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
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 9/21/2020
Hacking Yourself: Marie Moe and Pacemaker Security
Gary McGraw Ph.D., Co-founder Berryville Institute of Machine Learning,  9/21/2020
Startup Aims to Map and Track All the IT and Security Things
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  9/22/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-24213
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-23
An integer overflow was discovered in YGOPro ygocore v13.51. Attackers can use it to leak the game server thread's memory.
CVE-2020-2279
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-23
A sandbox bypass vulnerability in Jenkins Script Security Plugin 1.74 and earlier allows attackers with permission to define sandboxed scripts to provide crafted return values or script binding content that can result in arbitrary code execution on the Jenkins controller JVM.
CVE-2020-2280
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-23
A cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in Jenkins Warnings Plugin 5.0.1 and earlier allows attackers to execute arbitrary code.
CVE-2020-2281
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-23
A cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in Jenkins Lockable Resources Plugin 2.8 and earlier allows attackers to reserve, unreserve, unlock, and reset resources.
CVE-2020-2282
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-23
Jenkins Implied Labels Plugin 0.6 and earlier does not perform a permission check in an HTTP endpoint, allowing attackers with Overall/Read permission to configure the plugin.