VPN Security


I have been asked to work remotely, connecting to the the work server via a VPN connection, using my Vista laptop.

I have a couple of questions:

As I understand it, when I use the computer to go on websites or use e-mail, they could *Potentially* see what I'm doing by seeing what traffic is coming from my computer. Is this correct, and if so, is there any way I can redirect the traffic through my own connection?

Secondly, whilst I'm connected to the server, can they access files on my computer? I have selected no to file sharing in the Control Panel but not sure if this is enough?

Thanks in advance for your help.
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  1. it depends how the VPN is set up.

    when i connect to my work VPN it gives me access to the shared drives and folders on the work domain but unless they have admin access or login through my VNC client they dont have access to my personal files.

    if the vpn is setup to divert all wan access via the office network then essentially all data you sent and receive will go through their network. how it works in my office.
  2. Here's a way to avoid even the possibility of the kind of the problems you're concerned about; use a second network adapter + VM!

    You install a second network adapter and run it to your router. Then install a VM application (e.g., VirtualBox), create a Windows VM (or whatever OS you want, it could even be Linux), and use that exclusively for working w/ the VPN. Or vice versa, use the VM for personal stuff, just depends on which works better for you. Now make sure the network adapter you want to use w/ the host OS has higher priority than the network adapter you want to use w/ the guest OS. Windows let’s you prioritize network adapters under Network Connections (see Advanced->Advanced Settings->Connections). And every VM lets you choose which network adapter you want to use w/ the guest OS. So now you have complete isolation.

    Now granted it takes some effort to setup, a second network adapter, and perhaps another OS license (didn’t say it was free, but maybe you already have these), but it does work. And using VirtualBox’s seamless mode, you can make the integration a bit tighter.

    You may be able to solve the problem through proper VPN configuration, manipulating routing tables, etc., or maybe not. But I just find it easier to use a VM and then it doesn’t matter. I only need the VPN for occasional file transfer and remote access anyway, not all day. May not be ideal for everyone, but it works for me.
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