Tag : vpn

What/Why/How – you should always use a VPN

vpn

What is a VPN? A virtual private network creates a secure tunnel between two sites via the Internet to protect your privacy. This is usually a paid service to ensure web browsing is secure and private while using public wifi or less secure wifi networks.

What happens? Your PC connects to a VPN server, and then your web traffic passes back and forth through that server. This VPN server can be located anywhere in the world whether it be the United States or Thailand. Therefore when you are surfing the web, those websites you are visiting see you as browsing from that VPN server’s geographical location, not where your laptop is really located.

Why is that important? When you are hanging out on your laptop in a public space such as a coffee shop, perusing Amazon for some deals, hackers are far less likely to be able to steal your login credentials, your credit card information, email address, or direct you to a fake banking site or other spoof. Even your internet service provider will have a hard time trying to snoop on what websites you are visiting.

Free services are offered, but they are slow with considerably less bandwidth, so pay the $5 a month and get a service of quality. Ask questions such as what kind of logging does the VPN provider do? How long do they keep information about your VPN sessions? Are they going to be recording the IP addresses you use? Answers to these questions should be taken into consideration based on how much privacy you want and need.

 


If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit: www.networkworld.com

 

Security Alert – Hide your IP Address

ipaddress

IP address is the identifier that allows information to be sent between devices on a network. It contains location information and makes devices accessible for communication. IP addresses are mathematically assigned by the Internet Assigned Names Authority (bet you didn’t know that!). This might be fine and dandy news for the non-technical, but odds are you still have no idea why hiding your IP address is advised. Since your IP has location information, it can be used to discern your physical location. The accuracy of determining your location via IP address information is actually extremely accurate. Another reason to hide your IP is the increase in cyberattacks as of late. IP addresses can often be used to target attacks.

You can also hide your IP with the goal of watching blocked content in your region.

Changing your IP can be done, but this is a more detailed process. Hiding it is a much easier option.

A Virtual Private Network creates an encrypted tunnel between your device and the service’s server rather than connecting to a website directly, adding a layer of protection. The VPN allows you to connect to the internet as normal and retrieve the information but through the tunnel created. This ensures that your web traffic cannot be intercepted, and furthermore anyone looking at the IP will only see the IP address of the VPN.

What you can also do is use a series of computers that are distributed across the globe. Rather than a request made between two points, your computer will send out layered requests that are each encrypted. You will be relayed from Tor node to Tor node before exiting the network and reaching the desired destination. Each node only knows the previous jump and the last jump. This method of Tor will make your movements much harder to track, making you much less susceptible to attack. In order to complete this method, download the Tor Browser, or talk to your IT professionals.

 

 


 

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit : www.pcmag.com

What is a VPN and Why do you need it?

VPNWhat is a VPN? A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a secure, encrypted connection between your computer and the VPN’s Server. No one can see what you do on your desktop outside of that VPN connection. This keeps you safe from Hackers and scammers looking to access your personal information. If you travel and access public Wi-Fi this is a great tool to protect you and your web traffic. I mean who doesn’t go to a Starbuck’s and immediately log into their Wi-Fi?! Without a VPN tool you are opening your personal information to a hacker or scammer just looking for a quick payday.

When choosing the right VPN tool for you and or your company do not focus on the price, look for performance, type of encryption used, support, and reputation. Once you’ve found a company that meets these requirements see If they have a free trial so you can test out their service, you don’t want to get stuck with a slow speeds and unreliable servers. In this day and age there is no reason to deal with issues like that.

Private Internet Access VPN, NordVPN, and Hotspot Shield Elite are three good VPN tools to start researching if you are interested in locking down your web traffic.

Completely secure data transfer on the way?

I recently read an article that talked about the possibility of a completely secure data transfer using quantum entanglement. Essentially what that means in terms of computer data and packets is that the data becomes correlated with each other and shares properties. Hypothetically speaking, if you send 50 packets, all packets could take the same properties of the first packet, therefore making it impossible to see what the total outcome of all 50 packets contains.

Until now, the entanglement was only controllable for up to a second, but a recent advancement at the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr institute have been able to keep this entanglement active for up to an hour. This could enable you to be able to make direct connections between two systems, and when you make a change on one end the other end will know and it can all be transferred directly over the internet.

Scientists are currently working on ways to incorporate this into both networking and the internet. Although this is cutting edge and in my honest opinion pretty cool, it may be some time before this would ever reach a PC near you.

Setting up VPN On Your iPad/iPhone

If you are interested in setting up a Cisco IPSec VPN connection on your iPad, I have detailed some instructions on doing so.

  1. On the iPad itself, go to Settings > General > Network >VPN > Add VPN Configuration.
  2. On the tabs listed, select the IPSec tab from the connection types. Note that  you see a Cisco logo present here.
  3. Now you can enter you information as provided by your network admin:
    • Description: “Work VPN” (this can be whatever you would like)
    • Server: vpn.mydomain.com (ask your IT administrator if you are not sure)
    • Account: Your network login account
    • Password: Your network login password
    • Group Name: myvpn (ask network admin
    • Secret: ******* (once again ask your network admin)

4. Now you should be able to click save up in the corner and we are almost there.

5. You should now be able to go into Settings > General > Network > VPN  and slide the VPN switch to on. Once connected, you can use your favorite RDP client and remote your network PCs.

 

Fix Cached Credentials over VPN

Ever had a remote user who uses a laptop outside of the company network and their cached credentials somehow do not work or have been lost from the cache? I recently faced this same issue and with a little advice from a colleague, I was able to successfully get the users credentials cached once again.

The way I was able to accomplish this was the fact that we had VPN setup, and since most companies have some sort of VPN for their users to access email and documents, we were able to use this to our advantage.

Essentially what I did was log onto the computer using the administrator cached credentials. Once in there I made sure the VPN connection was setup to point to my server at the main office, and I went ahead and logged in. Once in, I used a random application on the desktop (I think I used firefox), I right-clicked, and selected the run as option. When the dialogue came up, I used the end users credentials rather than my own. What this does is it will try to validate the user credentials with the domain controller because we are connected through the VPN.

Once this is done and the application opens, you can disconnect from the VPN, log off of the administrator account, and try logging on with the end user.

I was successful in my attempt and I hope you are too!

Capabilities and Limitations of the Apple iPad in a Standard Business Network Environment

The iPad is a great device. It’s light, ultra-portable, and you don’t have to take it out of your carry-on for airport security. It’s sleek and sexy. It’s remarkably versatile. Many people wonder: can I replace my Window laptop or MacBook with it? If I add a Bluetooth keyboard, is it a netbook?

You can try, but it’s like trying to get a Corvette to replace a pickup truck: they both serve the same fundamental purpose, but they each excel at different things. You can try to get your pickup up to 180 MPH, and you can try to haul a ton of bricks in your Corvette. With enough effort, “McGyver”-ing, and aftermarket accessories, you could no doubt accomplish each. But is it a good idea? And if you think it through ahead of time, do you really want to?

The longing to replace a laptop with an iPad is easy to understand. An iPad travels well. It’s simple to connect it to a Wi-Fi network, and you don’t have to wait for it to boot up. The battery lasts. When you’re not working, you can use it to play music, movies, or games. It’s a terrific reader for news and e-books. It’s a great email client for Gmail, AOL, and (if your company’s mail system supports it and the corporate policies allow it) Exchange mail, calendar, and contacts using ActiveSync.

But it’s important to remember that the iPad is NOT a laptop or a tablet PC. And, despite being an Apple product, it’s NOT a MacBook. It isn’t built on Windows or Mac OS X – its operating system (iOS) was originally developed for the iPhone. The interface uses multi-touch gestures and an accelerometer, making possible applications that can’t run on a PC or Mac. That also means that applications written for a PC or Mac can’t run on an iPad – unless the author specifically develops a version for iOS. Even then, they would need to publish their application through the Apple App Store (thus sharing their proceeds with Apple) – or you would need to jailbreak your iPad, voiding the warranty.

Importantly, the iPad (like the iPhone and iPod Touch) does NOT support Adobe Flash or Java, meaning that websites that use those technologies won’t behave as designed. Why not? Apple CEO Steve Jobs called the Adobe product insecure, buggy, battery-intensive, and incompatible with a touch interface.

The iPad is better at consuming information than it is at creating it. It’s great for creating and editing smaller emails and documents, but you’ll want a PC to create large or complex documents. Another challenge: once you’ve created or edited the smaller documents, you can email them from the iPad, but only one file per email. To send multiple files, you need to send multiple emails. This can be pretty cumbersome. You’ll note that as you explore the iPad you won’t even encounter the concept of a “file” as you would on a PC or Mac.

To think of the iPad as a replacement for a netbook, notebook, or MacBook is like thinking of the Corvette as a replacement for a Ford F350. Is it fair to call the iPad an overgrown iPhone? No. It’s a terrific multi-function device with some very valuable business purposes in specific situations. Should you expect it to behave like a Windows machine or Mac? You’ll only end up frustrated if you do.

Love the iPad for what it is, and don’t hate it for what it isn’t. And don’t expect your IT consulting company to help you make it do what it’s not designed to do – they can’t fit a ton of bricks in a Corvette, either.

So… what CAN the iPad do in a business network environment? In other words, what is reasonable to expect your company’s I.T. team to support?

  • Email access. If your company allows remote email access from a smartphone using POP or IMAP protocols, you can do it from your iPad. Note, however, that it’s up to you go get the iPad connected to the Internet on the remote Wi-Fi. If you have a 3G iPad, getting it on the Internet is strictly between you, Apple, and AT&T.
  • Calendar/Contact synchronization – if your company has a fairly new Exchange server and the network is configured to allow ActiveSync access. If you have a non-BlackBerry smartphone that wirelessly syncs Calendar/Contacts, your iPad can also.
  • Remote Desktop to a Terminal Server – if your company has a Terminal Server. If you have access using Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Connection software for either Windows or Mac, you can have access from your iPad. Be sure to get a good RDP app such as iTap RDP, which makes it easier to operate a Windows desktop from with the iPad’s smaller display, and makes the best use of the iPad’s direct manipulation and multi-touch gestures.
  • VPN access. If your company allows VPN connections from other devices, such as an IPSec VPN tunnel to a Cisco firewall or a PPTP connection to a Windows RAS Server, you can have the same connection from your iPad. You might use it to establish a Remote Desktop Connection to your office workstation, if your company’s policies allow this.

Now… what CAN’T you expect your company’s I.T. team to support? Pretty much anything not listed above. At its heart, the iPad is a consumer device, and is probably not included in the list of officially-sanctioned “clients” for your company’s server-based applications. There’s no doubt that the iPad will continue to evolve, and new apps are released every day that enhance its functionality and usefulness. But, as a mobile network device, it presents challenges in terms of data security, bandwidth usage, and compatibility. These translate into significant I.T. support costs, so don’t be too surprised if your company won’t support it.