Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Stronger IPsec VPN Configurations Needed


he use of IPsec is pervasive throughout the networking industry. However, many organizations are using IPsec in sub-optimal configurations that result in weaker connection security. Many organizations use IPsec with pre-shared keys and weak encryption algorithms and no form of authentication. Organizations should reconsider how they are using IPsec to ensure it provides maximum security for their organization's private communications.
Virtually all network professionals are familiar with the Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) standard. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) created IPsec as a method to secure end-to-end IP communications by providing confidentiality, authenticity and integrity of the data. Originally, IPsec was a method of authenticating and encrypting IPv6 packets. However, it was such a great idea that it was also applied to IPv4.
Many organizations rely on IPsec to secure external communications to prevent against eavesdropping of the embedded application data. IPsec can provide data origin authentication, replay protection, confidentiality, connectionless integrity and access control. IPsec helps prevent against eavesdropping, replay and spoofed packet attacks, Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attacks and Denial of Service (DoS) attacks. IPsec can perform all of these functions provided IPsec has been implemented correctly by the manufacturer and the administrator has configured in properly on their equipment and in their software. However, the unfortunately truth is that many organizations have not established their IPsec deployments using the industry best practices.
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