Can a Remote Desktop be Traced to Original Computer?

Discussion in 'Networking and Wireless' started by insidemanpoker, May 15, 2011.

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  1. insidemanpoker

    insidemanpoker Notebook Evangelist

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    Basically, here is my situation:

    I live in England but will be spending a lot of time in the US for the next year. I play online poker on Party Poker and they will not allow Americans or anyone in America to play. I am not American, but in the US often and I want to be able to play while I am there. If they see you are from a US IP address you can't even log in.

    If they do NOT see because you are using some kind of remote connection or VPN but then it somehow falters and they see that you are in the USA, you can have your account permanently closed.

    So I need a way to log on to Party Poker from the USA in a way that has no risk of them seeing I am in the USA and also in a way that keeps the connection fast enough to play. It certainly isn't overly resource intensive or anything but just requires moderate speeds to work properly.

    What are your thoughts?
     
  2. Shyster1

    Shyster1 Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Details are always helpful; thanks!

    At the risk of being derided for citing to wikipedia, the article on remote desktop software contains a short How it Works section that captures the essence of the basic functionality:

    Basically, the traffic from your US computer to your home computer would consist of keyboard and mouse traffic from the US to home and screen images back to the US from the home computer.

    The traffic from your home computer to the Party Poker servers would literally be traffic to and from your home computer, more or less the same as if you were sitting at that computer typing on the keyboard attached to it and clicking on the mouse attached to it.

    If you set up that arrangement and then fire up a web browser on your home computer, then all of the traffic will be between that browser and the Party Poker servers. Since that browser instance will generally not be privy to the goings-on at the kernel level, it is unlikely that the browser would ever pick up any information that you've logged on remotely.

    To make things a little more secure, I would suggest that you create a brand-new user account on your home computer with very limited privileges/permissions - basically just enough to get onto the Party Poker servers. That should further limit the chances that some indication that you've logged in remotely might get out.

    you could also try some of the other remote login/admin software out there, such as logmein. I would also suggest that you avoid any unnecessary bells and whistles, such as letting the remote session have access to any local resources on your US computer, such as removable drives, the CD/DVD drive, printers, etc - just make it a stripped down remote client that does the bare minimum needed to make your home computer work remotely.
     
  3. insidemanpoker

    insidemanpoker Notebook Evangelist

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    First off, thanks a ton. I must admit I am not familiar with some aspects of this and some things I had not even considered. Like if I am remotely connected to my PC in London and then open a browser on my laptop in the US, will there be any issues? And are you basically saying the main issue is that the remotely connected computer should be logged in to an account that has no admin privileges or anything like that?

    Is the WORST case scenario that Party Poker can identify that a remote connection is being used, or is it possible they could not only tell that, but see WHERE it is coming from?

    Finally, the biggest issue I foresee with remote access is speed. Is there much lag associated with this? What internet upload and download speeds would you need for no lag at all?

    Thanks again, I really appreciate your help.
     
  4. Shyster1

    Shyster1 Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    You will definitely see speed lags, particularly if you're using RDP to connect across the Big Pond. Basically, you're setting up a two-leg transmission route on your end: first from you to your home system, and second from your home system to the Party Poker servers, rather than just the one-leg transmission route, and you're sending a lot of high-density info - the screen image - back from your home computer to your laptop.

    The main issue is not using a restricted user account - that's just a good security measure in all events, and I mentioned it largely because it's an additional measure to make sure that the user account cannot access any internal info on the home system that might divulge what other network connections are being used.

    In terms of how the connection works, you wouldn't be using a browser from your laptop in the US to access anything - at least not with the Windows built-in RDP client (other RDP solutions, like logmein, use an http connection, so you would use a browser there, but I'd rather set that aside for now to not confuse matters).

    If you were to open a browser on your laptop in the US and attempt to go to the Party Poker website, you would not be going over the RDP connection but would instead just connect directly from your laptop to the Party Poker servers - which renders the whole point moot.

    Instead, when you open an RDP connection, you get a separate application instance - not a web browser - that displays the information and screen image from your UK computer on your laptop in the US as if you were sitting at home in front of your UK computer.

    To use the RDP connection to log onto the Party Poker servers, you would then use the RDP connection to open up a web browser on your computer in the UK, which would itself then surf on over to the Party Poker website and interact with their servers.

    In that case, particularly if you're using a restricted user account, the Party Poker servers should not have any information that you, yourself, are logging into your own home computer in the UK remotely. If they can glean that information from your home computer, particularly if you're using a restricted user account, then you have bigger security issues than just trying to skirt idiotic US rules about playing poker online, because that would mean that the Party Poker servers have uploaded something to your UK home computer that is snooping around in the guts of the OS and trying to get information on any other network connections your UK home computer might have active. I'd rather go without my favorite online past-time than deal with a company that's being that sneaky and intrusive.[​IMG]
     
  5. insidemanpoker

    insidemanpoker Notebook Evangelist

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    Really seems like no good options. RDP sounds possibly too slow to actually play 4+ tables of online poker. I heard a player mention the word 'tunneling' as some solution but I have no clue what that is.

    Any ideas guys? If not tunneling, is there anything besides vpn and RDP?
     
  6. surfasb

    surfasb Titles Shmm-itles

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    It is possible to setup a SSH tunnel instead of RDP. It takes more effort though. I haven't found a good tutorial around though ...
     
  7. Shyster1

    Shyster1 Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    I still don't think that a "tunnel" solution would help the OP because that would essentially be using an indirect mechanism to connect the OP's laptop in the US with the Poker Party servers in wherever, which would more or less end up disclosing the OP's US-source IP address to the poker site servers, which is what the OP wants to avoid.

    Instead of a mechanism to get around a particular block, like a firewall (which is typically what tunneling is good for), the OP needs to find a reliable way to masquerade as someone who is not located in the US during those times that he is, in fact, located in the US.

    An anonymizing proxy might be another solution, but the problem there is the trustworthiness/reliability of the proxy you're using; some proxies are more "anonymous" than others.

    Running through a TOR router might also be feasible, depending on how the poker site servers maintain state (e.g., do they use cookies and session ids, and will they ignore multiple IP changes - I seriously doubt this latter requirement, though).

    I would still tend to think that, other than some of the more exotic means of masquerading online, using some sort of remote desktop solution would probably be best; other than Microsoft's built-in RDP, which can be rather unwieldy if you've got it set to the highest settings in terms of color, sound, visuals, etc, there are other remote desktop solutions out there that are lighter on resources.
     
  8. Thaenatos

    Thaenatos Zero Cool

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    Thats breaking the law. Sorry to point out the obvious. :p

    The only thing I would say is SSH -> VNC to a box in England and play off that. Can they catch you through that? No. Youre accessing the poker site from an English IP on the computer at home, youre just remote logged in to it. The only thing that youre sending over a US IP is the 1-9FPS from a VNC session plus SSH data and I assure you they wont be scanning those images to see if your playing poker. Will NSA and CIA scan them? Sure. But they dont give a flying whatever that youre playing poker online, rather just checking that the SSH tunnel over to england isnt a threat.

    Yeah I prefer SSH tunnel with a port forward to a local VNC box. Works great, is secure and IMHO works better then RDP.

    ssh user@ip or url -L 5900:local ip address here:5900

    That way I can securely travel through a nice SSH tunnel and only port forward on the local end. Works better for me then RDP and is alot less finicky then starting x server events if Im going to a linux box.
     
  9. downloads

    downloads No, Dee Dee, no! Super Moderator

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    Yeah. The thread was OK when it started but then it tuned into something legally questionable.
    Online gambling is illegal in the US (except New Jersey it seems)- at least for now.
    We're not going to discuss it here- there are pending cases that will decide the future shape of US law in this respect.
    As for now- thread closed.
     
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