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Objective 4.04 Describe the purpose, advantages, and use cases of IPsec and SSL VPN

Internet Protocol Security (IPsec

Is a technology protocol suite for securing Internet Protocol (IP) communications by authenticating and/or encrypting each IP packet of a communication session. IPsec also includes protocols for establishing mutual authentication between agents at the beginning of the session and negotiation of cryptographic keys to be used during the session.
IPsec is an end-to-end security scheme operating in the Internet Layer of the Internet Protocol Suite. It can be used in protecting data flows between a pair of hosts (host-to-host), between a pair of security gateways (network-to-network), or between a security gateway and a host (network-to-host).
Some other Internet security systems in widespread use, such as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Shell (SSH), operate in the upper layers of the TCP/IP model. In the past, the use of TLS/SSL had to be designed into an application to protect application protocols. In contrast, since day one, applications did not need to be specifically designed to use IPsec. Hence, IPsec protects any application traffic across an IP network.

Common IPsec VPN Issues

SSL VPN

An SSL VPN (Secure Sockets Layer virtual private network) is a form of VPN that can be used with a standard Web browser. In contrast to the traditional Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) VPN, an SSL VPN does not require the installation of specialized client software on the end user’s computer. It’s used to give remote users with access to Web applications, client/server applications and internal network connections.

A virtual private network (VPN) provides a secure communications mechanism for data and other information transmitted between two endpoints. An SSL VPN consists of one or more VPN devices to which the user connects by using his Web browser. The traffic between the Web browser and the SSL VPN device is encrypted with the SSL protocol or its successor, the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol.
An SSL VPN offers versatility, ease of use and granular control for a range of users on a variety of computers, accessing resources from many locations. There are two major types of SSL VPNs:

  • SSL Portal VPN: This type of SSL VPN allows for a single SSL connection to a Web site so the end user can securely access multiple network services. The site is called a portal because it is one door (a single page) that leads to many other resources. The remote user accesses the SSL VPN gateway using any modern Web browser, identifies himself or herself to the gateway using an authentication method supported by the gateway and is then presented with a Web page that acts as the portal to the other services.
  • SSL Tunnel VPN: This type of SSL VPN allows a Web browser to securely access multiple network services, including applications and protocols that are not Web-based, through a tunnel that is running under SSL. SSL tunnel VPNs require that the Web browser be able to handle active content, which allows them to provide functionality that is not accessible to SSL portal VPNs. Examples of active content include Java, JavaScript, Active X, or Flash applications or plug-ins.

Advantages and Risks of SSL VPN

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