theDocumentId => 1335833 7 Ways VPNs Can Turn from Ally to Threat

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9/21/2019
09:00 AM

7 Ways VPNs Can Turn from Ally to Threat

VPNs are critical pieces of the security infrastructure, but they can be vulnerable, hackable, and weaponized against you. Here are seven things to be aware of before you ignore your VPN.
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Weak Encryption
It's not hard to find people worried that quantum computing will wreak havoc on the world of encryption. But you don't have to wait for quantum computing's powerful brute-force capabilities to be frightened about breakable encryption - you just have to use a VPN employing an older, breakable encryption algorithm.
The VPN market is littered with the remains of encryption algorithms once thought safe but now known to be vulnerable. From DES and 3DES to SHA-1 and RSA (with small keys), algorithms have been shown to have either algorithmic flaws or a susceptibility to brute-force methods. Other products use proprietary encryption methods that promise super-double-plus ninja-grade security, but can offer no rigorous test results to prove their claims.
Security teams should look for VPNs using known-good encryption algorithms such as AES, elliptic-curve Diffie-Hellman (ECDH), SHA-256 (or greater), or RSA with a 1536- or 2048-bit key. It's important to note that a strong encryption algorithm can be wrecked by a poor implementation - random-number generators are a regular source of woe. As always, teams should keep up with patches and updates for the products in use so that any problems that are found and fixed can be remediated in the field.
(Image: Faithie via Adobe Stock)

Weak Encryption

It's not hard to find people worried that quantum computing will wreak havoc on the world of encryption. But you don't have to wait for quantum computing's powerful brute-force capabilities to be frightened about breakable encryption you just have to use a VPN employing an older, breakable encryption algorithm.

The VPN market is littered with the remains of encryption algorithms once thought safe but now known to be vulnerable. From DES and 3DES to SHA-1 and RSA (with small keys), algorithms have been shown to have either algorithmic flaws or a susceptibility to brute-force methods. Other products use proprietary encryption methods that promise super-double-plus ninja-grade security, but can offer no rigorous test results to prove their claims.

Security teams should look for VPNs using known-good encryption algorithms such as AES, elliptic-curve Diffie-Hellman (ECDH), SHA-256 (or greater), or RSA with a 1536- or 2048-bit key. It's important to note that a strong encryption algorithm can be wrecked by a poor implementation random-number generators are a regular source of woe. As always, teams should keep up with patches and updates for the products in use so that any problems that are found and fixed can be remediated in the field.

(Image: Faithie via Adobe Stock)

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Moral_Monster
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Moral_Monster,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/22/2019 | 6:47:18 AM
VPN Risks

In most cases I tend to think that the problem is that loose nut behind the keyboard, But each of these are problems that land right in the lap of IT. But is there a site that will give you the straight poop on the different VPN Providers? Until you develop a relationship with your provider the sales weasels will be quick to tell you "Sure we do. Everything is fine.".

repogos
50%
50%
repogos,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/23/2019 | 6:05:28 AM
with all
does with happen with every vpn and for paid one?
rnolan
100%
0%
rnolan,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/30/2019 | 11:52:04 PM
Re: VPN Risks
I'm a bit bemused why most of these services are called VPNs when they are fundamentally just anonymising services (proxys).  A VPN (used to mean) point to "end" point (end to end encryption).  I supose you could call the eco system on the user side of the proxy a private logical network providing some protection from public WiFi etc.  More worrying is the claims made by companies like Nord that using their service protects your data/privacy etc.  It doesn't offer any protection from the proxy to where you are surfing other than hiding your IP address. Obviously if the site you are accessing is a HTTPS/TLS site this will afford some protection but the "VPN" service advertised doesn't.  Moreover, these services provide a perfect man in the middle opportunity and, depending where they are located (i.e. anywhere in the cloud) no regulatory/legal oversight or protection.
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