If you’re a gamer or a remote worker, you’ve probably heard the name of Hamachi.
People are increasingly using this VPN as a way to establish secure, encrypted connections over the internet.
However, some users may worry that their information can be stolen or if malware can get into their system via Hamachi.
Keep reading to see how Hamachi works, how it ensures your safety, and how you can use it.
Then, we’ll end the article with a few useful tips to mitigate its potential risks.
Is Hamachi Safe?
Hamachi is a safe tool for your end-to-end connections, but only as long as you invite trusted members, have a practical antivirus, and know how to use or install the software.
Introduced by LogMeIn in 2004, Hamachi is a VPN application that lets users establish secure connections and bypass restrictions even if they’re connected to a public network.
In other words, it works as a hosting server that allows remote employees, gamers, and other distant teams to share files, hold online sessions, and communicate with each other through their systems.
It uses highly secure encryption protocols, lets you manage the users and their accessibility settings, and keeps your IP address anonymous.
This zero-config VPN bypasses NAT firewalls to allow this kind of connection without any reconfiguration.
Therefore, it’s also a great solution for users who need access to blocked websites.
How Does Hamachi Work?
To demonstrate how the Hamachi server works, let’s look at a simple example:
Consider the water supply network in your city.
This is a public channel that connects houses with each other and the central water supply.
However, you can’t send liquids of your choice to your neighbors and friends or the other way around.
Now, imagine a third-party company builds a secondary path within this network, tunneling you to your friends’ house pipes.
This way, you and your friend can exchange any liquid you want, including soda, coffee, and juice, and not a single drop leaks into the outer water pipes.
Besides, it’s you who designs the pipe branches, decides what liquid you can transfer, and who can send or receive the material.
Hamachi works exactly like this third-party provider.
It allows you to create a local network on the web, so you and your peers can exchange data, share applications and files, or use each other’s peripheral devices.
The first person who installs Hamachi and creates the network will be the owner.
They can list the interface members and determine who can do what within the network.
Depending on the nature of your cooperation and level of trust, you can grant full, partial, or minimal client accessibility to different users.
You’ll have a list of names where you can view, add, or omit the participants.
You can even block a certain user, preventing them from rejoining the channel.
You’re free to create as many as 50 networks using this application, and up to 256 systems can join each network.
However, remember that all participants will need to have the Hamachi app installed on their devices.
How Does Hamachi Ensure Safety?
Hamachi creates a safe environment for all clients within the network.
How does it do that?
Let’s go back to the “pipe” example once more:
If your personalized water pipe is made of the hardest metal in the world, even the sharpest cutters cannot get through the duct, and therefore, no fluids will spill out.
Hamachi takes a similar approach to protect its clients’ personal information.
It uses AES 256-bit encryption, a security protocol usually applied in highly secure settings such as financial, political, and military-grade programs.
The P2P encryption means only the two ends of the connection (you and the listed recipients) can encrypt the messages.
This guarantees your data confidentiality and prevents unknown devices from accessing it.
It also safeguards you against cyberattacks, viruses, malware, and any other malicious attempts.
What’s more, this software masks your real IP from third-party exposure, so no one can track your online browsing habits, location, etc.
As a result, you can download prohibited material while maintaining your anonymity.
Another bonus that makes Hamachi super safe refers to its setup process.
Once you create a Hamachi account, you can send secure links to your teammates and share the channel only with them.
Not only does Hamachi keep you safe from external breaches, but it also offers user-level protection.
All the configuration settings are self-explanatory, meaning you can only grant access to particular resources on your device.
You can even differentiate members in terms of accessibility and build your own security structure.
Alternatively, you can hire a contract manager to remotely authorize or block permissions on your behalf.
Who Is Hamachi For?
Hamachi has multiple use cases, among which gaming and business purposes are the most common.
1. Hamachi for Remote Businesses
Most physical business owners use a local area network to interconnect their office computers via an ethernet cable.
It allows employers to communicate within a controlled setting, send text, voice, or video messages, and access all office resources, such as scanners, copiers, and printers.
However, since Ethernet isn’t an option for remote workers, Hamachi replicates a similar environment that works through the internet.
It lets you create mobile LAN workstations to interconnect your employees’ PCs, peripheral equipment, smartphones, and tablets.
If you have a small to medium company, this solution will work great for you.
It’s also a good alternative for corporate entities that engage in outsourcing from time to time.
2. Hamachi for Gamers
Some games are multiplayer, which means you’re not able to play them solo.
Besides, it’s a more intimate and fun way to play in teams, talk during games, and share a few cheat codes.
That’s why most hardcore gamers establish their own game rooms in a friend’s garage or basement.
However, while playing with distant friends, a physical gathering isn’t an option.
Hamachi solves the problem by giving you a local virtual setting to interact with others.
The most Hamachi aficionados are Minecraft and HOI-3 players.
3. Hamachi for Homeowners
Another use case of Hamachi is when you’re on a trip and want to access your home desktop computer remotely.
You can even use it while you’re out for a walk, dinner meeting, etc.
Many people choose this method to avoid connecting to public WiFi because they mistrust them and don’t want to expose their devices to potential malware.
Is Hamachi Free?
Hamachi provides both free and premium versions to meet its clients’ needs.
For non-commercial use, it offers free services, letting you join up to five devices.
If you’re a business, you’ll have to choose a subscription package based on your usage.
Three paid models are available:
The standard version lets you connect up to 32 computers in only one network.
The premium one covers up to 256 devices in multiple networks, as long as you pay individually for each.
The multi-network option connects 256 devices in an unlimited number of networks.
There’s also a trial version to test-drive the 256-member commercial version at no charge.
Different Types of Network in Hamachi
A unique feature you usually can’t find on other LANs is that Hamachi provides three different network styles.
You can choose either of them depending on your needs:
1. Mesh or Grid Network
In a mesh Hamachi network, all the enlisted nodes can connect and have access to each other.
Every client appears as an access point.
This network is best for open connections where you don’t intend to restrict any of the users.
You can use it for home computers, where all clients are trusted family members.
Gamers who regularly announce their game status to their peers are also good candidates for this type of network.
2. Hub-and-Spoke or Admin Network
Hub-and-Spoke topology has a “one-to-many” structure where one of the nodes serves as a hub, and others work as “spokes.”
If you compare the connection to a bike wheel, the access point sits on the central point, and other clients are on the rim of the wheel.
Each of the spokes links the hub, but they’re not connected to each other.
Any signal or data transmission between them first passes through the hub.
This is a good solution for those who have a Minecraft server.
Each node can use the server, but neither can access each other’s data or systems.
3. Gateway Network
The gateway network is a combo version of the two previous topologies.
In this network, one node (the owner) acts as a forwarding host, routing resources to the authorized systems.
The configured users can access whatever the owner has access to.
This is an awesome network for small remote offices or team members within an organization.
How to Install Hamachi
Once you open the app, Hamachi guides you through the process.
It tells you when to open a LogMeIn account, activate the interface, or set the configuration settings.
Setting it up won’t be a headache, but in case you need further instructions, here’s how to install the software on Windows and Mac operating systems:
- Go to the LogMeIn official website via a browser.
- Find the “Login” tab at the home page’s top-right and click.
- Log in using your account credentials. If you don’t have any, click “Sign Up” to make one.
You’ll only need to enter your email and password for this.
- A new page will open, through which you should select the “Add Computer” button.
- This will initiate the downloading process.
- Once finished, find the setup file either at the browser’s bottom or in the “downloads” section of your PC.
- Double-click to open the installer.
- Choose your preferred language and hit “Next.”
- Read the license section and then check the box to agree with their terms and policy.
- Click Next, choose the program location and click Next again.
- Visit Softonic, and select your preferred operating system: Linux, Mac, or Windows.
- Navigate the “Free Download” button, which appears in green.
- Click to start downloading. (Alternatively, you can download the app here.)
- Once the process completes, right-click on the file and press open to run the installer.
- Continue with the instructions to install the app.
- Once finished, you can click “sign up” to create a LogMeIn account.
How to Create a Network in Hamachi
Once successfully installed the application, it’s time to add a network with your desired settings:
- If it’s your first time running the software, press the power button to start the app.
- Go to the Network menu and hit “Add Network.”
- Give your network a name and try to memorize it since you’ll recognize the network by this name from now on.
- Select a network type (mesh, or Hub-and-Spoke, or gateway) and confirm.
Be careful because, once you select a topology for your network, you won’t be able to switch it to another type.
- Type a description for your new network, and press “Continue.”
- Choose a “Join Request” configuration, depending on your recipients and activities. (We’ll discuss how to choose it in the section below.)
- Go with the in-app tutorials to finish the process.
1. Choosing Between Join Request Options
You have three options when choosing the preferred way of adding clients:
- Accept Automatically: Everyone who joins the network via a link will be accepted automatically. If you want to choose this option, it’s better to set a strong password and share it with your clients, so you’ll prevent potential breaches.
- Manual Approval Needed: The network owner must approve every single node who wants to join the community.
- Web Only: Potential members cannot enter the channel from the clients’ nodes, but only from the web.
2. Adding Clients to a New Network
Once you have created a network, you can add members using this method:
- Find the “Networks” tab on the LogMeIn home page.
- Go to “My Networks,” choose the network on your choice, and click “Add Client.”
- Type the client’s username (make sure he/she has created a LogMeIn account and is active on the platform).
3. Removing a Client
You can manage your network members in two ways:
- Go to “My Networks” on the LogMeIn home page.
- You’ll see a list of clients and networks there.
- Select the client’s name and open the editing option.
- Unselect the networks you don’t want him/her to access.
- Tick the ones you want them to stay in.
- Save the changes.
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 of the previous method.
- This time, select the network’s name and open the editor.
- A list of network members will show up.
- Unselect the client you wish to remove.
- Save the changes.
4. Joining a Hamachi Network as a Client
If you’re a Hamachi client and not a network creator, perform the following instructions to join a network:
- Sign in to your LogMeIn account.
- Go to your “Networks” section and click “Create a new network.”
- Enter the network ID and password the owner has shared with you in the empty fields.
- Press the “Create” button.
- Depending on the network’s configuration settings, you may need to wait until the owner accepts your request.
5. Leaving a Network
As a client, you can always quit a network for whatever reason.
Just right-click on the network’s name and choose “Leave network.”
It’s as easy as leaving a chat room.
Note: You cannot leave a network if you’re its creator.
This means that a network’s ownership never transfers to another person, so if you longer need a network as an owner, you can delete it.
6. Deleting a Network
Here’s how to delete a Network:
- Go to LogMeIn and open “My Networks.”.
- Spot the Network’s name from the existing list and click “Edit.”
- You’ll see a Delete option on the Edit Network window; select it.
- Once confirmed, the network will be gone for good.
Hamachi Safety Tips
Despite all the encryption and safety measures with Hamachi, you still need to follow good security practices.
If one of your connected peers has an undiscovered or untreated virus/malware, it may spread to the other nodes in the network and affect your computer.
Here are a few recommendations to help you avoid potential security risks:
- Download the application from official and reliable websites.
- Run an antivirus app in your system and tell other clients to install one as well. (AVG, Malwarebytes, Bitdefender, and Kaspersky are good examples.)
- Use paid antivirus apps instead of free versions and ensure your account remains active.
- Upgrade the antivirus frequently.
- Don’t add strangers to your networks and only link to trusted parties.
- Run a firewall to block strangers and include exceptions for authorized members.
- Turn off Hamachi at the end of the day when you’ve finished working or playing games.
- Don’t use any malicious websites and discourage your clients from doing so.
Leave a Reply