Saturday, July 11, 2015

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Virtual Private Network (VPN) is defined as network connectivity deployed on a
shared infrastructure with the same policies and security as a private network.
A VPN can be between two end systems, or it can be between two or more
A VPN can be built using tunnels and encryption. VPNs can occur at any layer
of the OSI protocol stack.
A VPN is an alternative WAN infrastructure that replaces or augments existing
private networks that use leased-line or enterprise-owned Frame Relay or ATM

VPNs provide three critical functions:
Confidentiality (encryption) – The sender can encrypt the packets before
transmitting them across a network.
– By doing so, no one can access the communication without permission.
– If intercepted, the communications cannot be read.
Data integrity – The receiver can verify that the data was transmitted through
the Internet without being altered.
Origin authentication – The receiver can authenticate the source of the
packet, guaranteeing and certifying the source of the information.

VPN Overview

The primary benefits include:
VPNs offer lower cost than private networks.
– LAN-to-LAN connectivity costs are typically reduced by 20 to 40 percent over
domestic leased-line networks.
VPNs offer flexibility for enabling the Internet economy.
– VPNs are inherently more flexible and scalable network architectures than classic
VPNs offer simplified management burdens compared to owning and
operating a private network infrastructure.
VPNs provide tunneled network topologies that reduce management
– An IP backbone eliminates static permanent virtual circuits (PVCs) associated
with connection-oriented protocols such as Frame Relay and ATM.

Encryption Algorithms

Common Symmetrical algorithms
– 56 bit Data Encryption Standard (DES)
– 168 bit 3DES, “triple DES”
– 128 or 256 bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)

Advantages of Symmetrical algorithms
– Speed, fast
– Mathematical computations are easy to implement in hardware
– Good for large amounts of data

Disadvantage of Symmetrical algorithms
– Sender and receiver share same passwords.
– There is the problem of how to share the password (key management)

Common Asymmetrical algorithms
– RSA, ElGamal, eliptic curves

Advantages of Asymmetrical algorithms
– No problems with key management, one key is kept private and the other key is
public and given to anyone that needs to encrypt data.
– Great for authentication because you are the only one with the private key used to
decrypt the data.
– Can be used for digital signatures, authenticated key exchanges, email or small
amounts of data.
– Based on very hard mathematical equations.

Disadvantage of Asymmetrical algorithms
– Slower in encrypting than symmetrical algorithms

 Some qualities to consider in a good encryption algorithm:
– Security against cryptographic attacks
– Scalable, variable length keys
– Any change to the clear-text input should result in a large change to the
encrypted output
– No restrictions on import of export



Symmetrical algorithm – A shared key algorithm that is used to
encrypt and decrypt a message.
– Use the same key to encrypt and decrypt the message.
Asymmetrical algorithm – Uses a pair of keys to secure encrypt and
decrypt a message.
– Uses one key to encrypt and a different, but related, key to decrypt.


Hashing is used for data integrity.
Hashing algorithms is a one-way algorithm that produces a fixed-length
output, no matter what the size of the input is.
– Blender with 3 small oranges and 3 big oranges
– Blend it and make one cup of juice
– Your neighbor can do the exact same thing
– You can never reverse-engineer the output to get the input.
– You can’t determine that 3 big and 3 small oranges were used to make the one
glass of juice.

Two common hashing algorithms:
– MD5: fixed-length 128 bit output
– SHA-1: fixed-length 160 bit output (preferred, less likely to result in a collision
(two different inputs giving the same output).
Qualities in a good hashing algorithm:
– High resistance to cryptographic attack
– Any change to the clear-text input results in a large change in the encrypted
– The probability of collision is low.

Diffie-Hellman algorithm

In a VPN network, fast, strong encryption is a must.
This is why most implementations use a symmetrical algorithm to do payload
Problem with symmetrical algorithms is key management.
Diffie-Hellman helps solve this.
Used for automatic secure key exchange of symmetrical “shared” keys (and
other types of keys) across an insecure network for IPSec.

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