An Easy VPN on EC2

I’ve become a little bit more paranoid over the last few weeks about computer security. I used to think I will be fine – why would anyone want to hack my computer and find my personal files. But after a bit of reading I’m more concerned about the far more likely situation of mass spying and infiltration programs either churning through my network traffic or infecting my computers with a botnet. In those cases people will collect everything they can and data mine it afterwards.

Starting a VPN should help greatly with preserving my privacy.  It also gives me the added benefit of having an IP address in the USA which allows me to watch Hulu and other US only content sites.

After several false starts trying to get OpenVPN working I decided to try something easier.

Starting with an existing AMI was easy.  I searched for and launched a new instance using ami-744c971d which is pre-configured for pptp with a simple username/password.  Create a new security group for the instance when configuring it.

Once the server is launched and running you’ll need to open up some ports so that it is accessible.  PPTP uses TCP port 1723.

In the Security Group settings open up TCP port 1723 and TCP port 22 (SSH).

Ssh to the server using the key pair you selected when starting the instance and the username ‘ubuntu’ to edit the settings file.  Edit the file /etc/ppp/chap-secrets  change the username ‘seamus’ and password ‘wiles’ to something else.

Restart pptp: ‘sudo service pptpd restart’

You should be able to connect then to the new VPN server.