Presented by Daniel Lenski, PhD
Virtual private network (VPN) software creates a connection between peers across a wide-area network (normally, the Internet!) and builds an encrypted tunnel that behaves like a direct connection to the same local, private network. VPNs have become a pervasive feature of modern workplaces, and even more indispensable in this era of COVID-19 and widespread remote work.
The most widely-deployed VPN client and server software in workplace environments — including Cisco AnyConnect, Juniper/Pulse Networks, PAN GlobalProtect, and others — is all proprietary and closed-source. These VPNs differ in idiosyncratic ways, ranging from authentication to security requirements imposed on the client computers. Combined with bugs, missing features, and often mystifyingly vague error reporting, they can be very difficult to use, especially for those who need to access multiple VPNs. Under the hood, however, they all work in extremely similar ways.Continue reading “September 2020: How VPNs Work- The Ins and Outs”