Nokia secures browser-accessible VPNs

The maker of telecommunications gear moves into browser-based virtual private networks with new products that let companies offer secure Web browser access to internal networks.

Robert Lemos
Robert Lemos Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Robert Lemos
covers viruses, worms and other security threats.
Telecommunications-equipment maker Nokia ventured into browser-based virtual private networks on Monday with new software and an appliance that lets companies offer secure Web browser access to their internal networks.

Called the Nokia Secure Access System, the software and network appliance use the communications encryption--known as the Secure Sockets Layer or SSL--found in all browsers to scramble data between a remote user's PC and the company's internal network, ensuring privacy. The software can also check the computer from which a user tries to connect and evaluate how much the system should be trusted.

"When you log in from your (company) laptop, we could give you full access," said Dan MacDonald, vice president of product management for Nokia. "If you logged in from home, we could limit your access, and if you connect from an Internet cafe, we might not give you any access at all."

Nokia's newest product adds to the company's standard VPN system that requires special software on remote machines. The company joins a growing list of security companies--including Aventail, Neoteris and Nortel--that offer SSL virtual private networking as an alternative to standard VPNs.

The Secure Access System lets a company scan any system that tries to connect to its internal network. The company can then deny access to computers that don't have certain security measures in place.

The new product augments Nokia's current line of standard VPN devices, which implement Internet protocol security, or IPSec.