Story 2015-01-25 2WSK China begins major crackdown on VPN access to the internet

China begins major crackdown on VPN access to the internet

in internet on (#2WSK)
The Chinese government has begun cracking down on one of the few avenues its citizens and foreigners have to accessing the full internet. China announced it is "upgrading" its internet censorship to disrupt VPN services inside the nation of 1.3 billion people, the People's Daily Newspaper in Beijing reported.

The Great Firewall of China has long blocked those within the country from reaching popular international sites such as Google, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, as well as a great many other sites which include any information deemed unflattering to the single-party Chinese government. One common way to get around the censorship is to purchase access to a virtual private network (VPN). These services allow a user to create a private pipeline to the internet, bypassing China's online censors. It is also a common means for foreign companies to connect to and communicate with their China-based offices and employees.

Under Chinese law, companies and individuals that use VPN services are required to register with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, though few do. One of the more popular VPN providers in China, Astrill, tweeted that "due to increased censorship in China," VPN usage on Apple devices was being blocked "in almost real-time." The blockage "is just a way for China to say 'we don't want you here." The Chinese blockage of VPNs this week "is more sophisticated than what we've seen in the past."
Reply 5 comments

work arounds? (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2015-01-25 22:30 (#2WSM)

If I travel to China, I'd like to maintain email contact with co-workers, friends and family. It's beginning to sound like the only easy way to do this is through a throwaway email account created for this one purpose. While in China this account should be accessed with a "throwaway" device -- one that doesn't have business/personal data.

Which providers can be reliably accessed in China? For example, it seems like Gmail is not a good choice... How about Hotmail or Yahoo email?

Re: work arounds? (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2015-01-26 06:16 (#2WSR)


New level of obscurity needed (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2015-01-26 05:03 (#2WSQ)

Time to implement security protocols to hide encrypted streams in ordinary files to form adync vpn over http

Another VPN provider confirming the problems (Score: 2, Informative)

by on 2015-01-26 16:46 (#2WST)

VyprVPN has mostly been blocked though apparently a few of their servers still work. Their blog post about it is unfortunately short on information:

I wonder what the endgame is for the Great Firewall. The tech-savvy are only fine with it because of how easy it is to punch through with a small amount of technical knowledge, but those holes are being closed. Two years ago I could use an SSH tunnel through my home computer. Last year that was blocked but VPN worked reasonably well, as long as I bounced around to different servers. This year I'm going to have to try something else. If China makes it practically impossible to use the outside internet securely, how will foreign businesses react? What about local nerds? What about the average people that just want to access foreign websites like Youtube, and previously used a simple browser add-on passed around from friend to friend?

Re: Another VPN provider confirming the problems (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2016-05-19 07:57 (#1E8XE)

The issue is not so much blocking VPN but interrupting it, effectively knocking you offline. they don't even need DPI. Just look at the traffic.. If you see someone sending all their data with SSH (or OpenVPN) headers out of a specific port, just kill the connection. Luckily they don't seem to focus on all types of packets and all ports at the same time. So one day SSH tunneled OpenVPN packets over port 465 seem to work while the same thing on 443 doesn't work, the next day it might be the opposite..