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Setting up a secure remote desktop over WAN

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I've installed a system with Server 2012 R2 but I'm struggling to set up a decent remote desktop over WAN at a friend's business.
Couple of things to note:
  • no static WAN IP
  • terrible local network setup
  • terrible security practices by employees ("opens random unpaid invoice email and gets the entire network infected with ransomware"-ish things)
  • rather want to avoid subscription/registered VPN services if possible - but will settle here if needed.
  • NO TEAMVIEWER - I need the native remote desktop client

Network setup and previous gear were done by an other guy - and he messed it up pretty bad.
I'd rather avoid a dynamic DNS /w port forwarding and making it available to the entire net because it's a major security risk?

My best guess is a VPN? Any recommendations? Should I just go with Hamachi or something like that?
What are my options on how to get this working?
 
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post #2 of 11
Build yourself a pfSense router for that network.

Set up VLans for individual departments, so when the morons in finance open random virus laden emails, it only hits finance.

Set up an OpenVPN server on the pfSense router and VPN into the management VLan.

Have RDI set up on 2012R2.

Should do the trick. Any reason to not use team viewer though? Would save you a load of time and headache.
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post #3 of 11

Personally I think TeamViewer is the best option for remote desktop connections over the internet.

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post #4 of 11
What's the budget?

I would go with softethervpn, pretty useful software. You can set it up as a bridge and coneect to any external server(VPN or anything else) - you'll be able to access it fromanywhere using rdp.
That's a cheap way to fix it.

Proper is - either Mikrotik or Cisco router/firewall. Cisco have better support, but probably overkill for you. Mikrotik is nice smart roter, capable of doing many m,any things. I have Mikrotik at home, Cisco(tons of then) at my job.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Some clarification and updates:

It's not a big company, it's a local non-profit that supports families in certain aspects. There is a very small budget for IT expenses - but the previous person they worked with screwed them over big time (sold them non-legitimate Windows and office licences), gave them no back-up routines and they recently lost nearly all their data to ransomware.
I'm just cleaning up the mess he made.

Just to give you an idea: they had a non-mirred recycled 2.5" laptop HDD in a desktop that was used on a daily basis. That drive had a 200GB partition they used as a network share with ALL their data. No backups, no decent anti-virus (they were running MSE for god's sake!), ...

I run a very small B2C operation and this business project is an exception. I did it because the guy is a friend and I know that if I don't do it for the low budget they had, nobody would - and the issues they had are bound to recur.

Right now, there's not much budget left. The server was built and configured before I found out that all the Windows installs (about 10 systems) were cracked. The systems all needed a new reinstall - but I refuse to work with non-legitimate software because of the legal risks. I've seen quite a bit of business close because of these practices (and hope to see their previous contractor close for what they did). This brought a big additional cost and forced me into postponing the replacement of the network gear.

The reason I prefer not to work with Teamviewer, is because I don't a have a professional licence for it (seriously, they price themselves out of the market for small IT businesses that just want to give the very uncommon remote support - not to mention they constantly release new versions you need to buy an upgrade licence for). That said, I've given up. I'll be running this on a non-business licence.

Thanks for all the proposals though!

-Xio
 
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post #6 of 11
An MPN Action pack (£320 ish) / Year
Provides:
2 Server Standard licences
1 Storage Server licence
1 Foundation Server licence
1 Essentials Server licnce
10 Windows 10 Ent / Pro licences
5 seats of office 365 (with Exchange online).

This also provides 10 RDP licences.

With this you could set up a PFsense server and an RDP gateway server to allow access.
post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by xioros View Post

Some clarification and updates:

Just to give you an idea: they had a non-mirred recycled 2.5" laptop HDD in a desktop that was used on a daily basis. That drive had a 200GB partition they used as a network share with ALL their data. No backups, no decent anti-virus (they were running MSE for god's sake!), ...

I run a very small B2C operation and this business project is an exception. I did it because the guy is a friend and I know that if I don't do it for the low budget they had, nobody would - and the issues they had are bound to recur.

Then anything "Cisco" is an overkill for you. And running software-solution is not the best way to go. They might bring other laptop, or screw teamviewer installation and etc.

My vote goes to mikrotik. You may use virtual instance (cheaper AND faster), but I believe in that environment that's not a best idea. If you don't have special requirements, you can get away with cheap (like $60-70) model.
It's relatively easy to set up, even if you don't have Static IP, but please make sure that you have Public IP on your router. Should be simple enough to set up. Since that is non-profit business, I can help you with setting up a VPN if you want, free of charge.
post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by xioros View Post

Some clarification and updates:

It's not a big company, it's a local non-profit that supports families in certain aspects. There is a very small budget for IT expenses - but the previous person they worked with screwed them over big time (sold them non-legitimate Windows and office licences), gave them no back-up routines and they recently lost nearly all their data to ransomware.
I'm just cleaning up the mess he made.

Just to give you an idea: they had a non-mirred recycled 2.5" laptop HDD in a desktop that was used on a daily basis. That drive had a 200GB partition they used as a network share with ALL their data. No backups, no decent anti-virus (they were running MSE for god's sake!), ...

I run a very small B2C operation and this business project is an exception. I did it because the guy is a friend and I know that if I don't do it for the low budget they had, nobody would - and the issues they had are bound to recur.

Right now, there's not much budget left. The server was built and configured before I found out that all the Windows installs (about 10 systems) were cracked. The systems all needed a new reinstall - but I refuse to work with non-legitimate software because of the legal risks. I've seen quite a bit of business close because of these practices (and hope to see their previous contractor close for what they did). This brought a big additional cost and forced me into postponing the replacement of the network gear.

The reason I prefer not to work with Teamviewer, is because I don't a have a professional licence for it (seriously, they price themselves out of the market for small IT businesses that just want to give the very uncommon remote support - not to mention they constantly release new versions you need to buy an upgrade licence for). That said, I've given up. I'll be running this on a non-business licence.

Thanks for all the proposals though!

-Xio

I'm speechless. Is there nothing that can be done legally about this guy? He's seriously scammed them.

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post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liranan View Post

Warning: SNIP! (Click to show)
Quote:
Originally Posted by xioros View Post

Some clarification and updates:


It's not a big company, it's a local non-profit that supports families in certain aspects. There is a very small budget for IT expenses - but the previous person they worked with screwed them over big time (sold them non-legitimate Windows and office licences), gave them no back-up routines and they recently lost nearly all their data to ransomware.

I'm just cleaning up the mess he made.


Just to give you an idea: they had a non-mirred recycled 2.5" laptop HDD in a desktop that was used on a daily basis. That drive had a 200GB partition they used as a network share with ALL their data. No backups, no decent anti-virus (they were running MSE for god's sake!), ...


I run a very small B2C operation and this business project is an exception. I did it because the guy is a friend and I know that if I don't do it for the low budget they had, nobody would - and the issues they had are bound to recur.


Right now, there's not much budget left. The server was built and configured before I found out that all the Windows installs (about 10 systems) were cracked. The systems all needed a new reinstall - but I refuse to work with non-legitimate software because of the legal risks. I've seen quite a bit of business close because of these practices (and hope to see their previous contractor close for what they did). This brought a big additional cost and forced me into postponing the replacement of the network gear.


The reason I prefer not to work with Teamviewer, is because I don't a have a professional licence for it (seriously, they price themselves out of the market for small IT businesses that just want to give the very uncommon remote support - not to mention they constantly release new versions you need to buy an upgrade licence for). That said, I've given up. I'll be running this on a non-business licence.


Thanks for all the proposals though!


-Xio
I'm speechless. Is there nothing that can be done legally about this guy? He's seriously scammed them.

Not sure. There's nothing about software on the invoice they got a while back. According to the invoice, they just sold a PC without any OS or software - but they clearly put Windows 7 Pro on it with a shady mimic activation. When I tried to read out the product keys for the systems (that I was going to reuse for the installation), it turned out that it was a volume key installation (although the system acted like it was an OEM) with the product key: "BBBBB-BBBBB-BBBBB-BBBBB-BBBBB". When I contacted them, they told me that they never included a licence and the customer always had to buy a licence. That's complete BS, considering they never informed the client that he had to buy software and the systems were already activated (or rather cracked).

His word against ours.
I'm probably tipping them to the BSAB (Business Software Alliance Belgium). If they did this here, they likely did it elsewhere too. And the regular check-ups they're going to get will prevent them for ripping off anyone else.
 
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[Acer] 3x S221HQ EyeFinity [Logitech] G110 [Corsair] AX1200 [NZXT] Phantom Singularity mod by Xioros 
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The Singularity
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Core i7 4790K @4GHz with stock cooler ASUS Maximus VI Gene GTX 1080 Ti G.Skill RipjawsX 16 GB 1600 MHz 
Hard DriveHard DriveOSMonitor
840 Pro Series 256 GB WD Black 3TB Windows 7 Pro x64 Dell U3415W 
KeyboardPowerCase
Dell U2715H Corsair AX860 with terrible MDPC-x sleeving job Corsair 350D 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown 
Hard DriveCoolingMonitorKeyboard
Unknown Silent custom liquid cooling Dell U3415W Corsair K70 Cherry MX Red 
PowerCaseMouse
Corsair AX860 /w custom length MDPC-x cables CaseLabs SMA8 Mionix Naos 7000 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
[Intel] Core i5 2500K [ASUS] Maximus IV Extreme [Gainward] GeForce GTX 560 Ti Phantom 2 GB [Gainward] GeForce GTX 560 Ti Phantom 2 GB 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
[G.Skill] Ripjaws-X [Corsair] Force Series 3 120GB [Samsung] F3 [Asus] DRW 24B3LT 
CoolingCoolingCoolingOS
[Corsair] H100 [Gainward] Phantom [Custom] Red Cooling [Microsoft] Windows 7 Ultimate 
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[Acer] 3x S221HQ EyeFinity [Logitech] G110 [Corsair] AX1200 [NZXT] Phantom Singularity mod by Xioros 
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post #10 of 11
For firewall/routing - look at DD-WRT. That should enable tons of VPN functionality, good routing, good port forwarding, and is easier than dealing with pfsense in a VM or hardware for most people. DD-WRT will install on a _ton_ of routers out there, just need to make sure that it's on the list of compatible routers. I've seen used ones that are compatible sell for 10 bucks.

Once you get a decent firewall in place, start poking holes in the firewall for RDP, and I would suggest using a dynamic DNS client. It's the easiest way to keep connectivity if you don't have a static WAN address.
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