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Apple forced to change VPN On Demand for iOS due to lawsuit from VirnetX

Apple has announced changes to their VPN on Demand service for iOS devices following a lawsuit by VirnetX. The changes will only effect devices using iOS 6.1 or later. The move come on the heels of a US$368 million ruling against Apple, where a federal jury found the company had violated VirnetX patents. The lawsuit stems from Apple's FaceTime software, arguably among their most popular features.

The same day the $368 million decision was passed, VirnetX filed another lawsuit against Apple, this time aiming for a judgment that includes products that were not released when the original case was filed.

Apple has released the following explanation of the changes via their support network.

Devices using iOS 6.1 and later with VPN On Demand configured to "Always" will behave as if they were configured with the "Establish if needed" option. The device will establish a VPN On Demand connection only if it is unable to resolve the DNS name of the host it is trying to reach. This change will be distributed in an update later this month. If the name of a host can be resolved without a VPN connection, you may see one of the following behaviors:
  • If the host is a web server that presents different content to internal and external users, the VPN On Demand connection will not be established and you will see the external content.
  • If the host is a web or mail server that has a name that can be resolved externally but cannot be contacted externally, the VPN On Demand connection will not be established and you will not be able to connect to the server.
  • If you are using a public DNS service that provides an alternative IP address for hosts that it cannot resolve, the VPN On Demand connection will not be established and you will not be able to connect to the server.
  • If you are using a VPN configuration that includes wildcard entries (such as *.com) that match top-level domains that are publicly accessible, the VPN On Demand connection will not be established when you contact hosts in those domains.


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Apple has announced changes to their VPN on Demand service for iOS devices following a lawsuit by VirnetX. The changes will only...