[cryptome] Simple Browser Plug-in Punches an Unfixable Hole in China’s Great Firewall

  • From: Chien Fume <chien.fume@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: cryptome@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 22 Nov 2015 18:58:23 +0200

Classical "what's wrong with this picture?" scenario. Too many
hypotheticals. What could possibly go wrong, eh?


By exploiting the plumbing of the Web, researchers have created a new way
around online censorship that governments could struggle to shut down.


The most established tools for avoiding Web censorship rely on computers
located outside a country that censors the Web. Those computers must access
pages on your behalf and relay the data back. Tor does that using a network
of computers offered up by volunteers around the globe. Using a VPN
connection has a computer pull all its traffic through a particular
computer rented out for that purpose.

CacheBrowser instead exploits a mechanism used by companies to make their
pages load faster to allow a computer to sidestep the censors and access
the pages it wants directly.

Censorship systems like China’s mostly rely on blocking computers from
accessing the Web addresses and IP addresses, which identify specific
servers, of blacklisted sites. But when you visit a popular website, your
computer is usually directed to download it from the servers of a content
delivery network, a company such as Akamai that website operators pay to
store copies of their data on many servers around the world so people can
access it faster. Use of content delivery networks is very common among
major sites and growing; Cisco expects a majority of all Internet traffic
to pass through them within a few years

Censors tend to leave content delivery networks alone because their servers
host many different sites, most of which they don’t want to block, says
Houmansadr. CacheBrowser works by going directly to content delivery
network servers to download pages when you type in a Web address, using a
lookup table of websites and their content delivery networks.
If Cisco will be capturing and handling the majority of Internet traffic,
what is their true role in the growing global 'security' grid? Are they the
noble guardians of the 4th and 5th Amendments (or their equivalents)?

What percentage of Cisco is owned by the Chinese (or one of their

How many Chinese work for Cisco?

How many offices does Cisco have in China (Shenzhen, Hong Kong, and

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