If you are not currently using a VPN ( a “Virtual Private Network” [remote server connection]) to help restore privacy to your online world, then you probably are not aware that about 20% internet users worldwide in 2016 already periodically use a VPN to help them connect to the full global internet; especially in totalitarian countries that ban such services such as youtube.
People’s motivations vary from reason to reason (and there are quite a number of good reasons; many of them we’ll cover in this article). Reasons typically vary from a desire for privacy & increased anonyminity and general security, to overcoming censorship, and even *improving* their internet connection globally as some ISP restrict, limit (or as it is termed “shape”), connection speeds to certain websites – making them less attractive to use, some ISPs block p2p (peer to peer connection such as torrents) , and some VPNs supply data buffering to help even out slower, or shaped/moderated, connections.
How did VPNs come about? In this article we will go over the history of this technology of how VPN use has generally progressed over time. In a subsequent article we’ll go more into advanced topics such as encryption.
The Beginnings of a Secure Internet
In the late 1990s, PPTP (that is “Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol”) was developed. PPTP was the first internet protocol for creating virtual networks. This is one aspect of technology Microsoft was a leader (instead of a follower or hijacker in some cases) in pioneering; as much of PTPP was initially developed in-house at Microsoft. Microsoft saw the growing need to allow internet users to have a secure/encrypted connection to work effectively and securely from home – for companies to be able to provide a work-from-anywhere infrastructure. PTPP a big milestone event and henceforth set the stage for the birth and evolution Virtual Private Networks.
Over the years, different types of VPN technology have come about. Today there are different types of VPNs (mainly Personal and Corporate) with different protocols (PPTP, OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, SoftEther, SSTP).
How does VPN security work?
A VPN is technically a WAN (Wide Area Network). the front end (that is, your browser or other connected application) retains the same functionality and appearance as it would your ISPs unsecured, point or origin, network.
You are probably wondering just how it all works. It can appear to be a complicated business, with unfamiliar words like ‘encapsulation’ and ‘tunnelling’. Don’t be scared though, using a VPN just requires a couple of mouse clicks, and sometimes, depending on your setup – a user name and or perhaps just a password to log into the remote VPN server.
You already know from having read the above, a VPN secures traffic to & from your computer straight through your ISP connection; so hackers nor creepy spies (creepies) will be able see your data or keyboard inputs while it is in transmission (and most importantly your IP address is changed to your VPN ip-address).