A Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocol establishes a secure SSL VPN connection between your web browser and a remote VPN server. So, all your internet data passes through that secure connection and is shielded from prying eyes. Additionally, an SSL protocol doesn’t require for you to install client software on your computer.
To create an SSL led VPN (virtual private network) or SSL VPN connection you will need an SSL certificate. Moreover, two keys are required namely a public key and a private key. Additionally, there are two types of SSL VPN which are known as SSL Portal VPN and SSL Tunnel VPN.
What is an SSL protocol?
An SSL protocol uses end to end encryption to protect the data which transmits between your web browser and the VPN server. It was built with a purpose to secure online banking transactions and data on e-commerce platforms.
SSL is available on every modern day web browser in an Open Source form.
The employees of a company can get access to resources without compromising confidential data through the SSL protocol. The access is not only limited to office premises.
The employees would have no security problems even when working from a remote location. This is because the connection would be authenticated through the SSL protocol.
How does an SSL protocol work?
The SSL protocol protects the internet traffic through digital certificate-based authentication. It also facilitates integrity checking and confidentiality. This is done through cryptography and through the management of a Public and a Private keys.
To obtain the digital certificate, you must first communicate a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) to your server. The process will help to create a public key and a private key.
The CSR will be sent to the Certificate Authority (CA) who is the SSL Certificate issuer. This CSR would contain your public key.
The CA would verify the details and issue the certificate which will resemble your private key. The remote VPN server will match this certificate with your private key information.
After the above-stated process, you will be permitted to establish the secure connection.
How does SSL certificate create a VPN Connection?
The Connection between your browser and the server is created using an SSL Handshake. This SSL Handshake is invisible to you and happens in an instant. A Sessions key is also required along with a public and private key.
Any data which is encrypted with a public key can only be decrypted with the assistance of a private key.
Due to the encryption and decryption process utilizing a lot of computing power, they are used only to create a Sessions key during the SSL Handshake. The Sessions key would then encrypt all the data after a secure VPN connection has been established.
The Browser connects to the web server which hosts the targeted website. The browser requests the server for its SSL certificate. The server obliges and sends a copy of its certificate which also contains the server’s public key.
The Browser verifies the root certificate with a list of trusted Certificate Authorities. It checks if the certificate has expired, revoked or tampered with.
After verification, the browser will encrypt, create and send a symmetric sessions key using the server’s public key. The server will then decrypt the session’s key by using its own private key.
It will then send an acknowledgment with the session key to initiate the session. Now all the data will be transmitted with the help of the session key.
There are two types of SSL VPN, which have been explained below:
SSL portal VPN
An SSL Portal VPN allows only one VPN connection at a time to the remote websites. This is done after you log into the specified VPN portal using the pre-decided method of authentication.
The name is derived from the fact that you are provided access to it through a single web page or portal.
SSL tunnel VPN
An SSL Tunnel VPN, on the other hand, allows access to multiple networks in addition to other protocols and applications. These protocols and applications need not be on the web in the first place.
This SSL Tunnel is a circuit which is created between your computer and the VPN server. This VPN server can get access to more than one websites at a time on behalf of your computer.
The SSL Tunnel VPN demands that the browser manage active content. Additionally, it also provides functionality which is not possible through an SSL Portal VPN.
What are the advantages of an SSL VPN?
The modern computers are equipped with a Transport Layer Security (TLS) connection. This TLS connection doesn’t demand you to install a VPN client in your computer.
Additionally, the TLS connection is much more secured compared to traditional VPN Protocols. Moreover, the SSL VPN need much less overhead support, and so, the Overhead costs are low.
Additionally, it is also easy to setup and doesn’t require too much technical support. An SSL VPN is compatible with any browser, regardless of the operating systems, your computer is using.
Since the SSL VPN operate at a transport layer, the bifurcation of data becomes more natural. The internet traffic could be easily divided into one which requires tunneled paths for accessing private resources and un-tunneled paths for accessing public data.
However, they are not entirely error proof…
SSL VPN connection provides robust security and it is easy to set up. But it does come with some risks. Its VPN security is only as strong as the mode of authentication used to authenticate the users. Hackers can easily interpret simple methods based on passwords.
Additionally, the spread of Trojans, worms, and viruses is a possibility while using an SSL VPN Connection. Updated antivirus software is a must-have for any computer to prevent this virus attack. Split Tunneling is another major worry.
Split Tunneling happens when you exchange internet traffic with both the public and private networks without ensuring that all the traffic passes through the VPN tunnel first.
This would provide the attackers on the public network to get access to your computer and then use it to glance through your internal data. While there is no doubt that an SSL VPN connection comes with risks, it is without question one of the safest VPN protocols in the market.
Verify the details and issue the certificate which will resemble your private key. The remote VPN server will match this certificate with your private key information. After the above-stated process, you will be permitted to establish the secure connection.