VPN question

Henry Spencer henry-lqW1N6Cllo0sV2N9l4h3zg at public.gmane.org
Sat Dec 20 06:44:55 UTC 2003

On Sat, 20 Dec 2003, Justin Zygmont wrote:
> Just a thought about VPN's and a hope to get back on topic to fun linux 
> things, I was wondering if anyone knows why an encrypted VPN is so 
> important using a phone line when it's usually just a point to point link 
> with no chance of interception?  

"No chance of interception" is, unfortunately, putting it much too strongly.

For one thing, it's a point-to-point link only if the phone company
chooses to do it that way.  They can easily cut a third party in on the
link.  They are known to do this for voice conversations, for quality
monitoring and for emergency break-in (if it's a major emergency and
you've just got to contact Fred and his phone line is constantly busy,
an operator can break in on his conversation and tell him he's got an
emergency call, if you can convince him/her that it's important enough). 
They probably don't for modem conversations, but it is possible.  They
certainly can do it for law-enforcement wiretaps of either.

Moreover, with modern electronics it is trivial to tap a phone line
undetectably (except for discovery of the tap by physical inspection).
It doesn't have to be the police or the Feds doing it.  It doesn't
necessarily require access to your premises.

                                                          Henry Spencer
                                                       henry-lqW1N6Cllo0sV2N9l4h3zg at public.gmane.org

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