The history of the development of VPN services: from the beginning to the present day

The history of VPN services: from the beginning to the present

The further the Internet goes along the spiral of its development, the more obvious it becomes for both specialists and ordinary users that the anonymity of surfing the net is very important. Some want to access sites banned in their region, others — hide your identity on the World Wide Web, third — provide protection against hacker attacks and any other unauthorized access, fourth — can significantly expand the possibilities for networking. These and many other reasons largely depend on the country with which the work is carried out without the existing restrictions established at the legislative level, individual preferences. We must not forget about a fairly large category of users for whom the security and stability of outgoing traffic — one of the prerequisites for the development of professional activity. Marketers, arbitrators, SEO and SMM specialists, software testers providing — this is only a small category of those whose earnings are directly related to the Internet.

Now we are getting into more detail on how privacy, anonymity and security of networking were born, what technologies were used earlier and today to achieve the task. You can get acquainted with other aspects and technologies related to ensuring the anonymity and security of working on the Internet here.

How did traffic anonymity originate?

According to one of the latest studies, technologies such as VPN, server and mobile proxies are actively used by more than 1.5 billion people around the world. To understand how large this figure is, you should know that today there are about 5 billion people living on our planet. In monetary terms, this market is over 45 billion dollars. Every day, all these technologies become more and more accessible both for those who conduct professional activities and for ordinary network users. If we talk about VPN technology (virtual private networks), then it is already built into many modern browsers and not only. Thus, the new Samsung Galaxy smartphones, which will appear on the market in the near future, will be equipped with the PureVPN service integrated into the Wi-Fi connection protocols. This innovation was picked up by many other corporations specializing in the production of gadgets.

But it wasn't always like that. Even 30 years ago, no one knew about all these technologies and could not even imagine that there would be a need to use them. In the early 90s, the Internet, as such, was only in its infancy. And the anonymity of traffic in those days was relevant only for the special services and the military.

How did it all start? Since the development of the unique TCP/IP data transfer protocol. Back in the 70s of the last century, US military intelligence units tried to create a system for rapid electronic data exchange. The result of such efforts was the ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) packet switching network. It was in it that the TCP / IP digital data transmission model was used for the first time. It became the basis of the standard of modern computer networks. Its testing took place in 1976, when scientists officially sent the same packet of data through three separate channels: from San Francisco to London, and then to the University of Southern California. This data stream traveled over 150,000 kilometers. The scientists who were directly involved in this, namely Vinton Cerf and Bob Kahn, are considered the progenitors of Internet technology in general.

What is so remarkable about the TCP/IP packet data exchange model? The fact is that thanks to it, it was possible to achieve independence from the physical environment to ensure absolutely transparent interaction between wired and wireless networks. In the process of traffic between different networks, third parties can connect to the connection channel. Thanks to this, it was possible to understand where and where they were going. This is what provided a loophole for intercepting information, tracking its recipient and source.

In continuation of the work begun, a group of specialists led by Vint Cerf divided the TCP / IP protocol stack into two separate ones. According to their plans, the TCP protocol was to break the data stream into separate fragments at the point of origin and connect back directly at the recipient's node. The duties of IP included the direct transfer of individual data fragments, as well as control over their receipt. That is why the individual 32-digit number that is assigned today to all devices that connect to the Internet is called an IP address. We want to note right away that we are talking about version 4 of the protocol IPv4 (Internet Protocol Version 4). But due to the constantly growing number of network users, all the combinations that can be made by combining 32 numbers are no longer enough. That is why today the IPv6 protocol, which is a combination of both numbers and letters, is already being actively implemented. But, despite all its high-tech, from the point of view of security, it cannot be called ideal.

How did virtual private networks appear?

As soon as the TCP / IP protocol appeared on the market in free access, various companies actively began to take it into service. It attracted particular attention from large corporations that were looking for the best solution for combining several of their own representative offices into a single network. At the same time, many business representatives also began to think about ensuring the security of communications. The fact is that the probability of a leak in an unsecured network was very, very high. Some companies have already suffered serious material losses, while others have put a lot of effort into ensuring the required level of protection. The first half of the 90s turned into a real development race in the field of Internet encryption systems.

So, in 1993, the first program appeared that was able to encrypt data during its transmission over the IP protocol — Software IP Encryption Protocol (swIPe). This development of Columbia University specialists became the basis for the development of virtual private networks. In parallel with this, active actions were also carried out by an American corporation specializing in computer security. The project leader, Wei Xu, finalized SwIPe, and also created a unique firewall driver capable of encrypting data based on a completely new set of protocols— IP Security (IPsec). So, in 1994, a new product appeared on the market — Gauntlet Firewall running on the IPsec protocol. Both of these technologies gave a powerful impetus to the development of both virtual private networks and Internet security in general in the early 90s.

The popularity of the protocol and IPsec began to grow. So in 1995, a separate group of IETF-Internet Engineering Task Force specialists was formed, who were supposed to improve and expand its capabilities. The world's leading programmers, cybersecurity engineers, and managers worked on solving this problem. All this was financed by those for whom corporate security was not an empty phrase.

The key turning point in the development of VPN technology occurred in 1996. We are talking about the creation of the Peer to Peer Tunneling Protocol (PPTP). With its help, a separate closed tunnel was formed in Microsoft's unprotected network, through which data was transferred. This technology was certified by Microsoft, and the PPTP client was automatically installed in all versions of the Windows operating system, starting from 95. At one time, many other operating systems also worked on this protocol: Linux, Mac OS X, iOS, FreeBSD.

PPTP has gone through a huge amount of testing and security tests. Alas, quite a lot of vulnerabilities were revealed in it, as a result of which many experts began to say that IPsec would still be more reliable. Gradually, this technology was forced out of the market. But still, many experts agree that it was this technology that became the forerunners of modern virtual private networks.

The challenge that the VPN developers set themselves was to manage remote corporate employees. It was important to give each employee access to their computer, regardless of whether they were in the office, at home or on a business trip. But at the same time, the connection had to be carried out exclusively over a secure and secure channel. This is how the first VPN clients appeared on employees' computers. If some attacker still managed to intercept information transmitted over a secure connection, then the only thing he saw was completely secure traffic. That is, the attacker could not get any useful and important information from here.

Another important function for business provided by virtual private networks was the organization of a reliable and secure connection between different representatives of the company. And it doesn't matter where they were: in a neighboring building or on another continent. All branches were united into a single closed corporate network, reliably protected from any unauthorized access.

But, despite the fact that VPN technologies were created a long time ago, they received mass distribution in practice around 2010. Then, when interest in the protection of personal data became widespread. What did it lead to? To the emergence of an entire industry of all kinds of software for personal computers and mobile devices, an environment for ensuring safe browsing on the Internet, and subsequently for circumventing all kinds of restrictions, including at the regional level.

Traffic tunneling methods

In order to organize a truly secure and stable Internet connection, not only large companies, but also individuals worked at one time. The effectiveness of the work of the second category of specialists was low due to insufficient funding. Although, to tell the truth, there were a lot of such attempts. In addition, all those applications that were created by enthusiasts contained a lot of vulnerabilities. Encryption quality also suffered from rather weak crypto algorithms. But in this category of developers, there was still one significant breakthrough, which led to the appearance on the market of such a product as OpenVPN.

Large corporations have offered the market quite a lot of interesting solutions, in particular:

  1. Cisco — L2F (Layer 2 Forwarding), L2TP (Layer 2 Tunnelling Protocol), L2TPV3 (Layer 2 Tunnelling Protocol version 3).
  2. Check Point Software Technologies — VPN-1.
  3. Microsoft — PPTP (Point-To-Point Tunneling Protocol).
  4. Intel — Landrover VPN Express.
  5. Redcreek Communications — Ravlin.

All VPNs that appeared on the market at that time transmitted traffic on a point-to-point basis. Gradually, as technology developed, other connection options began to appear, including:

  • extranet VPN;
  • remote access VPN;
  • intranet VPN;
  • VPN mixed types.

Gradually, the number of users of virtual private networks began to increase. This led to the need for additional development of new ways of managing personal pages, delimiting access rights, and scalability. Gradually, more and more protocols, operating systems, platforms, and devices that supported such a connection began to appear in the VPN assortment. Significant changes also affected the traffic transmitted through secure channels. So, voice messages, video calls, multimedia content were added. All these trends are actively used at the present time. But today, the load on the network, in comparison with what was observed 10-20 years ago, has increased significantly. And today, one of the main tasks of VPN services and Internet providers — ensure the stability of the system even if it is overloaded.

What can be said about modern virtual private networks?

Everything that is happening today in the cybersecurity market clearly indicates the fact that VPN services are firmly and permanently fixed in our lives. Traffic encryption technologies are automatically implemented in modern smartphones. Microsoft is already in the testing phase of its redesigned Microsoft Edge Secure Network browser with free VPN pre-installed. I think that we will not disclose a trade secret if we say that a given browser will offer a certain geolocation, the IP-address will be allocated with reference to the nearest region. To access the use of this browser you will need to have a Microsoft account. Decryption of only 1 GB of data will also be offered free of charge.

Latest independent research shows:

  • more than 40% of respondents use VPN at work in order to ensure the protection of their personal data;
  • about 25% want unlimited access to streaming services;
  • for 15% of respondents, maintaining anonymity while working on the network is a priority;
  • 20% of respondents do not yet plan to use virtual private networks in their work.

Every day more and more people realize that the Internet — it is by no means a safe place for both work and everyday surfing. The level of cybercrime is growing literally every day, hundreds of thousands of people all over the world become victims of such scammers. That is why the funds invested in the development of advanced personal data protection technologies, both VPN services and mobile proxies, are more than justified. America is by far the largest consumer of servers, followed by Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Singapore. Least of all such services are used in Japan, South Africa, Madagascar.

Today, quite large companies are actively investing in the VPN market. But still, to meet the needs of the user audience in reliable and secure networks, one VPN will not be enough. Along with this technology, others are actively used, in particular mobile proxies. In terms of their functionality, reliability and stability, they are not inferior to VPN services, and in some cases even surpass them. Main— apply for server rental to reliable and responsible suppliers. And one of the best solutions here today — mobile proxies from the MobileProxy.Space service. Follow the link to learn more about the functionality that is relevant tariffs and choose the option that will be optimal for your work.

All questions that arise in your workflow can be asked to 24/7 technical support specialists by contacting them via chat or Telegram.

Mobile proxies from the MobileProxy.Space service

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