Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

7/18/2011
04:41 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Telex Promises Path Around State-Sponsored Net Censorship

Tech researchers have developed a way that ISPs can help Internet users avoid censorship roadblocks.

Strategic Security Survey: Global Threat, LocalPain
Strategic Security Survey: Global Threat, Local Pain
(click image for larger view and for full slideshow)
A team of computer researchers from the University of Waterloo in Canada and the University of Michigan has developed an anticensorship system by which ISPs can provide ways around network censorship.

J. Alex Halderman, assistant professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Michigan, in a blog post claims that the technology "has the potential to shift the balance of power in the censorship arms race."

The project, called Telex, exists right now only as a single server in a laboratory. The researchers--a group that also includes Ian Goldberg, associate professor of computer science at the University of Waterloo, and University of Michigan Ph.D. students Eric Wustrow and Scott Wolchok--have not offered specific deployment goals. They say that they hope the project inspires further discussion and research of censorship circumvention.

"[W]e have been using Telex for our daily Web browsing for the past four months, and we're pleased with the performance and stability," wrote Halderman. "We've even tested it using a client in Beijing and streamed HD YouTube videos, in spite of YouTube being censored there."

One way around traditional online censorship is the use of a proxy server, a server that acts as an intermediary to connect network traffic when the more direct path is blocked. The problem with proxy servers is that they too can be blocked, requiring new proxy servers to be established. This cat-and-mouse game is quite common in countries that censor the net.

Telex avoids this problem by creating what the researchers describe as a proxy without an IP address. After installing downloadable client software, a user wishing to access a blocked website can connect to a non-blocked site outside the censor's network. To the censor, this would appear to be a permitted connection; but the user would be redirected via Telex software installed at the ISP level and connected to the blocked site.

The researchers describe Telex as a way to counter state-level censorship. They note that ISPs would likely require some incentives from governments to deploy Telex.

The U.S. government might be ready to contribute. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has championed efforts to develop tools to fight Internet repression. In an address in February, she noted that grants worth $20 million have been awarded to further Internet openness over the past three years and that this year the grant total will reach $25 million. Internet freedom, she said, "is one of the grand challenges of our time."

Telex sounds promising but has a lot to prove. Using insecure anticensorship software in contravention of local laws can lead to imprisonment, torture, or death in some countries. This is why there was so much controversy last year when questions about the security of an anticensorship software project known as Haystack led to the effort's collapse.

InformationWeek Analytics is conducting a survey on mobile device management and security. Respond to the survey and be eligible to win an iPod Touch. Take the survey now. Survey ends July 22.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
SOC 2s & Third-Party Assessments: How to Prevent Them from Being Used in a Data Breach Lawsuit
Beth Burgin Waller, Chair, Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Practice , Woods Rogers PLC,  12/5/2019
Navigating Security in the Cloud
Diya Jolly, Chief Product Officer, Okta,  12/4/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: "This is the last time we hire Game of Thrones Security"
Current Issue
Navigating the Deluge of Security Data
In this Tech Digest, Dark Reading shares the experiences of some top security practitioners as they navigate volumes of security data. We examine some examples of how enterprises can cull this data to find the clues they need.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-0242
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-09
mod_wsgi module before 3.4 for Apache, when used in embedded mode, might allow remote attackers to obtain sensitive information via the Content-Type header which is generated from memory that may have been freed and then overwritten by a separate thread.
CVE-2015-3424
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-09
SQL injection vulnerability in Accentis Content Resource Management System before the October 2015 patch allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary SQL commands via the SIDX parameter.
CVE-2015-3425
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-09
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in Accentis Content Resource Management System before October 2015 patch allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the ctl00$cph_content$_uig_formState parameter.
CVE-2015-7892
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-09
Stack-based buffer overflow in the m2m1shot_compat_ioctl32 function in the Samsung m2m1shot driver framework, as used in Samsung S6 Edge, allows local users to have unspecified impact via a large data.buf_out.num_planes value in an ioctl call.
CVE-2015-0841
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-09
Off-by-one error in the readBuf function in listener.cpp in libcapsinetwork and monopd before 0.9.8, allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) via a long line.