With a passage of time, our privacy and security have become vulnerable. There are diverse concerns subjected to our online security. Nevertheless, we learned to cope with these issues in time. We started to adopt different techniques and used different tools to guard our privacy and security. VPN is a technology that we acknowledged at the time when we needed it the most.
Since VPN was covering our online tracks, we knew what it feels like to be anonymous; we knew what absolute freedom is. Meanwhile, cyber-goons were rigorously trying to get their hands on unconventional tools, and adopt new tricks for their new assault plans. Furthermore, vigilant agencies like NSA and GCHQ also came to rock the show with their vigor strategies and dirty surveillance plans.
I know; technological obsolescence is a bi*ch. Hence, it is time to think about your security again and upgrade the tools that used to protect us. In this post, I am not going to introduce something new. I am going to enlighten a technology that all security conscious users should have considered long ago; but, many didn’t even bother. Perhaps, it is high time to upgrade your virtual private network to SSL VPN.
SSL VPN Described
SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is a cryptographic protocol, designed to promote online freedom and secure our online interaction. Just like the preceding protocols you know of, SSL tunnels all the information you send via a secure network in order to boost data safety and security. SSL VPN is a virtual private network created by using SSL protocol. There is not much difference between a virtual private network created by using SSL or any other protocol (PPTP or L2TP/IPSec etc); but, security level of a network created by using SSL is much more sophisticated and invulnerable to breach.
All the data tunneled through a virtual private network is encrypted; but, we all know about this security measure – don’t we? SSL VPN upgrades this aspect as well. SSL VPN upgrades this security aspect as it uses X.509 certificates to facilitate data encryption which takes data security to a whole new level. Furthermore, SSL VPN allows you to establish remote-access network connections.
L2TP (Layer-to-Tunneling Protocol) is one of the most frequently used protocols by security concerned VPN users these days. Without a doubt, L2TP provides excellent security with up to 256bit encryption facilitated through IPSec. However, some VPN providers would want to you install their client software if you wish to create a VPN facilitated through L2TP (Layer-to-Tunneling Protocol).
This however is not the case with SSL VPN. Unlike other security protocols, SSL doesn’t require installation of any client software. With an ordinary web browser, you can avail every benefit associated with SSL VPN. A virtual private network created by using SSL protocol can correspond to a single or multiple devices that can be accessed simply by using a standard web browser. There are two main types of SSL VPNs that can fulfill your security needs.
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Classification of SSL VPN
SSL Portal VPN
SSL Portal VPN is one of the networks formed through Secure Socket Layer. Through this virtual private network, multiple network services can be accessed by a user though it allows single Secure Socket Layer connection. The name portal VPN quite fits this kind of network; because, it works just like a single doorway that opens to many directions. This network provides remote access via the use of a standard web browser. However, as per the security precautions, a user needs to go through sophisticated identity verification process prior accessing the gateway.
SSL Tunnel VPN
SSL Tunnel VPN is another form of networks formed via Secure Socket Layer that not only enables users to access several network services through a standard web browser but also other protocols and applications that are not web based. The process is facilitated through a tunnel formed using Secure Socket Layer that carries data request securely from one end to another of the tunnel.
Advantages of SSL VPN
There are different advantages associated with SSL VPN. The network formed by using Secure Socket Layer (SSL) provides unbeatable security and invulnerability to unauthorized assaults. It protects your precious data from the cyber-goons at every corner of this digital universe. Furthermore, through SSL, you can form a protected network between remote users along with other internal resources. In addition, this network can be accessed remotely via a standard browser.
The network formed through SSL provides much more sophisticated security than traditional encryption protocols such as L2TP/IPSec. Furthermore, you don’t need client software to configure SSL VPN. Perhaps , due to this reason, a network formed through SSL is also called Clientless or Web VPN.
You don’t to download additional files or fulfill complex requirements to create a network through SSL. Unlike preceding security protocols such as L2TP/IPSec, SSL only requires an updated browser to establish a secure network. Furthermore, SSL VPN liberates its users to choose any web browser they prefer without putting on any restriction or obligation with respect to operating system.
Disadvantages of SSL VPN
Despite of all the unbeatable benefits associated with SSL VPN, it also has a few vulnerabilities. Irrespective of its security measures, SSL network is vulnerable to spreading Spyware, Malware, Trojans, Worms and Viruses etc. SSL network can be remotely accessed by users; hence, anyremote user having a device with unequipped with necessary security instruments can spread the malicious files from local network to organization’s network. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to have an updated antivirus installed on your device if you wish to access the network.
SSL VPN’s split tunneling feature can also be exploited by hackers and cyber-goons. When any user with remote access to the network shares network traffic simultaneously with public and private networks, he presents an opportunity to hackers and cyber-goons for an assault. Hackers can execute their assaults by targeting that particular user and using him as an intermediary in the attack. Host-based firewalls serve as optimal remedy in this regard.
There are other disadvantages associated with SSL VPN as well such as lack of host security software installed on public devices, physical access concerns and keystroke logging issues. SSL VPNS can lead to leak of sensitive information from endpoints. Furthermore, SSL networks can also be victimized through man-in-the-middle hacking assaults. While establishing a network through SSL, strong user authentication may be required and meeting the standards of all other sophisticated security policies can be a hassle sometimes.
SSL VPN without a doubt is one of the most secure networks with sophisticated safety measures. Unlike the predecessors like L2TP/IPSec VPN, SSL VPN ensures maximum security with diverse additional benefits. You do not need client software to establish a network using SSL.
Nevertheless, despite of all the benefits offered by SSL VPN, there are some serious loopholes that need to be considered. SSL VPN’s strong feature is its security; ironically, this feature becomes its crucial weakness if mandatory requirements are not fulfilled or suitable precautions are not taken. In short, SSL VPN with all requirements fulfilled and all tools installed forms a network with unbeatable security.