"Excuse me please. My ear is full of milk..."

– Oliver Hardy, Going Bye Bye (1934)

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Zebedee secure tunnel

According to the Zebedee web site:

Zebedee is a simple program to establish an encrypted, compressed “tunnel” for TCP/IP or UDP data transfer between two systems. This allows traffic such as telnet, ftp and X to be protected from snooping as well as potentially gaining performance over low-bandwidth networks from compression

Using Zebedee as a VPN for Laptop Users

Overview:

I cooked up a solution that, to steal an Apple term, just works. Nothing is required of the user.

I use an open-source program called Zebedee to create compressed and encrypted tunnels from VPN users to our server. I use pre-shared keys to make the system not vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks.

With this software VPN users can get their company email and browse the company intranet whenever they are connected to the Internet.

Installing Zebedee

For Windows users I use the windows binary distribution for the latest version.

For Linux clients I've had to figure out how to compile Zebedee from scratch. After much frustration I finally got it to work. I've detailed the steps taken to compile Zebedee for SuSE Linux.

Implementation and results:

Initially there was a problem with connections freezing up, but that was found to be a result of using a 16k packet size instead of the default 8k. Since I switched back to the 8k packet there has not been one lockup.

So far this solution has worked great. To make it easier to manage, laptop users always receive email via the VPN, even when they are inside the company.

A reduced capability version is used for contractors when it is determined that they require access to the intranet. Administrators can easily fine tune exactly what info they have access to.