China tightens Great Firewall, blocks corporate VPNs

Seen something interesting in the news or on the intertubes? Discuss it here.

Moderators: Zamfir, Hawknc, Moderators General, Prelates

Sero
Posts: 321
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 2:31 am UTC

China tightens Great Firewall, blocks corporate VPNs

Postby Sero » Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:56 pm UTC

The article

Charles Arthur, for The Guardian wrote:China appears to be tightening its control of internet services that are able to burrow secretly through what is known as the "Great Firewall", which prevents citizens there from reading some overseas content.

Both companies and individuals are being hit by the new technology deployed by the Chinese government to control what people read inside the country.

A number of companies providing "virtual private network" (VPN) services to users in China say the new system is able to "learn, discover and block" the encrypted communications methods used by a number of different VPN systems.

China Unicom, one of the biggest telecoms providers in the country, is now killing connections where a VPN is detected, according to one company with a number of users in China.

VPNs encrypt internet communications between two points so that even if the data being passed is tapped, it cannot be read. A VPN connection from inside China to outside it also mean that the user's internet connection effectively starts outside the "Great Firewall" – in theory giving access to the vast range of information and sites that the Chinese government blocks. That includes many western newspaper sites as well as resources such as Twitter, Facebook and Google.

Users in China suspected in May 2011 that the government there was trying to disrupt VPN use, and now VPN providers have begun to notice the effects.

Astrill, a VPN provider for users inside and outside China, has emailed its users to warn them that the "Great Firewall" system is blocking at least four of the common protocols used by VPNs, which means that they don't function. "This GFW update makes a lot of harm to business in China," the email says. "We believe [the] China censorship minister is a smart man … and this blockage will be removed and things will go back to normal."

But the company added that trying to stay ahead of the censors is a "cat-and-mouse game" – although it is working on a new system that it hopes will let it stay ahead of the detection system.


I find it interesting that China appears to be shifting toward a more scorched-earth policy in regards to internet censorship. A blanket-block of VPNs seems to be what they're attempting, and that's both ambitious and drastic. I'll grant that VPNs are probably one of the most effective ways to circumvent China's censorship of the internet, but they're also ubiquitous in corporate environments. I'm curious what prompted this shift? Does China's leadership feel more threatened than usual by unfettered internet access? Or has the importance of keeping international corporations with operations in China happy been downgraded in importance?
Princess Marzipan wrote:Dear God, we seriously just went and dug up CITATIONS for TORTURE being a WAR CRIME.

We have been fucking TROLLED, dear readers.

User avatar
sardia
Posts: 6544
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:39 am UTC

Re: China tightens Great Firewall, blocks corporate VPNs

Postby sardia » Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:50 am UTC

No matter what, the security of the party in China is paramount. Remember how they're cracking down on doomsayers because they fear the unrest they'll cause?

User avatar
Sockmonkey
Posts: 1214
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2008 11:30 pm UTC

Re: China tightens Great Firewall, blocks corporate VPNs

Postby Sockmonkey » Fri Dec 21, 2012 11:23 am UTC

China has always been a bit leery of the notion of free speech. The internet is like the dire wolf version of free speech. Naturally it scares the crap out of them.

kiklion
Posts: 511
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2008 5:02 am UTC

Re: China tightens Great Firewall, blocks corporate VPNs

Postby kiklion » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:37 pm UTC

On the same token, VPN's are very wide spread in the corporate world. We have a snow storm and people can't get to work? Well that's fine, they VPN in. We have a clients for whom we do their accounting? Well they could send us reports after we prompt them, or our accountants just VPN in and do it themselves.

Also assists with installations/licensing... I do my work in visual studio usually. Client needs an application that reads from one of their databases, I COULD create a test environment in my office for debugging and programming, or I could VPN onto their network and test it with the test database they already have etc.

I wonder if this stops RDP sessions as well? Or if I was in china could I RDP into my home computer and browse from there.

Black ICE
Posts: 60
Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2007 7:38 pm UTC
Location: Pittsfield MA
Contact:

Re: China tightens Great Firewall, blocks corporate VPNs

Postby Black ICE » Sun Dec 23, 2012 2:57 am UTC

I doubt this will affect Tor traffic? Tor essentially does the same thing as a VPN as far as internet access goes, and with tor bridges it will make it very hard if not impossible for the Chinese government and isps to block all tor traffic.

User avatar
EdgarJPublius
Official Propagandi.... Nifty Poster Guy
Posts: 3652
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2007 4:56 am UTC
Location: where the wind takes me

Re: China tightens Great Firewall, blocks corporate VPNs

Postby EdgarJPublius » Sun Dec 23, 2012 3:46 am UTC

There seems to be a lot of concern about Chinese IP theft and corporate espionage amongst western corporations that do business with China. I wonder if this might be as much a move to enable monitoring of foreign business-people in China as to monitor domestic dissidents.
Roosevelt wrote:
I wrote:Does Space Teddy Roosevelt wrestle Space Bears and fight the Space Spanish-American War with his band of Space-volunteers the Space Rough Riders?

Yes.

-still unaware of the origin and meaning of his own user-title

User avatar
addams
Posts: 9997
Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:44 am UTC
Location: Oregon Coast: 97444

Re: China tightens Great Firewall, blocks corporate VPNs

Postby addams » Wed Jan 02, 2013 3:20 am UTC

What is blocked?
The Jersey Girls, FOX News and Gosh point Oh, Dear?

What do the people want to consume?
What is allowed?

Are the Chinese people backward? Stuck in the past? No Sex, Drugs or Rock and Roll on the internet?
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

User avatar
emceng
Posts: 3167
Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 9:38 pm UTC
Location: State of Hockey
Contact:

Re: China tightens Great Firewall, blocks corporate VPNs

Postby emceng » Thu Jan 03, 2013 3:55 pm UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:There seems to be a lot of concern about Chinese IP theft and corporate espionage amongst western corporations that do business with China. I wonder if this might be as much a move to enable monitoring of foreign business-people in China as to monitor domestic dissidents.


Exactly what I was thinking. Many people I talk to that travel to China deal with this. They take a new latop with no data on it when traveling to China. Only do things by using vpn. IP theft in China is horribly common.

So is this about censorship, or a further attempt at industrial espionage? I believe the latter.
When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up. - CS Lewis

User avatar
sardia
Posts: 6544
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:39 am UTC

Re: China tightens Great Firewall, blocks corporate VPNs

Postby sardia » Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:54 pm UTC

emceng wrote:
EdgarJPublius wrote:There seems to be a lot of concern about Chinese IP theft and corporate espionage amongst western corporations that do business with China. I wonder if this might be as much a move to enable monitoring of foreign business-people in China as to monitor domestic dissidents.


Exactly what I was thinking. Many people I talk to that travel to China deal with this. They take a new latop with no data on it when traveling to China. Only do things by using vpn. IP theft in China is horribly common.

So is this about censorship, or a further attempt at industrial espionage? I believe the latter.

While industrial espionage is a problem, there are easier ways to steal your IP. The government demands that you form partnerships with local companies, along with market access in exchange for your IP. Bam, you just traded your intellectual property for a one time chance at a bunch of sales. The only reason companies do it is because the market is so large, they're hoping they'll innovate a new thing by the time the Chinese take back the market share from them.

Iv
Posts: 1207
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2007 1:08 pm UTC
Location: Lyon, France

Re: China tightens Great Firewall, blocks corporate VPNs

Postby Iv » Thu Jan 03, 2013 9:00 pm UTC

Black ICE wrote:I doubt this will affect Tor traffic? Tor essentially does the same thing as a VPN as far as internet access goes, and with tor bridges it will make it very hard if not impossible for the Chinese government and isps to block all tor traffic.

Even before this update, Tor had a difficult time establishing bridges across the Chinese frontier. Appelbaum explained that China is the hardest challenge for Tor. Iran or Syria, they can manage, but in China they have to fight skilled and numerous people actively trying to prevent such connections. Plus, he explained that it is very hard to "just try" a new trick, as the person's life on the Chinese side could very well be at risk if the trick failed.


Return to “News & Articles”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 19 guests