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VPN (Virtual Private Network)

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A VPN is a secure connection that can be made between a computer (such as a user's computer at home or off campus) and a protected or private corporate network (such as Lehigh's campus network), using an otherwise insecure public network (such as the Internet). Data passed over the public network is encapsulated (wrapped up) and encrypted (translated into a secret code) so that it can't be intercepted or tampered with. Passing data through a network without letting the network actually see the data like this is a process known as tunneling.

When a VPN connection is made between a computer and the Lehigh VPN server, that computer essentially functions as if it were actually on-campus, inside the campus firewall that protects the campus network from the Internet.