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Assignment 1 - VPN Technologies and Security issues

Melbourne Institute of Technology

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Tasks:

A. Write a review article for the following topics depending on the last digit of your ID: select Topic 1 if it ends in an ‘odd' number or Topic 2 if it ends in an ‘even' number.

Topic 1 - Significance of VPN for contemporary organisations that have branches nationally and internationally

Topic 2 - VPN Replacement Technologies

Answer:

Abstract

The article talks about VPN or Virtual Private Network, which is a protective measure that helps to ensure that any data that is transformed from one device to a network through the internet is safely done. It helps to shield sensitive information from hackers or people who tend to eavesdrop. VPNs are widely used in the corporate offices to safeguard their data from their competitors in the market and to conduct their operations remotely.The connection through which the message or the data travels are safe and secure as it takes the path of encrypted networks that have been built over the Internet. The traffic during the voyage of data is completely private, and the user does not have to worryabout getting hacked by other users of the same network. The Virtual Private Network can be availed by mobile users, offsite employees and onsite workers. Hence, its easy availability is also one of the reasons for its widespread use in the corporate environment. VPNs is mainly a method to check the authenticity of the user of the corporate network. Several types of VPNs are in use. The article discusses the significance of virtual private networks along with the issues that it helps to resolve in an organisation.

Introduction
The virtual private network helps to connect a user from a different country to access another computer through the internet using an encrypted connection. The connection can be international, and it would seem that the user hails not from his native country but from the state to which he has connected through the VPN network. Several security problems are on the rise with the introduction of the internet and social media (Kinoshita et al. 2016). VPNs help protect the users from such issues which include the Firesheep, Wi-Fi spoofing and so on.

The encryption makes the network safe andprevents it from falling into the wrong hands. Hence, if cybercriminalstry to reach out to sensitive information of the company, they will not be able to do so. VPNs are mostly used employing two methods. They are known as trusted VPNs, and another is secure VPNs. Trusted VPNs are those where the personal circuits are provided from a legit communication provider. When the user sends secure and encrypted traffic through the use of the Internet or any public connection, it would be called as a secure VPN. Some of the times both are used together simultaneously and is known as combined network termed as hybrid VPN.

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Trusted VPNs
Trusted VPNs are widely used in ATM circuits, Multiprotocol Label Switching (MLS) and Frame relay circuits. The open system interconnection model or OSI model helps to describe an interaction prototype where protocols can be enforced according to layers, and the tackling of these various layers are interconnected that can be passed from one to another (Zhang et al. 2017). It is division fo the computer network to almost seven layers as per logarithmic progression. The upper layer looks into the network permissions and the feedback, information that is portrayed and the various forms following the perception of the user. The first layer or the lower layer accumulates the signals that are received, loads of binary data and sending this information across a large number of networks. This OSI design has helped toprovide a framework for the systems of fiber to be built and used effectively and efficiently. The seven layers from the bottom to the top are physical, data link, network, transport, session, presentation and the application layer. The frame relay and the ATM circuits function at the second layer of the OSI model, for example.

VPN Replacement Technologies.jpg

Figure: Various layers of the OSI model

Secure VPNs
The encryption in creating a secure VPN is generally done by IP security or Internet Protocol Security or IPsec using Tunnelling protocol- Layer 2. IPsec has helped to provide secure networks through two mechanisms- shielding the systems and transfer of keys of encryption (Parkin et al. 2016). Many people provide IPsec clients and servers. Even Microsoft has incorporated to point to point tunnelling (PPTP) stakeholders in a lot of types of Window like Linux and many others. PPTP has been used extensively especially because it is free and supported on many versions of Windows.

Literature Review
The top organisation and their authorities are now taking on to such techniques like VPN to secure their data and information because of the mainstream nature of most of the telecommuting processes that occur so frequently. It has been observed that people often use the benefits of free Wi-Fi that is offered at airports or some unsafe network to upload their images or essential files. But while performing such activities, there are various risks associated with it (Jain &Rathi, 2018). These unsecured free internet connections could help hackers reach essential pictures, records or information from a smart device and thus could affect the user adversely. VPN helps to solve such issues by building an extensive area network or WAN without hampering the functions of the system. It aids in the safeguarding while essential files are being shared through the internet by creating a private and secure tunnel. Businesses have begun to rely on this tactic to protect their records, plans and strategies.

The significant benefits of using Virtual Private Networks have been described as follows:

Security breach prevention: Everyone is threatened by the cybercrimes which have only increased all over the world. People do not realise yet that not only the big companies but they are at great risk of getting hacked if they do not act cautiously (Mahapatra et al. 2017). VPNs play the role of a firewall that prevents such attacks and helps the authorities to secure their data and essential records at every moment.

Security of stakeholders: Every business in the world is associated with a lot of stakeholders that they are dependent on. Hence, to safeguard their information becomes an essential process. When any sensitive information is being transferred from the clients to the companies or vice versa, VPN makes the job easier and smooth. Employees feel protected, and the company henceforth gains trust from them as they work towards the safety of keeping their data confidential.

Productivity enhancement: If the employees do not feel secure in the company they work for, it can take a toll on their mindset, and it may ultimately lead to a decrease in productivity. The organisation must act responsibly for their staff and work extra hard to keep their data and records safe and from getting mishandled.

Affordability: Prices of VPNs start from low to high range and is quite affordable. Hence, start-up businesses or developed businesses, everyone can use a virtual private network to protect themselves from fraudulent activities. Since it is budget friendly and efficient, people can have access to it whenever they need to.

Access from anywhere: If the job of an employee involves mostly travelling, the actual IP address can be replaced with a VPN of the employee's native country when he or she has a requirement. For example, Facebook is not in use in Chinese IP locations (Jyothi & Reddy, 2018). There are also some people and organisations that do not trust international emails that they receive. So, the companies use VPN so that the people can be assured that the emails or posts that they have got are genuine and belong from their country.

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Main body

The significance of VPNsis primarily understood in the corporate world where the companies are connected to their workers through the use of VPNs. A type of VPN called remote access VPN, aids in the increasing the affordability of the VPNs and thus improving the productivity of the company. The prices of the international communications are reduced to a minimum because of the existence of the VPNs (Ibrahim, 2017). But the corporations have to be careful while embedding such technology into the core of the organisation system. They need to supervise each step of the process while enforcing the use of VPN within the management. Though the VPN is incorporated as security technology within the companies at the same time, the company mustensure that the management well versus the risks that come with the technology and they take up a protective measure to shield the workers from the threats. The corporations must see to the fact that no third-party host gain the opportunity to access into the intranet that is connected between the organisation and its client. If the situation stands where the untrusted host somehow obtains the remote access, then it may result in devastating consequences. Thus, it must be made sure that the people of the company who are using the virtual private network must not keep the connection open or else the sensitive data and information of the company can be compromised and can cost the company mostly.

There are a lot of vulnerabilities that the virtual private networks have brought with it along with the benefits. As there is a threat that persists which is known as IPv6 leakage. The DNS or IPv6 leakage can happen when the service providers do not pay heed to the requests from IPv6 which will help in the identification of the VPN server to be a part of that pool. Instead, these responses are entirely ignored, and the service providers are still recognised to be in the IPv4 pool (Theodoro et al. 2015). Since the cybercriminals and hackers have become effective as well with the introduction of every development in the digital technology era, it is essential for the VPN users and clients providing the service to be extra careful or their personal data and important documents could be compromised. DNS hijacking or domain name System is another way of preying on information by the hackers. In this process, DNS is used as a location map or a phonebook which contains some browsers. When a user selects a browser, there are third-party websites which help you to direct to thenext thing that one searches for. Now, if someone uses fraud entries that point the people away from the idea that they are searching for, it may take the user to a destination which he was not aiming for. DNS hijacking also involves creating traffic in the electronic mails or website that the user is trying to gain access to. Many times it so happens that the employees access the company websites through their home VPNs. During this type of situation, a connection is established between the company website and the home VPN, and this also goes against most of the firewall regulations as the connection was developed from the inside (Danilova, 2015). An unknown connection like this one could risk the business of the organisation and lead to adverse results. The employees also must follow certain norms and policies so that as the companies protect their workers' information, they also shield the company's records and documents from getting revealed to untrusted networks.

Such techniques are quite standard in daily surfing.The researchers have tried to study how vulnerable the networks are in spite of using VPNs. They performed two sorts of cyber-attacks- DNS hijacking and Passive supervision. DNS hijacking involved that the user would be redirected to a different website that would be controlled by the hacker. The malicious site would look like the same as that of a genuine site. The results were shocking because it was found out that approximately eighty per cent server providers were leaking data which comprises of the user's access to the actual websites and the original content of that website. As per the same reports, it has been identified that people using Android are more prone to leakage of data than iOS users (Nath & Noman, 2015). Some traditional tunnelling networks like PPTP,which has been mentioned before, are still in usage by the VPN service providers and hence this comes at a significant cost for the users. As stated by (), VPNs were not introduced in the digital world to embark privacy but to securely transfer sensitive information within the interconnected framework within a business or a corporation. Therefore, there are techniques which can perforate the VPN network system and result in the occurrence of cybercrimes.

These revelations indicate that to what extent the VPNs are vulnerable. The identification of the users is thus at high risk, and it is necessary to take steps that might help to resolve these concerns. The issues have been worked on by many researchers while simultaneously carrying out surveys to aim for a positive result. It must be ensured that the use of virtual private networks help to keep the communication private or else it would lose its significance and only become a medium where hackers can have chances to infiltrate the connection. There are also some high-level organisations like Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and National Security Agency (NSA) who uses techniques like malware usage to access information that may help in the infiltration by the government authorities (Jabbar, 2016). There is always a chance that the virtual private networks can help to extract the browser records of the user without undergoing too many hurdles.

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Conclusion

From the study, it can be concluded that the emergence of the virtual private networks has helped the corporate companies to create a shield of protection around them. But they need to realise thattechnology comes with a lot of shortcomings as well. There are a lot of benefits that VPNs provide- they provide security, increase productivity and access a website from anywhere in the world which makes the business much easier for the management as well as the employees. The study also identifies the various types of leakages that can occur while sending any information from the network to a smart device. It is also needed to ensure that when the company adopts VPN security technology, they must keep it under constant surveillance. The company before implementing this strategy must carefully evaluate as to how to minimise the risks and threats of cybercrimes can be reduced to a minimum level. VPN usage occurs by transferring important data through encrypted networks but if these encryptions are somehow compromised and there are mechanisms by which third-party hosts can gain access to the connection, and it might ultimately result in adverse outcomes.

Future Works

In the coming years, the cyber crimes will continue to increase and hence, what the organisations must do is create security policies before implementing such technology within the framework of the company. The affordability of VPNs has made its usage increasing popular, but the risks that it brings with it must not be ignored (Sparrow et al. 2016, November).The research has shown that high threat persists with VPN networks. Users are always at the verge of getting exposed and their connection getting compromised. According to some people, the future will see their increased usage to protect the documents and information of the corporate organisation. Research also says that people take this VPN to be a private network, but it is not so. According to Sparrow et al. (2016, November), studies are still being done to minimise the risks of VPNs so that the firms can feel secure while providing their data to clients or when their employees are handling their personal information or while working from their home.

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B. Presentation

Answer:

Virtual Private Networks

Abstract

  • Virtual Private Network, which is a protective measure that helps to ensure that any data transformed from one device to a network through the internet is safely done.
  • Widely used in the corporate offices to safeguard their data from their competitors in the market.
  • VPNs is mainly a method to check the authenticity of the user of the corporate network.
  • Widespread use in the corporate environment because of its affordability.

Introduction

  • Virtual private network helps to connect a user from a different country to access another computer through the internet using an encrypted connection.
  • Several security problems are on the rise with the introduction of the internet and social media (Kinoshita et al. 2016).
  • VPNs help protect the users from such issues which include the Firesheep, Wi-Fi spoofing
  • VPNs are mostly used employing two methods. They are known as trusted VPNs, and another is secure VPNs.
  • Trusted VPNs are those where the personal circuits are provided from a legit communication provider.
  • When the user sends secure and encrypted traffic through the use of the Internet or any public connection, it would be called as a secure VPN.
  • Their combined network termed as hybrid VPN.

Trusted VPNs

  • Trusted VPNs are widely used in ATM circuits, Multiprotocol Label Switching (MLS) and Frame relay circuits.
  • OSI model helps to describe an interaction prototype where protocols can be enforced according to layers, and the tackling of these various layers are interconnected that can be passed from one to another (Zhang et al. 2017)
  • The seven layers from the bottom to the top are physical, data link, network, transport, session, presentation and the application layer

Secure VPNs

  • The encryption in creating a secure VPN is generally done by IP security or Internet Protocol Security or IPsec using Tunnelling protocol- Layer 2
  • Microsoft has incorporated to point to point tunnelling (PPTP) stakeholders in a lot of types of Window like Linux and many others
  • PPTP has been used extensively especially because it is free and supported on many versions of Windows.

Literature Review

  • It has been observed that people often use the benefits of free Wi-Fi that is offered at airports or some unsafe network to upload their images or essential files.
  • Unsecured free internet connections could help hackers reach essential pictures, records or information from a smart device
  • Businesses have begun to rely on this tactic to protect their records, plans and strategies.
  • Benefits of using Virtual Private Networks- Security breach prevention, Security of stakeholders, Productivity enhancement, Access from anywhere and Affordability.
  • VPNs aids in the safeguarding while essential files are being shared through the internet by creating a private and secure tunnel.

Main Body

  • A type of VPN called remote access VPN, aids in the increasing the affordability of the VPNs and thus improving the productivity of the company.
  • Prices of the international communications are reduced to a minimum because of the existence of the VPNs (Ibrahim, 2017)
  • Thus, it must be made sure that the people of the company who are using the virtual private network must not keep the connection open.
  • The DNS or IPv6 leakage can happen when the service providers do not pay heed to the requests from IPv6 which will help in the identification of the VPN server to be a part of that pool.
  • Cybercriminals and hackers have become effective as well with the introduction of every development in the digital technology era.
  • Employees may access the company websites through their home VPNs but in this type of situation, a connection is established between the company website and the home VPN which is very risky. (Danilova, 2015).
  • The identification of the users is thus at high risk, and it is necessary to take steps that might help to resolve these concerns.
  • There are techniques which can perforate the VPN network system and result in the occurrence of cybercrimes.
  • There are also some high-level organisations like Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and National Security Agency (NSA) who uses techniques like malware usage to access information that may help in the infiltration by the government authorities (Jabbar, 2016)


Conclusion

  • The companies need to realise that technology comes with a lot of shortcomings as well.
  • There are a lot of benefits that VPNs provide- they provide security, increase productivity and access a website from anywhere in the world which makes the business much easier for the management as well as the employees.
  • If the encryptions are somehow compromised and there are mechanisms by which third-party hosts can gain access to the connection, and it might ultimately result in adverse outcomes.

Future Works

  • In the coming years, the cyber crimes will continue to increase and hence, what the organisations must do is create security policies before implementing such technology within the framework of the company.
  • Studies are still being done to minimise the risks of VPNs so that the firms can feel secure.
  • According to some people, the future will see their increased usage to protect the documents and information of the corporate organisation.
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