VPN experts downplay 'splitting' headache

Tuesday, 25 February 2003, 12:23 PM EST

At a time when protecting corporate networks is paramount, many users are steering clear of a feature of IP Security VPNs called split tunneling, a move that can give a false sense that remote-access networks are more secure than they really are, experts say.

Split tunneling was created to allow Web surfing and corporate VPN access simultaneously from remote PCs. The benefit of split tunneling is that corporations can conserve bandwidth needed for Internet access at VPN hub sites and reduce the load on VPN gateways.

But with this feature, if a remote PC is connected directly to the Web and at the same time tied into the VPN, attackers coming on from the Web could commandeer the PC and gain access to the corporate network.

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