Count this question as part of my ignorance on how authentication scheme is done on your typical VPN session. But here goes:
We often advise the security-conscious user that if one must use an unsecured public wifi connection (say, at an airport, internet cafe, restaurant, etc), then always connect to a private VPN. This will allow the user to connect and surf from a trusted network with all traffic being encrypted.
My question is this: The connection/authentication process. Sure, VPN offers more security. But if someone with a packet sniffer (such as wireshark) somehow intercepts my attempt to log in, does typical VPN usage include authentication security over the air?
UPDATE: In otherwords, is it standard that part of the VPN authentication process includes encrypting the username/password combination from the client prior to sending over the air? If the intent is to protect the user from MIM-attack, this could be a weak point.
If my question seems odd in any way, again, this is my attempt to be more educated on how this step in communications security over wifi can work. I feel the question assumes some kind of modular encryption scheme being built-in to the authentication routine to secure traffic before a VPN session even begins. It basically boils down to: is encryption applied at this stage, and if so, what kind?
And thanks, guys. You're the best.