VPN

Hotspot Shield with Ubuntu

Hotspot Shield is a free VPN service with a Microsoft Windows and MacOSX client. Recently, AnchorFree Inc released an iPhone VPN service too. Based on this service, it's possible to use Hotspot Shield with Ubuntu.

This might be of some interest for user who are not located in the USA. Since Hotspot Shield offers a US-based endpoint, you might want to use it for services currently unreachable due to geolocation measures.

The service uses L2TP (without IPSEC). Funny enough, this seems to be the worst supported protocol on Ubuntu, when it comes to easy configuration. Neither Network-Manager, nor KVpnc do support a simple setup.

If you're willing to use the terminal and a text editor, here's how you do it:

Before you configure your local computer, visit the Hotspot Shield for iPhone Website. Click on "Get Account ID" and save the information you're getting. In fact, you'll only need you username/password and the server IP. Don't forget to replace these credentials while editing the xl2tpd config as follows:

1) Install xl2tpd

sudo apt-get install xl2tpd

2) Edit /etc/xl2tpd/xl2tpd.conf and add

[lac hotspotshield]
lns = HotSpotShieldServerIP
require chap = yes
refuse pap = yes
require authentication = yes
; Name should be the same as the username in the PPP authentication!
name = YourHotSpotShieldUsername
ppp debug = yes
pppoptfile = /etc/ppp/options.l2tpd.client
length bit = yes

3) Create /etc/ppp/options.l2tpd.client with the following content

ipcp-accept-local
ipcp-accept-remote
refuse-eap
noccp
noauth
crtscts
idle 1800
mtu 1410
mru 1410
nodefaultroute
debug
lock
connect-delay 5000

4) Edit /etc/xl2tpd/l2tp-secrets, /etc/ppp/chap-secrets and /etc/ppp/pap-secrets, add

"YourHotSpotShieldUsername" HotSpotShieldServerIP "YourHotSpotShieldUsername"

5) Start the deamon

sudo /etc/init.d/xl2tpd start

6) Connect to HotSpot Shield

sudo su
echo "c hotspotshield" > /var/run/xl2tpd/l2tp-control
route add -net 0.0.0.0 dev ppp0

7) Disconnect from HotSpot Shield

sudo su
echo "c hotspotshield" > /var/run/xl2tpd/l2tp-control

If you're running AdBlock Plus, you might notice some empty space on top of every page you're visiting. That's the HotSpot Shield advertising bar, which shows random commercial to finance their service. So either disable Firefox to allow AnchorFree to continue the service, or add "http://box.anchorfree.net/*" to your rule set.

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