Iran manipulates internet with DNS hijacking – archived source (translated)

Limitations on Google output; A test for more Internet restrictions in Iran

Author: Shadi Khaskar

Tuesday, July 21, 1401 at 16:00 (July 12, 2022)

While the plan to protect the rights of users has not passed its full procedure in the parliament and has not become a law, Internet users in Iran face new and more complicated restrictions every day.

Today, on social networks, users have announced that their searches with Iran’s IP have been redirected to a censored space, i.e., SafeSearch mode. What happens through domain hijacking (DNS Hijacking). Experts say that DNS Hijacking is not unprecedented in Iran, but it seems that this restriction has been applied to some Internet Service Provider (ISP) companies, especially Irancell and Asiatec and its subsidiaries, in the Google domain itself, and users who go to Google’s website for searching Restricted domains arrive.

The changes made on Google’s DNS have caused Google’s reCAPTCHA service to fail in many websites and services that are hosted inside the country. Recaptcha is an online tool that prevents the activity of bots on websites and, for example, it prevents group registration of bots on websites. Google recaptcha is widely used in domestic services. The result of Zomit reporter’s investigations is that these changes seem to be one of the government’s tests to measure the reaction of users to closing the Google site and replacing the search engine approved by the government, and it shows the seriousness of the new team for internet restrictions.

Of course, DNS manipulation in Iran has a long history. In the previous cases, there were always filter breakers and ways to bypass the restrictions to help users to access the information they wanted. Accessing a part of information in Iran is possible with difficulty, and Javad Dadger, an IT and cyber security expert, tells Zomit that every new restriction, either blocking or cutting off access or manipulating outputs, expands the use of filter breakers among users: “The increase in the use of VPN in our country due to the fact that they cannot be obtained directly from a reliable service provider is equal to the increase in malware, and there is a direct connection between the two. The increased use of VPN with unauthorized access leads to the possibility of data theft or deletion, and at the same time threatens the user’s privacy.

The seriousness of the government to limit the Internet in the policies and infrastructure that is being prepared, leads the speculations to the direction that eventually the public will not be able to access part of the information. This is technically possible, and Dodgar explains: “In that case, in addition to those for whom access is specifically provided, there will be two groups of people who can bypass filtering: people who themselves have a server in a certain place or a group of “Experts and specialists who can bypass these restrictions.”

With such a process, the Internet in Iran becomes a possibility for properties and a small group of people, and finally, if limiting the Internet in Iran happens completely, according to the judge, access to information will have a different process: “According to what is being said, there will be categories It ensures that people can have access based on their needs and work. This raises the issue of privacy; Because people have to list their needs in order to be given access to them. While the structure of the Internet is such that anyone can use it any way they want. If every need is to be listed and given access to the individual, privacy will be violated.”

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