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Virtual Private Networks, Second Edition by Paul Wolfe, Charlie Scott, Mike Erwin

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AltaVista Tunnel Limitations

While it includes a full-featured tunnel setup, the AltaVista Tunnel still has a few limitations that may render it inappropriate for some enterprises needing a virtual private network.

Platform Limitations

Given its limited support of platforms, AltaVista Tunnel is definitely not the answer for the enterprise with a mix of operating systems. AltaVista has released a Telecommuter client package for the MacOS, though there is no mention of this release on their tunnel web site. However, a demo copy of the Mac Telecommuter Client software is available for download at the AltaVista Tunnel 98 site listed at the beginning of this chapter. No versions have been announced for flavors of Unix other than Digital Unix, and AltaVista has gone so far as to drop support for both BSD/OS and FreeBSD in this revision of their software.

Security Drawbacks of User Authentication

Though the security features are one of the most powerful aspects of the AltaVista Tunnel, user-based authentication still poses some security concerns. In order to provide the flexibility to log in from anywhere, the product removes one of the most common types of authentication normally used by VPNs: checking the incoming IP address. Network administrators, already burdened with users losing or compromising passwords to the system, must stress extra care in protecting generated keys, tunnel user group names, and passwords; these are the only factors by which AltaVista Tunnel verifies its connections. ...

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