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A virtual private network (VPN) is a technology for using the Internet or another intermediate network to connect computers to isolated remote computer networks that would otherwise be inaccessible. A VPN provides varying levels of security so that traffic sent through the VPN connection stays isolated from other computers on the intermediate network, either through the use of a dedicated connection from one "end" of the VPN to the other, or through encryption. VPNs can connect individual users to a remote network or connect multiple networks together.
For example, users may use a VPN to connect to their work computer terminal from home and access their email, files, images, etc.
Through VPNs, users are able to access resources on remote networks, such as files, printers, databases, or internal websites. VPN remote users get the impression of being directly connected to the central network via a point-to-point link.
An image of VPN
VPN systems can be classified by:
VPNs typically require remote access to be authenticated and make use of encryption techniques to prevent disclosure of private information.
VPNs provide security through tunneling protocols and security procedures such as encryption. Their security model provides:
Secure VPN protocols include the following:
Tunnel endpoints must authenticate before secure VPN tunnels can be established.
User-created remote access VPNs may use passwords, biometrics, two-factor authentication or other cryptographic methods.
Network-to-network tunnels often use passwords or digital certificates, as they permanently store the key to allow the tunnel to establish automatically and without intervention from the user.