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VPN Tracker safe?
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Jul 19, 2012, 06:21 AM
 
Hey All,

My employer has requested we set up VPN access to the companies servers from home. THey want me to install a VPN client called VPN Tracker. Never heard of it as I've never needed to use a VPN before.

So, from my point of view is VPN Tracker safe?

I don't think my employer is going to spy on me or anything, but being security minded I need to know VPN Tracker won't allow them to remote view/access my machine or something.

Thanks
     
Clinically Insane
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Jul 19, 2012, 06:52 AM
 
A VPN either tunnels all of your traffic through a remote network, or adds you to a remote network so you can contact machines on the remote LAN. Traffic between your machine and the remote network is encrypted. It does not make any changes to your PC settings or anything that would permit remote access.
     
EnVoy  (op)
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Jul 19, 2012, 07:00 AM
 
Thanks.. I asked why we need to install software in stead of just using the Network Control Panel to setup a VPN, and here is the reply I got:

"the VPN doesn't use ciscoipsec or l2tp so this software is the best way to connect."

Does that sound reasonable? I find it hard to believe that the companies VPN server doesn't support these protocols..
     
Clinically Insane
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Jul 19, 2012, 09:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by EnVoy View Post
Thanks.. I asked why we need to install software in stead of just using the Network Control Panel to setup a VPN, and here is the reply I got:
"the VPN doesn't use ciscoipsec or l2tp so this software is the best way to connect."
Does that sound reasonable? I find it hard to believe that the companies VPN server doesn't support these protocols..
If it's a Microsoft VPN it may use PPTP, which I believe OS X doesn't support natively. There is also OpenVPN which OS X doesn't support natively, there are several others.

There are a bunch of different VPN "standards", it is not uncommon that you need to use a specific client to connect. I use a Juniper client for accessing a VPN run by a large organization myself. It kind of sucks that there are so many different VPN solutions out there, but c'est la vie!
     
EnVoy  (op)
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Jul 20, 2012, 08:45 AM
 
So can you explain to me how one would set up a VPN not using third party software?

Create the VPN Network Connection in the Network Panel? Then what?

My goal is to mount my works server on my machine at home and work on files. How do I have it so the mounted server goes through the VPN, and everything else does not?

Thanks
     
Clinically Insane
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Jul 20, 2012, 08:55 AM
 
Originally Posted by EnVoy View Post
So can you explain to me how one would set up a VPN not using third party software?
Create the VPN Network Connection in the Network Panel? Then what?
My goal is to mount my works server on my machine at home and work on files. How do I have it so the mounted server goes through the VPN, and everything else does not?
Thanks
If the native OS X VPN client does not support your VPN server, you can't use the built in client.

I think you need to start your research around client/server compatibility.
     
EnVoy  (op)
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Jul 20, 2012, 09:01 AM
 
Yes I will get to that, but at the moment I am just trying to grasp some basics.

How would you accomplish the goal of needing to work on files located on the server at work from home?

VPN?
Remote Management?
Log Me In?

Thanks
     
Clinically Insane
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Jul 20, 2012, 09:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by EnVoy View Post
Yes I will get to that, but at the moment I am just trying to grasp some basics.
How would you accomplish the goal of needing to work on files located on the server at work from home?
VPN?
Remote Management?
Log Me In?
Thanks
It depends.

There are a variety of ways to do that, each having their own strengths and weaknesses and differing designs, your options depend on what your server is configured to support. I'd start assessing options by first learning more about the server and what services it is running.

VPN is a part of this solution though, it is not an application designed to provide you access to stuff, it is a means for a remote network to be treated as a local one.
     
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Jul 22, 2012, 04:43 AM
 
A VPN creates an encrypted connection from your company's LAN to wherever you are, making you essentially a part of the company LAN. This means, you can access all the services that are not visible to the internet for security reasons. There are other ways to collaborate, though, Dropbox being one of them.

OS X supports a variety of VPNs out of the box: Cisco's IPSec (I've tried that, much, much better than Cisco's official client which causes even kernel panics from time to time), PPTP and L2TP over IPSec. As long as your employer uses one of those VPNs, you don't need to install any software.

Apps like VPN tracker provide easy access to VPNs that use some other standard. VPN Tracker has a very long history as an OS X app, a friend of mine was the original developer at equinox (I think he wrote it in ~2001 or so). It's a VPN app with a proven track record that is very easy to use, last time I tried.

For some of these unsupported VPNs you can compile command line utilities, and these need to be started by hand each time you want to connect to your company computers.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
EnVoy  (op)
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Jul 22, 2012, 07:49 AM
 
A VPN creates an encrypted connection from your company's LAN to wherever you are, making you essentially a part of the company LAN.
Yes, thanks, I understand this. But the VPN Tracker Software could do more than that, which is what I'm worried about.



VPN Tracker has a very long history as an OS X app, a friend of mine was the original developer at equinox (I think he wrote it in ~2001 or so). It's a VPN app with a proven track record that is very easy to use, last time I tried.
Ah, this is what I was looking to hear. Thank you.


I have since grilled the IT department, and made them understand mu concerns. They have more or less assured me it is safe.

At any rate, if anyone is interested, my concern stems from the fact my 3yr old son's identity was stolen recently. Major PIA to deal with that...
     
   
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