Risks of Self Configuring a VPN on Mac

A VPN is a tool that provides protection for data while it is in transit from the point of origin to destination. It creates a tunnel for data to pass through an open network to eliminate the threat of the data being stolen or hacked by criminal activity.

For Mac users, finding a reliable VPN provider or tool is not always an easy task. Most VPNs are designed to monitor and protect activity on Windows computers. The reason for this is that the companies that VPN providers offer services for use Windows-based computer networks far more than Mac-based computer networks.

Therefore, the demand for Mac-based VPN services is not as high as Windows-based services.

Accessing a Network with a Mac Computer

Once data travels from its point of origin to its destination, the VPN can no longer control what happens to the data if someone accesses it. Thus, users that download data from a personal Mac on a company’s network can manipulate or share the data at will with little to no corporate regulation or accountability.

Since VPN access is restricted to company-provided devices, companies must choose if they will allow workers to access the VPN network through a personal Mac computer. And, if so, they must also decide at what level of security they will allow access. For instance, a provider can configure the VPN to allow access to low-security systems, but not to more central critical systems.

The question that developers ask, however, is how effective a VPN is in controlling access to critical systems when a user plugs into the system with a Mac. Can the VPN prevent access at critical points?

VPN Mac Support

Another issue that arises with Mac-related security is the question of VPN support. Although VPNs can support Mac computers, they may not have the capability to monitor activity on a Mac to the same extent as a Windows computer.

VPN providers must have the knowledge and experience necessary to configure their virtual private network with a Mac. If a VPN company does not hire an engineer with Mac knowledge, it won’t be able to provide the support or monitoring necessary. This is especially true if a company’s entire network is based on Mac computers.

Distinguishing Between Channels and Devices

A VPN is designed to secure traffic between a user and a private network. It prevents hackers from accessing or tampering with data even if the user is operating from a public access Wi-Fi or a network that is not trusted.

While the VPN is effective at shielding users from an unprotected communication channel, it cannot shield users from an unprotected device. So, an unprotected device within a protected network renders the entire network vulnerable to malware or viruses. Harmful malware could easily access the network, extract VPN authentication data or copy work-related files from the unprotected Mac computer.

To go one step further, administrators have no means of monitoring the Mac computer’s activity. Therefore, they have no overview about which device accessed the network or what activity the device engaged in. There are no security updates and no audits. Thus, the VPN is not able to perform its designated function. One of the best ways to prevent this is to download Surfshark VPN for Mac (https://surfshark.com/download/macos). A VPN that is specially designed for a Mac computer can help users distinguish between channels and devices.

The VPN Client Connection is Rejected

The VPN client connection is rejected because users may incorrectly configure the routing and remote access. With the constant influx of network data, users may not be able to manage it daily to combine all the capabilities of the network management tools. Furthermore, they need extensive knowledge of how IPAM work with UDT to get the best results for the needs of the network. Not having working knowledge can cause an individual to commit several errors that lead to a wide range of problems.

A VPN provider such as Surfshark can verify that all services are operating correctly while pinging the VPN server according to the IP address of the user. Pinging the address can verify that the TCP/IP connectivity is connected and running smoothly. A VPN tech can also ping the server’s domain name (FQDN) instead of the IP address. If the ping fails but the IP address is working, then there may be other issues caused by the self-configuration. One of these issues may be linked to a DNS problem, because of the user’s inability to resolve the server’s name on the IP address. This is a common problem both with self-configuration and with trying to configure the VPN on a Mac.

Unauthorized Connections

The opposite of rejected connections is unauthorized connections. Although this problem doesn’t occur as much as rejected connection, it can allow hackers to get inside the network and intercept data in transit. It can also lead to other security issues such as gaining access to user information.

The Active Directory Users and Computers dial-in tab gives users an option to control all access including remote access from other networks. This option is what ultimately allows the VPN to connect to the network.

However, if not configured correctly, this option will also allow remote access from unauthorized users. These problems regularly exist on Mac computers through the Active Directory Users and Computers console. Therefore, when a user connects to a network via a Mac computer, they have access to the entire network. An experience VPN provider can both control and monitor this activity so that these problems do not occur.

Inability to Get Beyond the Server to Access Locations

Another common Mac-related VPN problem is that an authorized user established a successful connection but cannot access any destination beyond the VPN. The most logical explanation is that the user was not granted access to certain areas of the network or the entire network.

Another explanation is that the user doesn’t understand the VPN settings or that they are not compatible with the Mac due to routing issues. If a user is dialing directly to the VPN server, they may be unable to configure a static route between the computer and the server. While Windows-based networks rarely experience this problem, they can frequently happen on a Mac.

If a user is using a DHCP server to assign IP addresses to the clients, there are a couple of other problems that could cause users to get past the VPN. The first problem is having a duplicate IP address. The VPN provider can detect the duplicate, but a user that is trying to self-configure the VPN on a Mac may not be able to detect it. The DHCP server may also be unable to assign an IP address on the computer.

The best way to solve these problems is to use a VPN provider that can establish regulations and settings to prevent users from logging on to a network. A VPN provider such as Surfshark can help Mac users configure a VPN to establish a secure connection without any problems.