Feeds

Deja vote: Iran blocks VPN use ahead of elections

Crashes YouTube and Facebook at the same time - report

Business security measures using SSL

Iranian authorities have blocked the use of most virtual private network (VPNs) to stop people in the country from circumventing the government's internet filter, three months before the country holds its presidential election.

"Within the last few days illegal VPN ports in the country have been blocked," Ramezanali Sobhani-Fard, the head of the Iranian parliament's information and communications technology committee, told Mehr news agency, according to Reuters. "Only legal and registered VPNs can from now on be used."

The Iranian government filters the internet for anything it regards as offensive or criminal. With a VPN, Iranians could get around that specific content firewall by appearing to access the web from another country.

There are some reports that the attempt to stop VPNs has also cut off Iranians' access to sites like Yahoo!, Google and Facebook.

Non-profit internet freedom group Project Anita was reporting "heavy interference" over VPN and SSL in the country over the weekend.

"Three days on, the problem is still in place," the group's blog said yesterday. "All the L2TP and PPTP protocols remained closed. SSL works, but they managed to somehow highjack the requests to youtube.com and facebook.com."

Iran is set to hold its presidential elections on 14 June. The previous election, in 2009, triggered protests from citizens over what all three candidates claimed were manipulated votes and vote-rigging. Protests in the streets of Tehran triggered a military clampdown which led to the death of Neda Agha-Soltan, whose shooting by a member of the voluntary militia Basij was captured on camera and uploaded to YouTube.

Protestors also used social sites like Facebook to communicate, and Twitter even delayed a scheduled upgrade so that its micro-blogging service would not be down during daylight hours in Iran. It would appear that the government is attempting to make sure the internet cannot be used in the same way this time round. ®

Business security measures using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
ISPs' post-net-neutrality world is built on 'bribes' says Tim Berners-Lee
Father of the worldwide web is extremely peeved over pay-per-packet-type plans
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Turnbull: NBN won't turn your town into Silicon Valley
'People have been brainwashed to believe that their world will be changed forever if they get FTTP'
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.