VPN on iOS - app restart needed?
January 10, 2011 5:56 PM   Subscribe

Sort of interesting Apple security question: I have a VPN that I trust. When I use an iOS device (4.2.1 on iPad or 3GS) I often have Safari running most of the time. If I use Safari for an innocuous task, background it, initiate a VPN connection, and then go back to Safari to use eg. internet banking, does my web traffic pass through the VPN, or should I "kill" Safari and restart it? I use IP-restricted academic journal access sometimes and have noticed I have to restart Safari sometimes to be allowed to see articles, and it got me wondering. Clever paranoid opinions much appreciated!
posted by cromagnon to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It depends on the VPN you're connecting to, and how it's configured. Most VPNs can be configured to route all your traffic through them, or to just route certain networks (i.e., the ones they're in front of).

The best way to test this would be to visit one of the many IP-checker websites out there (I run my own here) before and after you connect to the VPN. If the results differ, your web traffic is passing through the VPN.
posted by odinsdream at 6:15 PM on January 10, 2011

if you have "send all traffic" enabled in the VPN config, then everything should start using the VPN as soon as you connect... if you don't have that setting enabled, then only sites that must use the VPN will use it and general web access won't...

when you say "I have to restart Safari sometimes to be allowed to see articles", is that when you've gone to view something without enabling the VPN, got a rejection message, enabled the VPN, and got the rejection message again? in that case I'd guess that the displayed message is (sometimes) cached and restarting safari clears that out...
posted by russm at 6:32 PM on January 10, 2011

Looks as though, at least on a cisco VPN, that http traffic is switched to the VPN immediately, without a restart. This implies cache behaviour was to blame for the article problems. Thanks, both!
posted by cromagnon at 10:07 AM on January 11, 2011

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