Layered Service Provider (LSP) is a software component of the Windows operating system that is used by third-party applications and services to add features and functionality. LSPs are similar to plug-ins in that they are added to an application to extend its capabilities.
LSPs operate on the TCP/IP network layer and form part of the Windows sockets (Winsock) programming interface. An LSP is made up of a chain of providers, each one providing a different layer of protocol support. The Lead LSP provides an interface that applications use to access services on the network and it is responsible for determining which provider to call.
The main benefits of LSPs are that they improve performance and security on the internet by providing a modular architecture that enables applications to access the network in a more efficient and secure manner. Additionally, LSPs enable developers to create applications that support different protocols by providing an abstract layer that simplifies communication between applications and the network.
LSPs have been included in Windows since Windows 95 and are an important part of the Windows networking stack. They are not the only way to access the network, but they are the main way for applications to access the network on Windows operating systems.
It is important to note that LSPs can be vulnerable to malicious attacks, such as man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks. Therefore, it is important to ensure that LSPs are from a reputable source and are regularly updated.