

Good luck!

04-03-2009, 04:50 PM
Thanks HorseloverFat. I do use the remote desktop daily but when I travel for weeks or months the computer will hang or freeze or just stop responding and I thought a NAS drive would be simpler and more robust but I see the one I got is really not suited for Internet access but rather only for LAN access.

Some weeks ago I started a thread (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=496515) about setting up my own NAS using one of the spare computers and it looks like that might be the best way to go. On re-reading that thread I see there are routers which include VPN serverand that would also resolve the problem as I could VPN to the router and then access the NAS from there.

Now I am thinking whether I should just return the disk I bought or just try to find a use for it, even if just making backups.

04-04-2009, 02:10 PM
You can keep it if you can get ssh working. I use ssh as a poor man's VPN. I have a linksys router that has been flashed with DD-WRT (http://www.dd-wrt.com/) which gives me an ssh server without running a computer. I can establish an ssh connection from a windows computer using Putty and set it to tunnel certain ports via ssh into my LAN. I could do this with port 21 and run the entire ftp session through ssh, thus giving me quite a bit of encryption.

ssh also is SOCKS compliant, so I can tunnel all my web browsing through ssh to my home network. That way someone sniffing the lan or the wireless connection where Im at will not reveal my traffic. He'll just see one encrypted ssh session.

If ssh and dd-wrt are too much of a pain (and they can be), then you might want to keep that NAS and buy a router with VPN support like this little guy here (http://www.wi-fiplanet.com/reviews/article.php/3613501). Generally, VPN is a router function not a NAS function.

Lastly, if your home machine is left unattended for too long you can write a simple reboot.bat script and run it nightly. Just make a bat file and put this inside:

shutdown -r -t 5

Set your windows scheduled task to do this weekly or nightly at 3am. If this works for you, you can run an ssh server on windows and do port tunneling without a router, but generally a hardware router is recommended if you want stability. Good luck with whatever you try.

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