BYPASSING INTERNET CENSORSHIP. What is it all about?

The moment you type Internet Censorship, you are almost likely to get a quick snapshot of where and how it is happening. ‘You Tube banned in Pakistan’, ‘Facebook banned in Pakistan’ and ‘What Countries censor the Internet’ are quick results for ‘Internet Censorship’. It is arguable that a millennial would rather do with limited food than limited internet. Millennials are fluid in their work, relationships and travel. The nightmare of internet censorship is not something you would like to be surprised with during work or tourist travel. This makes ‘how to bypass internet censorship’ a major concern for any self-respecting millennial.

Reasons for Internet Censorship

For you to learn about bypassing internet censorship, you should know that the reasons range from well-meaning actions like protecting children from accessing unsuitable content and from harm posed by online predators. They can also be a government suppressing its citizens’ and restricting or blocking their access to information deemed ‘undesirable’.

Forms of Internet Censorship

Censorship can be both technical and non-technical. Technical censorship targets IP addresses, domain names, URLs and so on or the infrastructure of the internet resources. Non-technical censorship can be in form of laws, petitions against publishers and authors, confiscation of equipment and even life threatening attacks (including murder) on publishers and authors.

How Internet Censorship Works

Internet censorship works by blocking and filtering websites and content. This can be done by a government or an institution or even in a local network. This can be done entirely or during peak times which returns a ‘Not Found’ error message when someone tries to access the blocked website. Unless the censor can control all the internet connected devices, total censorship is very difficult. OpenDNS is a tool that most parents and organisations use to achieve this.

Internet Censorship in China

China is one such country that has devoted significant resources to build and maintain a comprehensive censorship system. Internet censorship here is extreme due to endless laws and regulations effected by local government ISPs (Internet Service Providers). They go to the extent of monitoring internet access of individuals.

Most Censored Internet Sites

The most censored sites include social sites (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace), adult (pornographic) sites, online video and some news agencies and advertising networks.

Bypassing Internet Censorship

Below are some ingenious ways to ensure that bypassing internet censorship is as simple as it can get for you.

Bypassing DNS Filtering and Redirection

Here the Domain Name Server (DNS) fails to give the correct domain name for your desired site. Solution: Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to access blocked content. You can also type the numeric IP address on your URL bar instead of the site’s name.

Bypassing URL Filtering

Here the requested URL is being scanned for targeted keywords regardless of the actual domain name. Solution: Again a VPN will come in handy.

Bypassing IP Blocking

Here the target IP address has been blocked. Solution: Get a proxy with access to the blocked site. There are numerous free proxies online. Your ISP will only see the IP address of the proxy and not of the blocked site.

Bypassing MITM (Man-in-the-Middle) Attack

This is an impersonation trick where a censor snoops on your connection, making you think you are connected to your desired site or individual. Solution: Use encrypted network connections found with (HTTPS) and VPNs. HTTP with an S means your site is secure and no one is snooping around. Check also if the website is trusted or not.

Bypassing Packet Filtering

A static packet filtering is a firewall technique that controls network access where oncoming and outgoing data is monitored hence stopped or filtered before you can access the information. Solution: A VPN service will take this small problem away.

Bypassing TCP Connection Resets/Forged TCP resets

Where your desired site has an existing filter, all subsequent connection attempts get blocked.  Solution: Ensure your computer firewall is set to prevent any resets packets so that no further action or response is taken on the packet.

Bypassing Deep Packet Inspection

This is the worst nightmare because it involves snooping even on private email and social media communication. Solution: connect to a remote server using a secure VPN link link. This will conceal your location from any internet surveillance.

This is the age of free information access. Don’t allow anyone to poop on your party as you use the internet. Use the tricks highlighted and keep abreast with what is happening around the globe.

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