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Security How To

Install & Configure Hamachi

There are numerous VPN solutions available, both free and commercial. For this project, we will be using the free version of Hamachi. Hamachi, a product of LogMeIn, Inc., is a peer-based VPN implementation. Clients are grouped into "networks", in which each member of a network establishes a connection with its peers. This differs from the standard client-server model, where if the server goes offline, clients are unable to communicate with each other.

There are benefits (and drawbacks) to each design. But for this task, Hamachi will be more than sufficient. You will, however, need at least a working Internet connection and two computers. Hamachi supports Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X , but I'll provide instructions for Windows clients only.

To establish a Hamachi network, you'll need to first download and install the Hamachi software on what I'll refer to as the "Primary Client". This must always be running in order for you to log into your secure network. You can use the supplied nickname (derived from the hostname) without issues, since Hamachi relies on IP for uniqueness. Changing it (now or later) won't disrupt anything, so feel free to do so if you are inclined.

You next need to create a network and specify a password. Basic network tasks are located in the appropriately titled "Networking Menu", which is accessed by the three node button located at the bottom right of the Hamachi window (Figure 3).

Main Hamachi window

Figure 3: Main Hamachi window

You should be greeted by the configuration screen shown in Figure 4.

Creating a new Hamaci network

Figure 4: Creating a new Hamaci network

This is where you create the unique network that your peers will be grouped together in. Peers can be members of more than one network, but only members of the same network can communicate with each other.

You'll then need to install Hamachi on the machine(s) that you'll be using to browse the web and join the network (option also found in the Networking menu) started by the Primary Client (Figure 5). The network name and password were specified on the Primary Client during the network creation process.

Joining an existing Hamachi network

Figure 5: Joining an existing Hamachi network

Once this is done, your Hamachi window should look something like Figure 6, with online peers displaying a green circle or star (more on that later) next to their Hamachi-provided IP.

Hamachi network join complete

Figure 6: Hamachi network join complete

The next phase is to configure a proxy on one of the clients.

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