Internet security on-the-go?

I have a wireless-capable laptop that I use when traveling. For security reasons, I would like all communications from the laptop to tunnel through a VPN (or something like one) to the Internet connection at my house. In other words, I’m trying to make it so that there will be no unecrypted data going over the wireless connection – everything that gets sent or received is encrypted and routed through my home network.

Is this possible? What would be the easiest way to set it up? I guess what I’m looking for could be described as a “secure proxy”? Not sure if that’s the proper term.

More info:
[li]Both machines have Windows XP Pro.[/li][li]Dynamic IPs/DNS isn’t a worry.[/li][li]I looked at Windows XP’s built-in VPN implementation, but that didn’t seem to make sense to me. If the only security mechanism is a username/password pair, how does the client verify the server’s authenticity?[/li][li]I tried OpenVPN w/ GUI, but I couldn’t understand the configuration. The docs were over my head.[/li][li]I would be willing to pay if the product is secure and easy to use, but of course I’d prefer a free solution :)[/li][/ul]

Hope somebody can help… I’ve been looking for something like this for a while, but my networking knowledge is very limited and I’m having trouble finding a good solution on my own. Thanks in advance!

Sorry, I hate to bump, but I’m really stumped on this :frowning: Does anyone have any suggestions at all, even if it’s just enough to get me started in the right direction? I would be profusely thankful :slight_smile:

I’m not sure about using XP to XP computers, but you can setup a Windows 2000 server and promote it to a domain controller. Then use the server to host VPNs or setup an IPSec policy to keep everything encrypted. That would be cheaper than calling in some agency. If you use a router, check the manual about setting up a password on the wireless network. Cisco has some PCMCIA cards and antennas that are very flexible with different kinds of encryption too, but way more expensive than Netgear or Linksys.

I was looking for a similar solution and I think I may have found it. UltraVNC 1.0 just came out three days ago. It takes the popular free remote control package and adds file transfer and encryption. You can install the server on your home PC and generate a 128-bit key. You then copy the program and key to your laptop and, assuming you have forwarded the correct port on your router, you can connect from anywhere. You don’t even have to install the client – you can put it on a thumb drive and run it on any Internet-connected PC. Unlike previous VNC releases it supports Windows authentication so you don’t have to set multiple passwords. The encryption keeps your data secure and ensures that only someone with your unique key can connect.

I know a 1.0 release doesn’t sound like a good idea, but there were several tested release candidates leading up to it. I’ve tested it out a bit and haven’t run into any problems.

Okay, thank you both. I’ll look into it!