China's Censorship Firewall Defeated
July 4, 2006 3:14 PM
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
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.
"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997
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