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I want to access my home computer from my work. Should I use a VPN network setup and make a RDP connection then? Or is it possible to use RDP by typing in my ip-address without VPN?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

I STRONGLY recommend using a VPN. You have no idea how the RDP traffic may or may not be encrypted, and so your credentials may be intercepted, as well as your keystrokes later. Any access to your own resource should be using either a full VPN, or an SSH-based connection.

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So I should first set up a decent VPN. My home computer (server) to be able to make incoming connection and then connect from my work? The next step is to just start RDP? I am still figuring out how to set up all the ports but I am willing to go for RDP over VPN. – D. Veloper Sep 17 '10 at 13:00

It depends on your Window Firewall settings and on the limitations imposed by your ISP. If you allow RDP over you Internet IP at home, and the ISP doesn't block that specific port, than you can RDP into your computer from wherever you are in the World. However, note that RDP is not encrypted and Windows passwords are relatively easily hacked, so it's not really recommended you do that.

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So RDP over VPN will increase security? – D. Veloper Sep 17 '10 at 12:55
yes, vpn over rdp is better than just rdp because a vpn link effectively ties you to your home network via an encrypted tunnel. It's as if you were on the home network via a wire, but all traffic over the public internet part of the route is encrypted. – Sirex Sep 17 '10 at 13:12
Sirex ... exactly what I planned to answer ;) – Patkos Csaba Sep 17 '10 at 19:57

Windows Remote Desktop services can be forced to use SLL/TLS for encryption of traffic: So you can use RDP without setting up VPN-related stuff and it will be as safe as any other SSL protected protocol (HTTPS, VPN, etc).

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Use something like LogMeIn.

It's free, it's secure (2 levels of PW needed, certificate-based security), it doesn't require any special software to be installed on your work PC (browser based, and can run in Java/HTML mode in extreme cases), it will be faster than RDP, and best of all it ignores firewalls. The host service on your home PC will maintain an active connection to their server, which is how you can tunnel in. Even if you are behind 4 levels of routers, there is no forwarding ports to fool with.

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I must say I hesitate to use a third party solution. I can also see this service is not free. Although it may take a little more trouble trough VPN it seems pretty solid. – D. Veloper Sep 17 '10 at 12:58
@D. Veloper - There is a free option for LogMeIn that I have been using for about 5 years. There are enhanced featuresets for pay versions as well, and I used that in an enterprise environment to support 600+ PCs. – JNK Sep 17 '10 at 13:47
Thanks, I'll check it out, maybe I can use it after all – D. Veloper Sep 17 '10 at 14:30

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