SecurityBrief Asia logo
Asia's leading source of cybersecurity and cyber-attack news
Story image

Types of VPN networks and how they work: Do you know which kind to use?

FYI, this story is more than a year old

No doubt you are already aware of the importance of using VPN networks to guarantee the privacy of your information. In fact, this has been one of our most repeated recommendations—we have already talked about what a VPN is, some of its uses, the most popular encryption protocols, and some of the vulnerabilities it can have in terms of remote access.

With this post our intention is to go deeper into how it works, explaining the most common types of VPN networks that can be implemented. But before we do so, it's worth taking the time to explain in detail the technique of tunneling, so that we have a better understanding of how this type of network works.

Tunneling: encapsulating data

When we talk about how a VPN works, what is really happening in the communication is that the data which is sent in this type of communication, get encapsulated by using an encrypted network protocol to travel across the communication network. This technique, known as tunneling, actually creates an encrypted communication tunnel – or channel – within a computer network.

As the important information travels encrypted within the communication's protocol data unit (PDU), all of the intermediate nodes that are involved in the communication will interact with the packet. However, de-encapsulation and decryption of the information – for it to be used – will be possible only at the end of the communication. So, the tunnel is established between the endpoints of the communication using one of the most popular encryption protocols  – SSH (Secure Sockets Layer).

Now let's look at the two most common types of VPN and their main characteristics.

Client-based VPNs

This type of VPN allows you to have a user connected to a remote network through an application that takes care of initiating the communication and establishing the VPN. To access the secure connection, the user needs to launch the application and authenticate with a username and password. This is how the encrypted channel is created between the computer and the remote network to exchange data securely.

When it comes to implementing this type of VPN, we find that operating systems like Windows and Mac, and mobile systems like Android, offer the option to configure an encrypted channel to communicate with another network based on different standards. In the case of devices from the Apple and Windows family, there are options such as L2TP (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol), PPTP, and SSTP.

This type of VPN is a simple mechanism so that users can connect their computers or mobile devices to a network that guarantees privacy of information. As such, it's a great option for employees to access their company's sensitive information while working from home or a hotel, for example.

Network-based VPNs

This approach is for when you want to connect different networks to each other through an unsecured network, mainly the internet. It's the approach taken by companies to connect the networks of different head offices that are geographically dispersed in order to share information securely. There are various types of network-based VPNs. Within this approach we can find IPsec tunnels.

IPsec tunnels are the simplest approach to a VPN, and most network firewalls and routers use them. This type of approach consists in nothing more than establishing a tunnel (by tunneling) so that all the traffic to be exchanged between the two networks travels in an encrypted form. However, this approach can also be used to encapsulate the traffic for a single device.

In this type of approach, it is necessary to establish the endpoints of the tunnel – in other words the devices responsible for encapsulating and de-encapsulating the information that travels in an encrypted form. In addition, you have to decide how to carry out authentication (passwords or certificates) and which type of traffic will flow through the tunnel.

To define which traffic can travel through the VPN, you can have policies in the IPsec tunnels to restrict the traffic that flows through them. Access control lists (ACL) are used to establish policy-based VPNs.

When this type of approach is taken, a single tunnel is established between two locations to provide access to resources and to do so in a more controlled way. For example, it could be used to give a provider or client access to a specific part of the company's information.

In contrast with policy-based IPsec tunnels, we also have route-based IPsec tunnels, which work as virtual links that enable any type of traffic to flow through them.

There is no excuse for not protecting communications

Whether you want to protect access to a work-related network while you are travelling, protect your browser data while using a public Wi-Fi network, enter websites that are blocked on geographic grounds, or get around internet censorship, using a VPN is the best option we have to guarantee that when we exchange our information it happens securely.

There are various VPN services we can use to ensure the privacy of our data. We can choose free VPNs or ones that charge a small fee. Of course, like many other services, the free options make their money by other means, often through the collection of personal and browser data.

If you combine this form of protection with an anti-malware solution, a properly configured firewall and responsible user behaviour, you can give yourself a level of security that matches the importance of your information.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Cybersecurity
Spike in demand for cybersecurity training amid skills shortage
"Organisations cannot just rely on cybersecurity professionals to safeguard the businesses’ infrastructure and protect their data."
Story image
Malware
OpenText reveals nastiest malware of 2022, with Emotet at the top
OpenText threat intelligence experts combed through the data, analysed different behaviours, and determined which malicious payloads are the nastiest.
Story image
Cybersecurity
The growing threat of CEO fraud and how to mitigate it
By posing as the CEO or other senior figures, attackers guarantee that malicious emails get employees' attention. Many employees are reluctant to question a request from their CEO, so they usually provide the information.
Story image
Security Information and Event Management
LogRhythm announces LogRhythm Axon and new solution enhancements
According to the company, Axon provides an easier way for security teams to achieve better visibility across both cloud and on-prem log sources, helping further establish a foundation for their security practices.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Swift successfully pilots its Securities View capability
The new capability significantly increases transparency in post-trade processing while preventing costly settlement fails; it will be widely available in 2023.
Story image
Ransomware
Commonwealth tackling rising cybercrime threat in Asia
Ransomware, identity theft, and virtual security attacks identified as growing threats to security and economic growth.
Story image
Microsoft
Yubico research finds concerning trends around authentication security practices
A new global survey from Yubico has found that 59% of employees still rely on usernames and passwords as the primary method to authenticate their accounts.
Story image
Apple
Jamf shows intent to acquire mobile security firm ZecOps
This acquisition positions Jamf to help IT and security teams strengthen their organisation’s mobile security posture.
Aws Marketplace
Learn how to implement a backup and recovery plan for a new generation of Kubernetes-based modern applications
Link image
Story image
Malware
Black Lotus Labs discovers new, multipurpose malware
Black Lotus Labs, the threat intelligence team at Lumen, has discovered a new, rapidly growing, multipurpose malware written in the Go programming language.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Fortinet advances AIOps to aid the hybrid workforce
"We’re continuing our commitment to AI innovation by delivering AIOps capabilities across our robust portfolio of enterprise networking technology."
Story image
Cybersecurity
Test your API Security with Infinite API Scanner
The effectiveness of API scanning technology can mean the difference between successful and unsuccessful programming outcomes, and often enterprises and IT leaders struggle to get it right.
Story image
Network Management
Fortinet introduces enhanced AIOps across its gateways
FortiAIOps builds on Fortinet's rich history of developing artificial intelligence to deliver actionable network insights for self-optimising management.
Story image
Threat intelligence
Trellix advances threat intelligence with new research centre
Trellix has announced the establishment of the Trellix Advanced Research Center to advance global threat intelligence.
Story image
Edge Security
Security practices for modernising the “spaghetti” of on-premises IT
Many organisations are wondering how to securely modernise their workload, often made up of a “spaghetti” of on-premises applications and management consoles.
Story image
Malware
Kaspersky uncovers new malicious malware NullMixer
Kaspersky researchers have uncovered a new malware stealing users credentials, address, credit card data, cryptocurrencies, and accounts.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Ransomware attacks continue to increase, report finds
Nearly a quarter of businesses have suffered a ransomware attack, with a fifth occurring in the past 12 months.
Story image
Cloud Security
75% of AU companies had cloud security incident in past year
According to new Venafi research, complexity is due to increase, as companies plan to host more applications in the cloud.
Story image
Enterprise
Delinea shares the importance of PAM, partners and security for modern enterprise
Identity-based security is becoming a crucial tool for modern enterprises as they continue to adapt to different working environments.
Story image
Distributed Denial of Service
Sysdig reveals a loss of $53 for every $1 cryptojackers gain
The 2022 Sysdig Cloud Native Threat Report breaks down supply chain attacks against containers and how geopolitical conflict influences attacker behaviours.
Story image
Cybersecurity
De-risking the innovation cycle – a modern, real-time approach to security
Many organisations see cybersecurity as an inhibitor of innovation, with burdensome protection measures standing in the way of progress and speed.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Employees unsure who to go to to report security incident
A new study shows more than 20% of the untrained global workforce do not know who to contact during a security breach.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Best practices for industrial cyber resilience
Operational technology (OT) security is gaining more attention than ever before, but sufficient understanding of what it takes to prevent breaches is still lacking amongst many organisations.
Story image
Work from home
Jamf showcases new products to simplify and secure work
At the 13th annual Jamf Nation User Conference, the company shared how its continuous product innovation is helping organisations succeed with Apple.
Story image
Microsoft
A deep dive into a Corporate Espionage operation
In the last few years, we have seen a dramatic shift in the level of sophistication of cyberattacks, mostly thanks to the introduction of the profit-sharing business model for financially motivated threat actors.
Story image
Legacy
Trellix enables greater cyber resiliency with extended XDR platform
"Legacy SIEM technology has failed to modernise security operations. We are confident Trellix XDR fills this critical gap.”
AWS Marketplace
Whitepaper: A practical guide for mitigating risk in today’s modern applications
Link image
Story image
Software-as-a-Service
Enterprises yet to fully commit to cybersecurity - CompTIA
“Digital transformation driven by cloud and mobile adoption requires a new strategic approach to cybersecurity, but this poses significant challenges."
Story image
Virtual Private Network
95% of organisation rely on VPN as threats continue - report
There is a growing number of VPN-specific security threats and a need for Zero Trust security architecture in enterprise-level organisations.
Story image
Data Protection
99% of security experts unhappy with tokenisation investment
Cybersecurity experts are looking for a solution that provides the strength of tokenisation while removing the friction that has accompanied it in the past.
Story image
Partner Programmes
Trellix set to launch new unified partner program in 2023
"We co-developed the Xtend program with our partners to create the right business model for deploying Trellix XDR."
Story image
Cloud
How modern IT architectures are moving beyond network visibility
Dealing with multiple cloud providers makes it difficult to identify security threats and performance bottlenecks and troubleshoot issues.
Story image
Malware
Mandiant uncovers malware ecosystem deployed on VMware hypervisors and guest systems
Mandiant research has uncovered a novel malware ecosystem that was found deployed on VMware hypervisors and guest systems by an advanced and suspected China nexus threat actor.
Story image
Malware
Decrease in malware volume, but surge in encrypted malware
The Q2 Internet Security Report found office exploits continue to spread more than any other category of malware.
Story image
Data Protection
Cloudflare brings Data Localisation Suite to more APAC businesses
This allows any business in these countries to service their data locally while benefiting from the speed, security, and scalability of Cloudflare’s global network.
Story image
Software-as-a-Service
Varonis adds secrets discovery to data classification
The data security firm announces enhancements that detect and remediate overexposed private keys, encryption certificates, API keys, and authentication tokens.
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
Hybrid cloud security driving need for deep observability
Gigamon is bringing application and network-level intelligence together to help network, security, and cloud IT operations teams eliminate security blind spots.
Story image
Firewall
Barracuda accelerates growth in its data protection business
Barracuda cloud-to-cloud backup protects against evolving cyber threats, such as ransomware, and is now transactable in the Azure Marketplace.
Story image
Kaspersky
Cybersecurity loopholes prevalent in South East Asia
In terms of the share of vulnerabilities with publicly available exploits, three countries out of top five are located in Southeast Asia.
Story image
Mobile Device Management
How to easily scale your mobile workforce and devices for the peak shopping season
Retailers are under constant pressure to streamline processes and become more efficient while looking for ways to improve customer satisfaction levels.
Story image
Firewall
Forrester names Akamai as web application firewall leader
"We continually monitor and improve our capabilities to defend customers from new threats, while enabling customers to protect evolving attack surfaces."
Story image
Ransomware
Delinea updates DevOps security, remote access more seamless
New enhancements include development support on the most recent Mac computers and improved secrets' management usability through automation.