Be my friend - Virtual Private Network (VPN)
What is VPN?
Surely you contemplated many times, how to access the files or services which are available only in the private network. If it is at all possible? Of course, it is! Internet capabilities are large enough that this service was provided by VPN protocol. It is the tunnel configured between client and server, which allows to access to private resources. The channel can be optionally compressed or encrypted for better security. We can to distinguish two types of VPN tunnels where gateway is on the end of the tunnel:
Site-to-Site: namely communication of two local networks through the Internet;
Client-to-Site: attaching a remote client or a local area network
There is also a possibility to statement Client-to-Client, or rather Peer-to-Peer, tunnel.
Why you should make friends?
VPN creates separated channel (tunnel) that are protected by appropriate security mechanisms which prevent from hacking or interception of transmitted data. The most important security mechanism used in VPN tunnels are:
- Verification of the identity of the remote user,
- Encryption of information,
- Encapsulation in IP packets
The most important advantage of VPN is that the secure transmission techniques allow remote employees to access network resources or the company`s internal databases. Thanks to specially designed protocols, like PPTP, L2TP, SSL and IPSec, the VPN tunnel can be created on operating systems like: Windows, Linux or other Unix platforms. For Linux you can use the package FreeS / WAN. In turn, PPTP and IPSec are implemented for Window.
What do opponents think?
According to skeptics use of VPN service is a ridiculous idea, not to say ill. According to them, such services do not remove the threats and only move them to another point. They claim that the idea of VPN has not been created for an anonymization or protection of outgoing calls. It is merely a side effect. VPN provides good security only for data sent inside the tunnel (i.e. we <-> server or we <-> other device within the VPN). However, the packets sent further are not more protected that our "naked" call.
What do supporters thinks?
In all this, the most surprising fact is that the VPN is a service very often used in banking applications. Personally, I met up with a situation where the bank bought the software and needed to install this software on them local machine. The bank made the machine connected to the local network available for developers and administrators of the software company via VPN tunnel. In addition, the configuration of the service is really trivial. A lot of VPN servers and clients are available on every platform (even OpenVPN and IPSec Raccoon). It remains only to install and check yourself who is right.