IN THIS CHAPTER
Understanding how VPNs operate and what they can do for you
Exploring the main types of VPN
Deciding where and how to get VPN service
Connecting to a VPN with Mac OS X
Of all the ways in which you can protect your data as it flows over the Internet, one of the most effective is a virtual private network (VPN). Although the use of VPNs is common in the corporate world — especially for telecommuters and frequent business travelers — it's much less common among home and small-business users.
That's a pity because this single tool offers eavesdropping protection for a broad range of activities (including email, web browsing, and file transfers), even if no other security measures are taken. And for anyone who must use a wireless network with no security or with only WEP encryption, it's the only reliable way to ensure that all your network traffic is secure.
This chapter explains what a VPN is, describes the various flavors in which it may appear, and explains how to use such a network with your Mac.