News sites were blocked on the internet today,as certain ISP’s apparently tested out equipment to use advanced technology to block access to the internet. The blocking included popular sites like Before It’s News, Drudge Report, CNN, MSNBC, Natural News, The Epoch Times, Instapundit and others. The Chinese version of Epoch Times was unaffected, indicating it was targeted to English language news web sites. A blank white screen and “couldn’t connect” message were the result after the request timed out.
This outage lasted several hours, ending at about 10 AM Pacific Time today. Only news sites seemed to be blocked, and when a Virtual Private Network was turned on, all news sites that were blocked could be accessed. This indicates the problem was caused by the local ISP, in this case Comcast or Comcast’s equipment was hacked.
According to technical staff at Before It’s News, the blockage could have been caused by deep packet inspection used inside the routers that move information packets along the internet. This technology allows ISP’s to “look inside” the packets your computer sends and receives and then make a decision to allow the packets through, modify the packets or block them. This technique can also be used to slow or speed up traffic.
News is critical information that can provide life saving safety instructions, i.e. tornado warnings, vital financial information and so on. If this information can be blocked or modified, markets could crash or people could perish in natural disasters. It could also be exploited as a form of cyber-warfare by a state actor, as an alternative to traditional war.
With Unseen, we have developed the technology to get around these kinds of obstructions on the internet using very strong encryption. Future versions will include anti-blocking technology and private network content delivery, which ensure that vital information is delivered promptly and completely intact. Unseen, based in Iceland, offer free secure email, chat and calling accounts at https://unseen.is.