Feeds

German hackers poke hole in great firewall of China

A new Olympic sport

Reducing security risks from open source software

German hackers have constructed a route around the great firewall of China. The Chaos Computer Club said its technology will help athletes and journalists travelling to Beijing for the Olympic Games to circumvent censorship.

Visitors to China are being offered USB sticks containing a browser that connects via the TOR proxy network. These "Freedom Sticks", regular USB drives with pre-installed copies of the TorBrowser and Torprojects software, will only be available during the two-week period of the games. The Chaos Computer Club has also set up a dedicated micro-site that offers separate downloads of the software here.

In a parallel move, German digital rights activist group FoeBuD is offering similar "privacy dongles" through its web store for sale at €20.

TOR point

TOR is a worldwide network of servers, run by volunteers, that provides a means to anonymise data sent over the internet. Information sent over the network is encrypted and routed through different servers on the TOR network.

China uses a network of filtering and blocking technologies, mostly supplied by Western technology firms, to block access to sites about Falun Gong, reports of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 and the Tibet independence movement. Until recently news reports on the BBC were also blocked.

Using proxies to get around these controls and browser sites isn't hard (at least for the tech-savvy) but maintaining anonymity is a problem, which is where the TorBrowser software and freedom sticks come in. Using the technology to send data out of China anonymously is another potentially useful application. The disadvantage of slower download speeds that come from using an anonymiser network is a minor drawback in comparison.

Chaos Computer Club is offering the technology partly to offer an easy way around Chinese censorship restriction but also to make a political point much closer to home.

Controversial new German laws on data retention may make it a criminal offence to operate TOR network nodes. The regulations are the subject of an appeal to the German Federal Constitutional Court.

"We are calling upon the German authorities to stop criminalizing the operators of servers of the TOR network. The behavior of the authorities is detrimental to the people in oppressive states, whose lives are at risk. China is only one of many examples", said Björn Pahls of the Chaos Computer Club. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Microsoft: You NEED bad passwords and should re-use them a lot
Dirty QWERTY a perfect P@ssword1 for garbage websites
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'
Swapping other people's sexts is a fringe benefit, says Snowden
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
British data cops: We need greater powers and more money
You want data butt kicking, we need bigger boots - ICO
Crooks fling banking Trojan at Japanese smut site fans
Wait - they're doing online banking with an unpatched Windows PC?
NIST told to grow a pair and kick NSA to the curb
Lrn2crypto, oversight panel tells US govt's algorithm bods
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.