Rogier Spoor

Let's Connect! Easy to Install and Secure VPN Software that Respects your Privacy

Rogier Spoor
Contributors: Michiel Leenaars

3 min read

Going online on unknown Internet hotspots - whether at a restaurant, an airport or in a restaurant - isn't actually very safe or secure for users. This is due to the open character of hotspots which makes it easy to impersonate legitimate hotspots and eavesdrop on traffic - or even serve malware. The main aim of the Let's Connect! project is to develop a secure, fast and usable open-source VPN solution that can be used by anybody on all types of devices. Thanks to the RIPE NCC Community Projects Fund this important goal is getting within reach.

Let's Connect! provides an open-source VPN solution allowing ISPs, hosting providers and businesses to easily set up a secure VPN service. Even security minded people will be able to deploy it in a home environment. After deployment, users have a safe path from all generic devices.

How did we design it?

We’ve taken OpenVPN as the core technology and have added a management interface and a GUI on top of it. The authentication process is built on OAuth and SAML. This makes it easy to use for VPN users because it integrates smoothly with modern identity management systems. Users can just login via their familiar and trusted identity provider and fire up the VPN. This makes it much easier to use than OpenVPN itself.

Let’s Connect! has already been developed. Currently, the server components are ready and we have created apps for Windows 7,8,10, Linux, Mac OS and Android.

The VPN technology we use is the GPL licensed OpenVPN. Unfortunately, Apple does not allow us to make use of  GPL-code in the App Store. This basically means that we cannot create the full Let’s Connect! app for iOS. This is the ONLY mainstream platform we can’t easily create a full app for.

With support of the RIPE NCC Community Projects Fund we are now developing an iOS app that will be based on an OpenVPN compatible client. This app will be released before the end of 2018. In parallel we are actively supporting a completely different but very promising VPN solution called WireGuard. In a separate blog post we'll dive into the advantages of this product.

The Commons Conservancy

Let's Connect! is a programme of The Commons Conservancy. The Commons Conservancy is the result of people questioning the need for having a separate legal entity per project. It is designed as a shared legal infrastructure designed for multi-tenancy, which can be reused by open-source/free software projects at no cost.

It is not a panacea, but it might solve a number of issues that people who start foundations often encounter. It is a very nimble and flexible solution, allowing eligible projects to benefit without setup cost or a lot of arguing over details.


About the author

Rogier Spoor, manager at SURFnet and innovator pur sang. During his student days in 1997, co-founder of the traveling DNA lab that was subsequently adopted nationally. At SURFnet, in 2004 Rogier developed SURFids, a distributed detection system that was an international success. In addition, Rogier has been at the cradle of SURFnet's own 'dropbox' service, Filesender service, DNSsec initiative, IPv6 adoption and IaaS service development. Rogier is currently focussing on the international development and adoption of Let's Connect! an open source VPN solution. Rogier is chairman of the HoneyNED foundation, in which security experts from Dutch organizations work together. Board member at the Commons Conservancy, a software governance body.

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