The Hacker News Logo
Subscribe to Newsletter

The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: Internet Censorship

Kazakhstan Begins Intercepting HTTPS Internet Traffic Of All Citizens Forcefully

Kazakhstan Begins Intercepting HTTPS Internet Traffic Of All Citizens Forcefully
July 19, 2019Mohit Kumar
If you are in Kazakhstan and unable to access the Internet service without installing a certificate, you're not alone. The Kazakhstan government has once again issued an advisory to all major local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) asking them to make it mandatory for all their customers to install government-issued root certificates on their devices in order to regain access to the Internet services. The root certificate in question, labeled as " trusted certificate " or " national security certificate ," if installed, allows ISPs to intercept and monitor users' encrypted HTTPS and TLS connections, helping the government spy on its citizens and censor content. In other words, the government is essentially launching a "man in the middle" attack on every resident of the country. But how installing a "root certificate" allow ISPs to decrypt HTTPS connection? For those unaware, your device and web browsers automatically trust digi

China Blocks Microsoft's Bing Search Engine, Despite Offering Censored Results

China Blocks Microsoft's Bing Search Engine, Despite Offering Censored Results
January 24, 2019Wang Wei
Update: Microsoft's search engine Bing has been restored in China after being inaccessible in the country for almost two days. According to sources familiar with the matter, Bing was blocked due to an accidental technical error and not due to an attempt at censorship. China has blocked Microsoft-owned search engine Bing , the company confirmed after receiving complaints from users throughout the country who took to social media beginning late Wednesday to express concerns. So, Bing becomes the latest service to be shut down by Chinese government behind its so-called Great Firewall of China , which blocks thousands of websites originating in the west including Facebook, WhatsApp , Twitter, Yahoo, and Google. The news came as a surprise because Microsoft's search engine actually followed China's strict rules on censoring search results. Online service WebSitePulse that tracks outages in China also confirmed that cn.bing.com—the web address for Bing in China since

Google Secretly Planning to Launch a Censored Search Engine in China

Google Secretly Planning to Launch a Censored Search Engine in China
August 01, 2018Mohit Kumar
After an eight-year-long absence from the most populated country in the world, Google search is going to dramatically make a comeback in China. Google is reportedly planning to launch a censored version of its search engine in China that is going to blacklist certain websites and search terms to comply with Chinese government's attempts to censor the Internet, a whistleblower revealed. According to leaked documents obtained by The Intercept, CEO Sundar Pichai met with a Chinese government official in December 2017 to re-enter the world's largest market for internet users. Project Dragonfly — Censored Google Search Engine Since spring last year Google engineers have been secretly working on a project, dubbed " Dragonfly ," which currently includes two Android mobile apps named—Maotai and Longfei—one of which will get launched by the end of this year after Chinese officials approve it. The censored version of Google search engine in the form of a mobile app report

Russia to Fine Search Engines for Linking to Banned VPN services

Russia to Fine Search Engines for Linking to Banned VPN services
June 09, 2018Mohit Kumar
In its years-long efforts to censor the Internet by blocking access to a large number of websites in the country, Russia has now approved a new bill introducing fines for search engines that provide links to banned sites, VPN services , and anonymization tools . VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks , are third-party services that help users access block banned websites by encrypting users' Internet traffic and routing it through a distant connection, hiding their location data and access sites that are usually restricted or censored by a specific country. According to the amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation, besides introducing fines for providing links to banned resources, the lower house of Russian parliament, the State Duma, will also impose fines on search engines if they fail to stop issuing links to resources providing up-to-date database of blocked domains upon users request. According to the bill, individuals who break the law

Facebook Covertly Launches A Photo-Sharing App In China

Facebook Covertly Launches A Photo-Sharing App In China
August 14, 2017Wang Wei
The Chinese market is no doubt a pot of gold for big technology giants with over 700 million internet users, but the Chinese government heavily controls the Internet within its borders through its Golden Shield project – the Great Firewall of China . The Great Firewall has blocked some 171 out of the world's leading websites, including Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Dropbox, and The Pirate Bay in the country. But tech giants like Facebook and Google always try alternative ways to infiltrate the market. Now it seems like Facebook is trying to secretly enter the largest populous market by releasing an all new social networking app in China that does not carry its brand. Dubbed Colorful Balloons , the photo-sharing app appears to mimic the look and feel of Facebook's Moments, an app that allows its users to share photos with their friends and family members. According to The New York Times, Facebook approved the release of Colorful Balloons back in M

China Shuts Down Popular VPN Services to Make Great Firewall Stronger

China Shuts Down Popular VPN Services to Make Great Firewall Stronger
July 04, 2017Wang Wei
Online Privacy has been one of the biggest challenges in today's interconnected world, as the governments across the world have been found censoring the Internet, stealing information and conducting mass surveillance on innocent people. China is one such nation which always wanted to have a tight hold on its citizen and has long been known for its strict Internet censorship laws through the Great Firewall of China. The Great Firewall of China is the nation's Golden Shield project that employs a variety of tricks to censor Internet and block access to various foreign news and social media sites, including Google, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Dropbox, and The Pirate Bay. So, in order to thwart these restrictions and access blocked websites, hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens rely on virtual private networks (VPNs) which route their traffic to servers overseas free of the Great Firewall filters, but this may not be an option soon. For those unfamiliar, Virtual P

China makes VPNs illegal to tighten its Great Firewall

China makes VPNs illegal to tighten its Great Firewall
January 24, 2017Wang Wei
China is long known for its strict Internet censorship laws through the Great Firewall of China – China's Golden Shield project that employs a variety of tricks to censor Internet and block access to various foreign websites in the country by its government. The Great Firewall has blocked some 171 out of the world's 1,000 top websites, including Google, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Dropbox, and The Pirate Bay. Therefore, to thwart these restrictions and access these sites, hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens use virtual private networks (VPNs). But now, the Chinese government has announced the mass shutdown of VPNs in the country, making it harder for internet users to bypass its Great Firewall, according to a report published by the South China Morning Post. 'Clean-Up' of China's Internet Connections Calling it a "clean-up" of China's Internet connections, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said on Sunday that it had

China Passes Cybersecurity Law to Tighten its Control over the Internet

China Passes Cybersecurity Law to Tighten its Control over the Internet
November 07, 2016Swati Khandelwal
China has long been known for its strict censorship policies, which has already made it difficult for foreign companies to do business in the world's most populous country of more than 1.35 Billion people. Now, the Chinese government has approved a broad new controversial cybersecurity regulations that would further strengthen the country's censorship regime, making it more difficult for technology companies to operate in the country. Made public on Monday, the legislation, passed by China's rubber-stamp parliament and set to go into effect in June 2017, aims at combating growing threats like hacking and terrorism, but actually comes with data localization, real-name requirements, and surveillance. The Cybersecurity Law requires instant messaging services and other internet operators to force users to register with their real names and personal information, which restricts anonymity of a user online. The proposed law also includes requirements for ' Data Locali

Turkey Blocks GitHub, Google Drive and Dropbox to Censor RedHack Leaks

Turkey Blocks GitHub, Google Drive and Dropbox to Censor RedHack Leaks
October 10, 2016Wang Wei
Turkey is again in the news for banning online services, and this time, it's a bunch of sites and services offered by big technology giants. Turkey government has reportedly blocked access to cloud storage services including Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, and Google Drive, as well as the code hosting service GitHub, reports censorship monitoring group Turkey Blocks. The services were blocked on Saturday following the leak of some private emails allegedly belonging to Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Berat Albayrak — also the son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Github, Dropbox, and Google Drive are issuing SSL errors, which indicates interception of traffic at the national or ISP level. Microsoft OneDrive was also subsequently blocked off throughout Turkey. The leaks come from a 20-year-old hacktivist group known as RedHack, which leaked 17GB of files containing some 57,623 stolen emails dating from April 2000 to September this year. A court in Turkish

China Orders Apple to Monitor App Store Users and Track their Identities

China Orders Apple to Monitor App Store Users and Track their Identities
June 29, 2016Swati Khandelwal
China has long been known for its strict censorship which makes it difficult for foreign technology companies to do business in the world's most populous country of over 1.35 billion people. Now, the new law issued by the Chinese government will expand its strict Internet monitoring efforts into mobile apps, targeting operators including Apple. However, Google currently doesn't operate its app store in China. The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has imposed new regulation on distributors of mobile apps that requires both app stores and app developers keep a close eye on users and maintain a record of their activities for at least 60 days . The Chinese internet regulator has introduced the new legislation with the intent to fight issues like terrorism, pornography, violence, money fraud and distribution of malicious contents. However, this new move by the Chinese government will tighten its control over the Internet, especially the mobile apps used for private encry

Iran orders all Messaging Apps to store its citizens' data within Country

Iran orders all Messaging Apps to store its citizens' data within Country
May 30, 2016Swati Khandelwal
Last year, Iran blocked Telegram and many other social networks after their founders refused to help Iranian authorities to spy on their citizens. Now it looks like Iranian government wants tighter controls on all foreign messaging and social media apps operating in the country that will give the authorities a wider ability to monitor and censor its people. All foreign messaging and social media apps operating in Iran have one year to move 'data and activity' associated with Iranian citizens onto servers in Iran, Reuters reported . In order to comply with the new regulations, the companies would need to set up data centers in Iran within one year, but apps may lose a larger number of users by moving data onto Iranian servers. However, transferring data to Iran servers might not be enough, as some of the most popular messaging services like WhatsApp , Apple iMessage , and Telegram are offering end-to-end encrypted communication i.e. nobody in between, not even Whats

Brazil blocks WhatsApp for 72-Hours — Here's Why

Brazil blocks WhatsApp for 72-Hours — Here's Why
May 03, 2016Swati Khandelwal
In Brief For the second time in past five months, a Brazil court ordered local telecommunications companies to block the popular messaging app WhatsApp for 72 hours, afterFacebook-owned WhatsApp company refused to hand over information requested in a drug trafficking investigation. The WhatsApp's shutdown is affecting more than 100 million users throughout the country. Moreover, if Brazilian telecommunications companies do not comply, they could face a fine of $143,000 per day. Brazil just blocked its roughly 100 Million citizens from using WhatsApp, the popular messaging service owned by Facebook, for 72 hours (3 days). A Brazilian Judge ordered the blackout after WhatsApp failed to comply with a court order asking the company to help a branch of civil police access WhatsApp data tied to a criminal investigation. This is for the second time in last five months when a Brazil court ordered local telecommunications companies to block access to the popular messaging servi

Breaking — India Bans Facebook's Free Basics Service

Breaking — India Bans Facebook's Free Basics Service
February 08, 2016Swati Khandelwal
Facebook's Free Basics Internet service has been Blocked in India. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has banned mobile carriers and broadband providers to charge customers based on what services or content they access over the Internet. Under Prohibition of Discriminatory Tariffs for Data Services Regulations, 2016, "no service provider shall offer or charge discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content." With this, Facebook's Free Basics is dead in India. All Zero-Rated Internet Services are BLOCKED!  It is not just Facebook's Free Basics Internet program that has been blocked inside the country, but also the zero-rated internet services altogether. Zero-rated internet services means those services that allow people access to some websites and web services without utilizing any of their mobile data allowance. Under the new regulation, no such services are now allowed. Free Basics (previously known by Int

After 5 Years, Now Google Ready to Comply with China's Censorship Laws for Business

After 5 Years, Now Google Ready to Comply with China's Censorship Laws for Business
September 07, 2015Khyati Jain
Google is planning to introduce a trimmed down special version of Google Play Store and Android Wear to The Mainland China. But wait, if I'm not wrong… Google had ended ties with China five years ago. Then what made Google to re-establish itself in China once again? Business?? Recent reports by Amir Efrati at The Information state that Google has massive plans to re-establish itself in the Mainland China. The search engine giant is aiming to get approval from China (the largest populated country in the world) for: Reviving Google as the Internet service provider Designing a tailor-made Google play store for China Android Wear software for the wearable existing in China Smart steps, though, but what happened back in 2010? Google and China always contradict each other, China's Internet laws and Google's censoring the search engine was one battle. In 2010, Google famously retracted its search engine Google.cn from Mainland China, after they ma

The Great... Great... Firewall of China Hijacks Facebook Connect Plugin

The Great... Great... Firewall of China Hijacks Facebook Connect Plugin
April 29, 2015Swati Khandelwal
From past few days, Internet Users in China are dealing with a weird redirection of traffic nationwide while accessing any website that makes use of connect.facebook.net resource. Great Firewall of China , which is infamous for the Internet censorship by Chinese government, believes to be intercepting the JavaScript module used by Facebook Connect Login, which is meant to allow third-party websites to authorize users through Facebook infrastructure. Chinese Internet users are complaining that when they visit any website that contain " Login with Facebook " or " Connect with Facebook " buttons (which is being used by a vast number of sites), they automatically redirect to unrelated websites. The two websites to which the traffic is being redirected: wpkg.org — A website for open source automated software deployment, upgrade, and removal program for Windows. ptraveler.com — A personal travel blog authored by a young couple of Poland. "Th

Indian Government blocks 32 Sites, including GitHub, Pastebin, Imgur and Vimeo

Indian Government blocks 32 Sites, including GitHub, Pastebin, Imgur and Vimeo
January 01, 2015Mohit Kumar
China is known as the nation of ' global internet censorship ', and the country proved it many times, in fact when recently it blocked the access to Gmail from the country. Now, it seems that its northern neighbouring country, India doesn't want to get left behind. On Wednesday, the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team issued the ban, asking internet service providers and mobile operators to block access to dozens of popular websites in the name of its censorship laws, according to a government advisory made public by Pranesh Prakash, director of the Centre for Internet and Society in Bangalore. As many as 32 websites including GitHub, PasteBin, Vimeo, Imgur, DailyMotion, Internet Archive have reportedly been banned in India under an order from the Department of Telecom (DoT). Vodafone, the second largest mobile network operator in India (after Airtel) with an estimated 173 million customers and BSNL, Indian state-owned telecom operator with 117 million

Google Public DNS intercepted by Turkish ISPs

Google Public DNS intercepted by Turkish ISPs
March 30, 2014Swati Khandelwal
I know we all have freedom of speech, but unfortunately it's not free, especially in the countries govern by the governments where they are ready to kill our voice anyhow, even by censoring the social media. The same happened few days before, when Twitter , the biggest Social Media platform, was banned by the Turkey government after an audio clip was leaked on YouTube and Twitter about the massive corruption of Turkey Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan instructing his son to dispose of large amounts of cash in the midst of a police investigation. The Prime minister of the country, Erdoğan has full control on the old media, the television and the printing press, but he failed to stop the Ten Million Turkish citizen on twitter from sharing the audio all over the social media site, when Twitter itself reportedly refused to delete the incriminating audio of him. But it doesn't work very well, since the users have all way out. Millions of Turkey users began using Google's DNS servi

How to access Twitter in Turkey - #TwitterisBlockedinTurkey

How to access Twitter in Turkey - #TwitterisBlockedinTurkey
March 23, 2014Mohit Kumar
Twitter , the biggest Social Media platform used for vital communication is now banned in Turkey from the last few days, after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan promised to root out the social media service during an election rally this week with the help of a court order. " Twitter and so on, we will root them out. The international community can say this or that – I don't care. They will see the power of the Turkish Republic ." After the ban imposed on Twitter late on Thursday, millions of Turkey users began using Google's DNS service to bypassing censorship, that briefly helped Turks stay connected to Twitter. Turkey Government is trying to close all the possible loopholes that had allowed users to circumvent the ban and finally today the authorities have also blocked the Google DNS service (8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4), However the number of tweets jumped 138% in the last 24 Hours and almost 2.5 million tweets have been posted from the country after the ban imposed. Why

28% of Internet Users know the Importance of Online Privacy Tools

28% of Internet Users know the Importance of Online Privacy Tools
January 22, 2014Anonymous
Privacy is "workings of your mind". We share our personal moments captured in images, credit card details, thoughts that are personal or professional with a person or a certain group at different instances of time and want it to be safe and secure. We use an electronic gadget to share something trusting blindly the service provider company which may have to obey some unveiled laws of that country to which it belong and our data might be at risk. The surveillance programs can force these companies to store the information and share it with the Government and can even sniff all the data passing through the channels i.e. Wire or Air, and hence compromise our privacy. Though surveillance programs were in existence before Snowden's leaks, but after the revelation of NSA's surveillance programs, we need to think twice when it comes to our privacy. 28% of all Internet users, i.e. 415 Million people say that they use some sort of privacy tool for their Internet browsing sessio

Cryptocat, a Secure and Encrypted chat blocked in Iran

Cryptocat, a Secure and Encrypted chat blocked in Iran
November 24, 2013Swati Khandelwal
Users in Iran call Internet as " Filternet ", because of the heavily censored Internet access they have. Million Iranians used VPN servers to access the outside world. In October, 2013 Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter asked Iranian President, ' Are citizens of Iran able to read your tweets? ' In Reply Mr. The President said that he will work to make sure Iranians have access to information globally in what appears to be a reference to reducing online censorship. Just after promising to support Internet Freedom, the Iran Government has banned yet another web application called -  Cryptocat , a tool that allows for secure and encrypted chat. The app is well known for bringing encrypted communications to the masses, popular with human rights activists and journalists around the world. According to ' Blockediniran.com ', Cryptocat website and the associated private chat service were inaccessible to our users in Iran. Currently since Monday.  ' It cu
Online Courses and Software

Sign up for cybersecurity newsletter and get latest news updates delivered straight to your inbox daily.