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Censorship continues to be a big concern for China

A group of computer experts from the University of Cambridge claims that they are now able to circumvent the censorship mechanism that China uses to block unwanted content from reaching its citizens. Certain words are banned and certain websites are also banned. A user sitting within the country's network will not be able to reach websites for which the government has deemed inappropriate. China itself has defended its right to police the Internet for its citizens many times.

The group of researchers say that China's firewall is based on a a series of Cisco routers and the products work by censoring keywords. When a user wishes to access a websites that's banned, the router returns reset packets to the foreign website, severing the connection -- the data transmission is stopped at the foreign end-point. Using this bit of information on how the Cisco routers work, the researchers were able to find their way around the firewall by creating a system that ignores the reset packets sent by the Chinese routers.

Along with their discovery, the researchers also found that it was possible to create a denial-of-service (DoS) attack from within the firewall using the router's own blocking mechanisms. By masquerading the source IP address of a banned website to one that's within China's network, the researchers are able to ban users from within the network from accessing a Chinese government website for example.

Richard Clayton, spokesperson for the laboratory at the university told reporters that the researchers had reported the findings to the Chinese Computer Emergency Response Team.

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By Donegrim on 7/5/2006 4:49:44 AM , Rating: 2
Irritates me that the stuck up knobends at cambridge uni reported it to the chiniese emergency computer responce team. What the hell? They have officially sunk to exactly the same level as the people censoring the material in the first place. If they had kept their well bred mouths shut perhaps something useful could have come of this, and maybe for a few weeks people in china could have had access to information other than what their government spoon-feeds them.

By InternetGeek on 7/5/2006 7:04:54 AM , Rating: 2
If I read correctly the firewall works on a 'allow all-deny the following" basis not otherwise...

By Master Kenobi on 7/5/2006 9:25:36 AM , Rating: 2
For China's case since they filter so much, it would be more benefecial to block all traffic and have a whitelist, rather than allowing all traffic and having a blacklist. This would allow them to greatly reduce the ability of its citizens to circumvent this sort of thing.

By blackmetalegg on 7/5/2006 3:00:33 PM , Rating: 2
If the firewall is indeed created based solely on Cisco routers there's no way they'd work according to what you wrote. Cisco routers always go down the ACL from top to bottom and if you put down "allow any" and THEN deny... That second command is useless, since you've allowed everything to pass through already, and nothing is left for the router to block.

And to those who wonder why students from China keep saying "China will improve(in terms of censorship, just give it some time". What did you expect? They've been brainwashed since they were small. Talk to any Chinese who's more than 40 years old and who was lucky enough to not have been educated under communist's regime and that person will tell you how great the current gov't is.

By masher2 on 7/5/2006 11:13:21 AM , Rating: 2
> "If they had kept their well bred mouths shut perhaps something useful could have come of this"

Right. Had they just informed the Chinese people directly, the government never would have gotten wind of it, and censorship could have been forever circumvented.


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