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The Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) is a method for implementing virtual private networks. The PPTP specification does not describe encryption or authentication features and relies on the Point-to-Point Protocol being tunneled to implement security functionality. This protocol has only the capability to encrypt data with 128-bit so it ensures low security.

The intended use of this protocol is to provide security levels and remote access levels comparable with typical VPN products. PPTP has been the subject of many security analyses and serious security vulnerabilities have been found in the protocol. The known vulnerabilities relate to the underlying PPP authentication protocols used, the design of the MPPE protocol as well as the integration between MPPE and PPP authentication for session key establishment.

Knowing that PPTP was insecure anyway, it came as no surprise to anybody that the NSA almost certainly decrypts PPTP encrypted communications as standard.

Pros:

  • client built-in to just about all platforms
  • very easy to set up
  • fast

Cons:

  • not at all secure (the vulnerable MS CHAPv2 authentication is still the most common in use)
  • relatively easy to compromise

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