This is a guest post authored by Monte Russel.
VPN (Virtual Personal Network) is very convent way to connect while you are away from your normal network. This is a network protocol that builds a private path or tunnel from your computer to the network you want to connect to. A lot of companies utilize this protocol for their employees to connect to the business network while traveling or working from home.
As with all network devices, once you leave the safety of the local area network (LAN) and connect to the Wide Area Network (WAN) or World Wide Web (WWW) your protocol is subject to attack by the unscrupulous that inhabit the WWW. Hackers, thieves, and criminals have tools to defeat a normal VPN’s security. To be safest, you or your company should invest in a commercial VPN package.
A commercial package will have encryption as part of the VPN. With the encryption you will have two keys, a private key and a public key. Only you know the password to the private key and only the company knows the public key. For a hacker to gain access to the encrypted data you are sending back and forth on the VPN they have to crack both keys the public and the private key. By the time they have cracked the key you will have ended your session and move away from their locality. That is unless you establish your VPN and leave it on for a long period of time, a very long time. At this time the best programs that can recover passwords take anywhere from two days to a week to get the password to a 16 bit encrypted key. Newer programs use 58 bit or 64 bit encryption keys.
So now you want to know if your VPN is encrypted? Well one way to know is ask your IT department. Another is when you installed your VPN did you have a ‘Certificate’ that you had to install and then create a password? If you have a certificate and had to create a password then type random characters on the key board to create the key you have encryption.
If you don’t have encryption I suggest you contact your IT Director or Manager and find out why your VPN is open to anyone who wants to connect while you are connected. An open VPN is an invitation not only to the data you are transferring back and forth but to the sending and receiving computers. It is like an open door on a hot summer day, any thing can and will come in to the house.
About The Author: Monte Russell is a certified Systems Engineer with a degree in Computer Electronics Technology, MCSE, CNA, A+, and many commercial hardware certificates. His web site www.diy-computer-repair.com offers insight in to self computer repair. His free monthly newsletter is always intriguing and full of insights about computing. Subscribe for free at http://www.diy-computer-repair.com/newsletter-signup.html