When I was first toying with the idea of privacy and security online I messed around with a few VPN providers. As someone that was into the "netsec" scene I understood HTTPS and OpenSSL certificate management and obviously I had a pretty strong grasp of networking. My goal was to find something that wasn't a huge performance penalty, was secure, and did not log my activities.
I was greeted with speeds ranging from terrible to lackluster. A number of providers did not even offer OpenVPN, and a huge number of providers offered (and still offer) the known broken PPTP VPN protocol. I witnessed a number of VPN providers with websites that had unencrypted web forms. In the few months that I was trialing various VPN providers, I also experienced frequent disconnects and outages. I also hated VPN providers with multiple locations that were congested, and I had to hunt around for a server that gave me a reliable connection that wasn't slow and didn't give me a 900ms ping.
I found all of these things to be unacceptable. I was unable to find a VPN provider that had a sensible approach to being a fast, reliable, strong, and anonymous gateway.
So I started to think about doing it myself, and I started thinking about what a quality premium VPN service would look like.
It would need the following:
- Strong Encryption - This means the largest reasonable RSA key sizes, and the strongest versions of encryption algorithms that are problem free.
- High Speeds - This means servers with strong processors that can handle the load of processing gigabits of data per second, and automatic load balancing to make it so users do not have to search for fast servers. It also means securing strong peering from tier-1 providers.
- High Availability - This means hardening the network against typical attacks, and compartmentalizing our network to readily withstand regular Distributed Denial of Service attacks and remain operable.
- A Strong Security Model - This means hardening against Man-In-The-Middle attacks. It means selecting hardened Operating Systems and following strict security policies. It means regular auditing of all systems. It means keeping a small staff. It means compartmentalizing which employees have access to which components of the system. It means protecting our customers to the best of our ability.
After months of planning and a long alpha test. VikingVPN was born.
We have achieved our goal of creating a hard, robust, fast, reliable VPN. We have withstood multiple attacks on our services and managed to maintain over 99.999% up-time. We have managed to do this while leveraging entirely open-source technologies and giving our customers a smooth, fast, and trouble free experience they demand, using code they can trust, with a level of transparency and customer support that allows our customers to trust us to shield them from privacy breaches.
In this same time period, four of our competitors have been hacked. Three have disappeared. More disgruntled customers convert to us and get the experience they want. The larger VPN providers have had to react and adapt to us entering the market by adopting our level of encryption.
We have a few tricks up our sleeves that we will be revealing in a few months time. Stay tuned to our blogs to hear more!
In the mean time, enjoy the knowledge that you are with activists that care about the issue of privacy, and we are committed to continually raising the bar, and leading rather than following.