A Brief History of VPNs

1 in 4 people use a VPN in countries around the world. Their motivations vary, from a desire for privacy and security, to overcoming censorship, to improving streaming experience. But what is a VPN, and how did it come about? We’ve taken a brief look at the history of this technology to provide a picture of how VPN use has evolved over time, and where related encryption technology is headed.
A More Secure Internet is Invented

The year is 1996, and Microsoft’s Gurdeep Singh-Pall has just invented PPTP (or Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol), a method for implementing virtual private networks. Singh-Pall did so to allow users to have a secure Internet connection and work effectively and securely from home. This is a milestone event that truly set the stage for the evolution of the VPN.
The Evolution of VPN Technology

Over the years, different types of VPN technology have emerged. There are different types of VPNs (business VPNs, personal VPNS) with different protocols (L2TP/IPsec, OpenVPN, PPTP, SSTP). Some VPN software companies employ third parties to host their servers (This is not the case for VyprVPN, however – we own and operate our own servers and network). There are also different types of encryption used to protect users (hashing, symmetric, asymmetric). All in all, VPN technology is relatively diverse.
Where we are Today

Encryption is still evolving and improving as more and more tech companies turn to encryption to ensure their users’ privacy and security. The number of people using VPNs in the US has grown tremendously in recent years, but it is still lower than it should be. Only about 16% of adults in the United States use VPN technology to protect themselves online. VPN use is greater in some areas around the world, with countries like Indonesia (41%), Thailand (39%) and Turkey (36%) leading the way in percentage of population using VPNs, per the Global Web Index.

Today, VPNs are used to combat censorship, government surveillance, improve online security and much more. As cyber crime continues to increase, it is pertinent that everyone, including everyday Internet users, understand the tools available and how they can best protect their privacy.

There has been more and more controversy in the privacy space as of late as well, with Apple vs. FBI bringing encryption (a key technology used in VPNs) to the forefront of the news cycle and helping spread awareness and sparking debate. We even hosted a panel at SXSW 2016 to continue the conversation and help Internet users understand the importance of encryption.
What’s Next

There are more and more court battles occurring in regards to when using unbreakable encryption is or is not appropriate. At Golden Frog, we believe that end-to-end encryption without backdoors is ALWAYS appropriate, because it protects the privacy rights of citizens around the world and protects them from Internet vulnerabilities. More reforms to bills such as ECPA will help us move cybersecurity into the 21st century. Although it’s concerning that bills like the UK’s Investigatory Powers Bill continue to progress towards law. Governments around the world must take the initiative to catch up with the world’s rapidly changing technology and recognize the importance of unbreakable encryption.

As technology and encryption continue to evolve, it’s likely VPN technology will as well. We firmly believe that unbreakable encryption is the only way to ensure safety and security for Internet users, and VyprVPN never compromises your security, and will always keep your privacy intact.

A VPN offers a variety of benefits for anyone in the military. Keep reading to learn more, and be sure to take advantage of our special offer and receive 40% off VyprVPN now.

1. Protect your Privacy and Stay Secure

While serving in the military you may find yourself stationed abroad, far away from home. This means you’ll be using unknown Internet networks, including those found in airports, hotels and many other locations. These networks can pose great risks to your privacy, leaving you vulnerable to snoops and hackers who can intercept your connection to obtain personal information. A VPN protects you from these dangers by encrypting your Internet connection, which secures it to ensure all your information remains private. This means your communications – like sensitive emails and IMs – your bank account and other private information and your location are all protected.

2. Bypass Local Censorship

When living and traveling abroad while serving in the military, you may encounter Internet censorship. Many countries around the world censor and filter their Internet, and restrictions are often imposed by governments. Sites like social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), international news websites and other services like video and VOIP providers are often blocked or restricted. With a VPN you can avoid these limitations and access a free and unrestricted Internet experience. A VPN allows you to bypass any censorship or government-imposed blocks, and access the Internet exactly as you do at home. This will enable you to enjoy an Internet experience with all your favorite sites, stay connected to important information and connect with family. Which brings us to reason #3!

3. Stay in Touch with Family & Friends

A VPN will help you communicate with your friends and family while serving in the military, no matter your location. With a VPN, you’re able to gain unrestricted access to communications programs (email, chats etc). VPNs also allow you to access news in your home country, so you can stay abreast of what’s going on and feel closer and connected to home. Most importantly, though, using a VPN ensures you can always access VOIP services like Skype, so you can continue the important calls and video chats with your loved ones while away.
VyprVPN: An Ideal VPN for the Military

With all these benefits, we suggest VyprVPN for your military VPN usage. Not only will you enjoy these great benefits, but at VyprVPN we support a free and open Internet experience for all. Celebrate freedom for Independence Day this year and take advantage of our special offer. Get 40% off VyprVPN now.

We already know about censorship and propaganda pandemonium in China. The Great Firewall of China prohibits users from browsing the Internet freely, the 50c-party fabricates social media posts for strategic distraction[1] and the Internet police (wang-luo-guan-li-yuan) removes harsh criticisms about the Chinese government.

As a result of longtime Internet and media censorship, Chinese citizens have become docile and accepting of censorship[2]. In January 2015, WeChat, one of the most popular messaging apps and social networks in China, shut down 133 accounts for spreading fabricated information[3]. Not Long after that, WeChat set 10 rules for posting to the app’s news feed (peng-you-quan, Moments in English) to regulate its 468 million monthly active users[4].

On an everyday basis, many companies and organizations refrain from contradicting the government due to concerns such as the revocation of operating license or the fear of administrative punishment. For citizens, there are too many interests at stake to post criticism online since ISPs and ICPs (Internet Content Providers) have eliminated online anonymity. Most social network platforms require real identity (most commonly cell phone number) to sign up. One can easily lose his/her job or be held in custody because of unfavorable comments posted on these networks. As a result, censorship has evolved to self-censorship in China. Online journalists regularly practice self-censorship, and Chinese citizens are censoring themselves and purifying what they say on the Internet to avoid any negative consequences.

China has the world’s most sophisticated apparatus for censoring, monitoring and manipulating online content. Self-censorship is one of the worst outcomes, because criticism of censorship will be censored automatically and prohibit further thoughts on the rightfulness of censorship. Recent developments show censorship is extending to mobile apps now, as well.

On June 28, the Cyberspace Administrative of China issued new regulations that apply to all mobile app providers. This means app stores and providers must establish the identity of users and keep user logs, while monitoring and reporting posts that contain banned content. Any app developer must follow these regulations and stay in the limits allowed by the Chinese government if they want to enter the market. This is an alarming development because it effects not only app providers in China, but also providers overseas. It further illustrates that censorship will only get more persuasive and stricter.

Censorship and self-censorship are a threat to Internet freedom. Access to an restricted Internet is imperative for everyone.
Traveling to China? Want to maintain access to the same Internet experience you have from your home country? If so, it’s essential you use a VPN. Traveling throughout China will be an experience of a lifetime, and you don’t want be held back by a prohibitive Internet while surfing the web. In China, Internet censorship is everywhere – and using a VPN while traveling will drastically improve your travel experience.

How a VPN Can Help You Bypass Censorship and Local Blocks in China

As you may know, a number of top websites are blocked in China. This includes Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Wikipedia and more popular sites. The Great Firewall of China (GFW) is the mechanism by which the Chinese government filters and controls Internet access in China.

This is where using a VPN comes in incredibly handy, as it it will offer you access to an unrestricted Internet experience while traveling abroad. Some VPNs are blocked in China or don’t work very well. Not VyprVPN, the best VPN for China travel. VyprVPN is an effective way to bypass blocks imposed by the Chinese government so you can enjoy a truly open and unrestricted Internet, without being fearful of censorship or unjust surveillance. When you travel across the globe, you can select your IP address from any of our 50+ worldwide server locations, so your geo-location never impacts your Internet experience. Our proprietary Chameleon technology works to defeat VPN blocking and helps users regain their Internet freedom.

The Great Fire Wall holds countless people back from an open and free Internet experience. Don’t allow the Chinese government to prohibit your use of certain sites or censor you. Your privacy and security will also be protected while using a VPN, as VyprVPN encrypts your communications so that your privacy is never at stake.
We’re excited to announce that VyprVPN has expanded our service to reach an entirely new continent – Africa! We now offer two server locations in Africa: Egypt and Algeria.

These new servers open up access in the region, providing an essential connection point in an area of the world that often imposes Internet restrictions. Egypt and Algeria both experience strong Internet censorship, making VPN use important and necessary to access websites and other media. Algeria has a filter on their Internet, restricting access to many sites. Egypt is notoriously censorious as well — they’ve implemented cybercrime laws, and there are consequences for posting honest opinions online so self-censorship is high. Egypt was ranked “Not Free” in Freedom on the Net’s report for the past several years, as well.

A VPN enables Internet users to access a free and open Internet in Africa (and around the world, too!) and bypass censorship and other restrictions in place.

Many businesses do not properly prepare when employees are traveling to countries that heavily censor the Internet, such as China. Some organizations operating in China fail to understand just how pervasive government censorship is, and only discover this fact when their employees are unable to access documents, websites or even send emails.

The most commonly used business tool currently blocked by the Chinese government is Gmail. Sending and receiving simple emails through the program is impossible for Internet users within the country. To imagine a place where Gmail isn’t accessible is hard, yet throughout China this is a reality. And it’s not just Google’s Gmail which is blocked, but the whole G Suite family of products. This includes Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs and even Google Hangouts. Any business not prepared to handle the absence of these essential tools will soon find themselves unable to operate when traveling and working from China.

Retain Access with VyprVPN for Business

VyprVPN for Business offers a solution to this problem. VyprVPN for Business allows users to bypass Internet censorship and restrictions in China and restrictive locations around the world. With VyprVPN, users can retain access to all necessary business tools and access sites freely, despite the local censorship in place. VyprVPN allows users to select from one of over 70 server locations worldwide, maintaining access to a free and open Internet. With VyprVPN for Business, it’s possible to maintain access to the G Suite from Google Cloud, so organizations can ensure work will continue uninterrupted while traveling or working in China.

Public Wi-Fi is convenient, and oftentimes free. It’s prevalent, too, and is available in many frequently-visited locations around the world. What you need to be aware of is that with these convenient public Wi-Fi networks come great risks! When using these networks, you may be at risk of snoopers and hacks stealing your information. The Wi-Fi provider may also be collecting data about you to use to make money or target ads.

What is an unsecured Wi-Fi Network?

An unsecured Wi-Fi network is any network that does not require you to enter a password or login credentials to use the network. These networks can be offered by a business or in public places, such as coffee shops, airports or shopping malls. According to one estimate, there are over 100,000 unsecured public Wi-Fi hotspots around the world. Home Wi-Fi networks can also be unsecured if the owner chooses to leave the network open.

What information is at risk if you use an unsecured Wi-Fi network?

Your IP address
Your location
The websites you visit
Your personal communications, such as emails and chats
Files you send
Your passwords and other sensitive information

How does a VPN help?

A VPN encrypts your Internet connection to secure it and protect your privacy. When connecting with a VPN, no one – not the ISP, the business/network owner nor any third-party hacker or snoop – can see the information you send over the network. When using a Wi-Fi network with a VPN, your privacy and security is protected at all times. Protect your privacy on unsecured Wi-Fi with VyprVPN: get VyprVPN now.

According to a recent Washington Post series – yes. Internet censorship in China, instituted via China’s Great Firewall, is not only effective but also increasing in the country.

We’ve written about the Great Firewall before, and in a recent news series The Washington Post takes an in-depth look at the impact of China’s Great Firewall and how it works. In brief, China uses the Great Firewall to both censor the Internet and surveil its citizens. Recent reports indicate China is pleased with how the Great Firewall is working. Their Internet czar, Lu Wei, said China’s Internet achieves the right balance between “freedom and order” and “openness and autonomy.”

Impacts of the Great Firewall

This censorship has far-reaching effects. The Internet in China has 700 million users, which is almost ¼ of the world’s online population. This means close to ¼ of those online are experiencing the strong and ever-increasing censorship of the Great Firewall.

The Great Firewall has also stalled the innovation of startups in China. It has negative impacts on trade and business with other nations (especially the West), as important and highly-trafficked Internet sites are blocked, creating a barrier to business interactions.

With a new cybersecurity law intended to increase and further organize this control, the situation will only become worse: “It [China] has introduced new rules restricting foreign companies from publishing online content and proposed tighter rules requiring websites to register domain names with the government.” These efforts are “An attempt to extend legal control and supervision over what is posted online within the country.”

Exceptions to the Rule

Despite this censorship, it seems the Chinese government accepts that a small percentage of people will bypass the Firewall using VPNs and other tools. As explained by the WP, “They are willing to tolerate a certain amount of porousness in the Great Firewall, as long as they feel that ultimately, if they need to exert control, they can,” said Jeremy Goldkorn, director of a media and Internet consulting firm called Danwei.” The control is aimed at day-to-day Intenret users within the country, or the general population.