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Configure and Troubleshoot Access to Resources (part 3) - IPSec for Securing Network Traffic on the Local LAN

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3/13/2011 10:23:55 PM

IPSec for Securing Network Traffic on the Local LAN

Now that you understand how you can securely control a user’s access to resources, you must consider the path between the user and resource server. Is it secure? How certain are you? If a bad guy has a sniffer running on the network, he can conceivably capture 100% of the data as it flows between the resource server and user. So much for permissions, huh? Vista has a tool to defend against this theft of your data while it’s in transit over the LAN. It is called IPSec.

Alert

Internet Protocol Security, or IPSec, is an authenticated, encrypted channel between two computers. The IPSec protocol is built into all Microsoft operating systems since Windows 2000, including Windows Vista.

IPSec is not available for use on Windows NT, Windows 9x, or Me.

Remember that IPSec uses UDP port 500. This port must be opened in any firewalls between the client and server computers that run IPSec.


As you can see in Figure 6, the IPSec policy is configured as filter lists and filter actions. A filter list defines what type of network traffic to apply the IPSec filter action to. The filter action is the detail of what type of security the IPSec policy implements after it has filtered and identified the desired network traffic.

Figure 6. IPSec can be configured in the Local Security Policy for a Vista computer, or it can be configured for a group of computers by using a Group Policy Object (GPO) in Active Directory.


Filter lists include settings to filter traffic by source and destination IP address, protocol type, or IP protocol port number, as shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7. IPSec filter lists can be based on a single IP address, a group of IP addresses, and several other parameters.


 Alert

Filter actions configuration includes settings for whether the IPSec Policy is to be mirrored (for inbound and outbound traffic), what type of encryption to be used, what type of integrity validations are to be performed, and the type of authentication to be used.

In addition to these settings, the filter action is used to specify whether the security settings are for all traffic that matches the filter list or only the sessions where both client and server can negotiate an agreeable IPSec configuration, as shown in Figure 8.

Figure 8. If you have an IPSec policy enabled on your Vista computer and must connect to Windows NT, Windows 9x, or Windows Me on the network, you must enable the Allow Unsecured Communication setting in the IPSec policy.


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