UH VPN was created by James Webb and Anthony Wharton; two computer scientists who graduated from the University of Bristol in 2019. Whilst specialising in networking and cryptography at Bristol we started a cyber security company called Ultra Horizon to help fund our academic career.
During our time at Bristol, our company built up a portfolio of high net worth clients predominantly in the superyacht and entertainment industry. Our job is to provide them with remote access & site-to-site VPN technology, alongside other network solutions that allow them to run their operations smoothly and securely.
We wanted a powerful system that was quick and easy for our clients to manage remote access to their networks. In designing a solution for them, we realised that we have a product that we would have loved to play about with ourselves, so we released it for everyone to try out... Introducing UH VPN!
We founded Ultra Horizon midway through our studies in 2016, when the head of security for several large superyachts approached us with a problem. Many marinas and foreign Internet connections used by the vessels around the world were either restricting content, or not living up to the security standards expected by the yachts. Having tried various different VPN solutions to alleviate the problem they experienced inconsistent results, often having their VPN connections blocked. Without protection on these vulnerable connections, this opened the vessels to the very real and present threat of connections to/from the yachts being intercepted and private data harvested. We put together a successful proposal and proof of concept and received funding to turn this into a reality.
After almost 2 years of work alongside our studies we installed our first system onto the superyachts; a specially designed secure, fast and undetectable VPN tunnel. The product performed flawlessly, and word quickly spread allowing our client base to grow. We have since run several network deployments for various high net worth clients in the superyacht and entertainment industry. Each deployment brought new challenges and allowed us to constantly evolve and develop our technology further.
One of the problems we quickly faced early in development was the lack of high-quality user facing VPN clients that were consistent across platforms. We initially developed two prototype apps for iOS and macOS. These apps allowed our clients to securely connect to their networks in one click, and also allowed them to make use of their extensive network security infrastructure to secure their personal traffic whilst working around the world. The apps proved to be a great success and allowed us to gain invaluable insight and expertise in making simple yet highly performant VPN apps.
Since then we both graduated with First Class Honours from Bristol University and continued to develop solutions for our core client base. We still maintain an active relationship with the University, with James being a member of the world-renowned cryptography group who are currently researching cryptographic side-channel analysis.
With the outbreak of COVID-19, we were presented with a unique opportunity to pause from client work and reflect on what we have developed. We have all the key components required to offer a highly convenient and powerful VPN management platform and thought that was too good to keep to ourselves! We have worked hard throughout the time provided by the UK lockdown to consolidate all our development into a complete and tightly integrated package. We created a simple and intuitive web management platform, a quick and easy self-hostable server package, adapted our iOS and macOS apps and finished development of our brand-new apps for Android and Windows.
And this is where we are today, UH VPN is the child of several years of development and experience and the product that is used and loved by our clients all around the globe, and we think you’re going to love it too!
I’m responsible for UH VPN’s backend infrastructure which includes the website, API and server software.
I enjoy all things related to crypto or networking and alongside Ultra Horizon I am employed as a research associate within Bristol University’s cryptography group. Outside of work I enjoy mountain biking and looking after my Audi RS3.
I’m responsible for developing all the UH VPN applications across Android, iOS, macOS and Windows.
I enjoy tinkering with my own programming projects as well as playing videos games and hosting servers, but maintaining all the apps alongside our other work keeps me rather busy! Outside of the technological world I enjoy running and exploring new places.