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Another way to workaround censorship: Scotty

15. Nov 2012

Depending on your goal and your censor there are multiple ways to get past the filters; for example VPN connections, single-hop proxies or Tor.

Censors however figure out ways to block access to proxies by entry-point blacklisting or traffic fingerprinting. VPNs can be blocked as well. There are ways to bypass them, like attempted by the Tor Project.

Now there’s scotty an open source project. It’s similar to an single-hop proxy and has the following requirements/features:

  • Client Software runs on Windows, Linux and Mac, requires Java
  • Gateway runs on Windows, Linux, Mac, requires Java
  • RSA based encryption
  • Uses http (port 80, to get through firewalls)
  • Uses your own server which gives you privacy
  • Can use Google App Engine (free version should do it) if you don’t own a server

You install the gateway on your own server (which has to be located outside the censored zone) or the Google App Engine; Then you install the proxy on your local machine.

(I don’t have an server, and Google threw error messages at me, so I couldn’t try.)

The reason I think it will work for some time is that it looks different than a VPN connection. Once they recognize you connecting to a specific server they could block that connection by blacklisting the servers IP (if it’s static). I don’t know how connections to the Google App Engine would be treated, but censors blocked access to Google completely in the past. I also assume, very strongly, that it’s possible to fingerprint on it, but that won’t happen right now, so it should work.

The connection from the proxy to the gateway (you set up) is encrypted to avoid snooping on your traffic. You basically have to trust the software, therefor the developers and yourself. Your computer, your server that’s it. If you don’t have a server you have to trust Google.

Give it a try if you got Java available.

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