VPN Security Flaws And Its Prevention

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) Security flaw is an alarm for the cyber world where every day something is happening. Hackers have created a hype that threatened individuals indulging in eCommerce, online shoppers, online payment sites, etc. In this article, we will reveal about different types of VPN security attacks and determine steps to prevent them.

What Is VPN?

VPN (Virtual Private Network) adds privacy and security to networks, enabling data transition across shared either private network or public network like Wi-Fi and the internet. Corporations and organizations to ensure their sensitive data frequently use VPN. VPN uses advanced encryption protocols and verify tunneling methods to enclose all online data transfers. Before thinking of VPN, some lineaments that you must have to think like user count, bandwidth amount, security, and topology and of course cost. There are mostly three types of VPN accessible in the technology market like IPSec (internet protocol security), PPTP (point to point tunneling protocol), L2TP (Layer 2 tunneling protocol) and SSL VPN.

  • IPSec (Internet Protocol Security):

IPSec furnishes essential authentication, data reliability and encryption services to protect unlawful viewing and data modification. It is limited to sending only IP packets. It uses two security protocols like AH (Authentication Header) and ESP (Encapsulated Security Payload). It applies two forms of modes like transport mode and tunneling mode. Transport mode can merely encrypt the message in data packet while tunneling mode encrypts whole data packet. It is named as a security overlay and is a costly and prolonged activity.

  • PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol):

It ties in remote client and private server over the internet. It is extensively used protocol and included in window OS. It does not offer encryption and depends on PPP (point-to-point protocol). PPTP is more rapidly and is accessible for Linux and Mac users. Microsoft created it in relationship with other technology companies. Remote users can contact a private network via PPTP with the local ISP dialing. PPTP links with a large network with the help of virtual network for each remote client.

  • L2TP (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol):

Microsoft and Cisco have developed L2TP VPN and it relies on PPP (point-to-point protocol) but lacking encryption. It offers data privacy and reliability. L2TP is used as a tunneling protocol to enclose PPP (Point-to-Point Protocol) frames to be sent out over IP, X.25, and Frame Relay or ATM networks. L2TP connections exercise the same verification mechanisms as PPP connections, for instance EAP, CHAP, MS-CHAP, PAP, and SPAP.

  • SSL VPN:

SSL VPN is a shortened form of Secure Sockets Layer virtual private network that is applied with a usual web browser. It provides remote access to web application, server applications and internal network connections. When data transfer starts between the browser and the SSL VPN, it involves an encryption to protect the data. SSL VPN applies SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or TLS (Transport Layer Security) technology to encrypt the data. In practice, some SSL VPNs may utilize a self-signed digital certificate that is not usually trusted in the majority web browsers. Therefore, users must use trusted certificate offered by major trusted certificate authorities.

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Attacks In VPN:

As VPN passes the data across the shared network, there might be a chance of attacks that puts VPN in a serious condition. Below are some main attacks involved in VPN.

  • Session Hijacking:

In this attack, hacker takes control over the connection after the authentication of client with the server. Hacker eavesdrop the session to get the details like address and sequence numbers. Then hacker can insert forged packets into the data flow. If the server assumes such request as a legitimate request then the session is held hijacked. If the connection is lost then, hacker will have to search a new session.

  • Man-in-the-Middle:

It occurs when a hacker gets involved between a client and the server communication. Hacker here makes fool by establishing a connection with the hacker’s computer instead of the intended server. Such attack is named interception attack, proxy attack, and monkey-in-the-middle attack. Hacker can insert, delete, or modify the data at the time of replying the original message. Such attack also involves ARP spoofing, MAC spoofing, DNS spoofing, DNS poisoning, etc.

Related: How To Stay Safe Against The Man-in-the-middle Attack?

  • Spoofing:

Spoofing is hardly easy to prevent and moderately detectable. It means a falsification of data includes identity source spoofing as email address, MAC address and IP address spoofing. It imitates an authorized identity and if the data is not encrypted then users can intercept and change data during transition.

  • Virus or Malware:

If the client side is infected with a virus then there is a chance of password leakage to the attacker. When an antivirus system is inactive, virus or worm can be extended rapidly to other networks.

  • DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service):

DDOS attack tries to make your network unavailable for intended users by sending numerous packets to an individual’s computer. DOS attacks come from a single location and can be prevented while Distributed denial of Service attack comes from multiple locations and it is difficult to prevent because the IP addresses of the attacker occurs from numerous locations. There are two forms of this attack one is to crash the services and the other is flood services.

General VPN security consideration:

The following is general security consideration for VPN implementation.

  • There should be a firewall protection across VPN connections.
  • Intrusion Detection or Prevention System is necessary in order to check attacks more efficiently.
  • Anti-virus software should be set up on remote clients and network servers.
  • Logging and auditing functions should be furnished to record network connections, particularly at the time of any unauthorized efforts.
  • Unsecured systems with lacking authentication should not be permitted.
  • Training should be given to network administrators, remote users, and supporting staff.
  • Security policies and guidelines must be established to control and govern VPN in an effective way.
  • It is sensible not to utilize split tunneling to access the internet or any unsecured network.

Features While Choosing VPN:

Below are some security features when organization chooses VPN product.

  • Check for strong authentication like RADIUS, smart cards, tokens, TACACS+ etc.
  • Apply trusted encryption algorithms with long key strength support for data security.
  • Check for the support of antivirus enables for detection and prevention of malware.
  • Apply sturdy default security for all administration and maintenance ports.
  • Check for site-to-site authentication support with digital certificate.

In The Final Analysis

VPN performs such a decent job to preserve businesses around the world. It is a private network made by a sole endeavor to join with its other branches and employees. From the above discussion, organization can consider some precaution steps and can avoid attacks in near future.


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