Since the inception of VIkingVPN, we have been committed to using open-source, trustworthy software only. This is why we exclusively use OpenVPN on all supported devices for our users, and eschew technologies that can have poorly implemented or outright compromised implementations. (I'm looking at you, PPTP, IPSEC, and SSTP)
We are remaining committed to that cause.
However, we have run into a number of usability problems with the standard OpenVPN client that many non-technical customers cannot overcome. This includes implementing DNS leak protection, protecting yourself from IPv6 leaks, managing your own config files, and obfuscation technologies for customers in nations with heavy censorship.
As a response to these needs that the regular OpenVPN client does not meet for some customers, we are developing a custom client that will fill this role.
We have multiple goals for the client that will be slowly implemented and tested.
1. Easier certificate and config management - This one is big. A lot of customers have trouble with managing configs themselves, and our policy of non-disclosure makes our assistance with setting up the service complicated, as we do not want to gain access to that information. So we are faced with giving refunds to customers who cannot manage their own configs, or we can try to walk customers through the process in a long string of support emails. This makes support frustrating for both the user and the admin, as any number of mistakes can create problems that are very difficult to diagnose and solve.
2. Integrated DNS leak protection - This simplifies the process of setting up your network for VPN use. You will just install the app, enter your credentials, and begin using the service. You don't have to worry about firewall management or if DHCP is going to override your VPN's settings.
3. Integrated IPv6 leak protection - This simplifies protecting your device from IPv6 leaks. Even though this step is quite simple to do it is still work that can be streamlined for the user by the app.
4. Obfuscation - This is the hardest to implement step for users. Obfuscation stops all kinds of primitive layer-7 filtering and blocking technologies, by making OpenVPN traffic harder to identify. While the content of your encrypted connection cannot be read, sophisticated monitoring hardware can detect that you are using OpenVPN and slow or interrupt your connection.
We are hoping to enter an open beta with a limited version of the client soon. This will allow customers to test our the client on their machines and report problems to us through customer care. This will both allow customers to try out the client and to give us feedback on things we can do to improve the software.
The release of the first client was delayed by a few months due to problems with our application for an EV Software Signing Certificate. We never received one component of the verification process and had to wait for the issue to be resolved. We now have our EV Certificate.
The first iteration of the client will only have our interface updates and certificate management features built-in. Other features will be added slowly and the software will improve as we progress through the beta program and more features leave our internal alpha testing and go out to the public for review.
We will be open-sourcing all changes that we make and all software that we create. Anyone in the world will be able to view the source code and review it to verify that things are implemented properly and that our software can be trusted. We are also committing to the software being a "wrapper" around OpenVPN source code, and not modifying anything "under the hood" in the actual OpenVPN software. Our main goal is to supplement OpenVPN to be easier to use for our customers.
A Screenshot of the Alpha Client
Here is a teaser of what the alpha client currently looks like. As we add features the look may change somewhat, but since the goal of the software is reduce complexity, most features will simply be on by default with no configurable toggles. We will keep full support for the regular OpenVPN client for customers who want to tweak their settings with more flexibility.