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Chinese Censor-Beating Software Resembles Malware, But Isn't

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the good-to-know dept.

Censorship 160

coondoggie writes "Software designed to beat Chinese censorship may behave in ways that seem suspect, but it is all part of the application's strategy to fool the Great Firewall of China, according to one programmer of the software. 'There are many built-in tricks that do all kinds of things to confuse the firewall,' says David Tian, a scientist for NASA who works spare-time on UltraSurf, the free software designed to promote unrestricted Internet access for citizens of China persecuted for being members of Falun Gang, the religious group the Chinese government is trying to suppress."

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160 comments

Falun Gang (5, Informative)

argux (568146) | more than 4 years ago | (#29248685)

I think it's Falun Gong [wikipedia.org]

Re:Falun Gang (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29248757)

I think it's Falun Gong

Great, now Slashdot will be censored in China. I hope you are happy.

Re:Falun Gang (5, Interesting)

rchh (658159) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249753)

I am currently in China and the Internet censoring is not as bad as I had thought. I can open most websites, including BBC and New York Times. Most online proxies work. I can read any article from wikipedia- including that of Falun Gong ,Tibet and Human Rights.The most notable failures are Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch websites. Maybe I can read most websites because they are in English?

Re:Falun Gang (1)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 4 years ago | (#29250101)

Or you're just being tracked. Don't worry, someone will be by to collect you for reeducation and execution shortly.

Re:Falun Gang (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29250297)

-1 boring, and spoken like someone who's never even visited China.

To get the attention of the Chinese authorities, you would have to be important. That means someone who's a threat in some way.
Assuming you're a white English speaker, that rules you out. You wouldn't even appear on the radar.

Now the perverse thing was that I found China to be more free, everything being relative.
I don't smoke pot.
I don't steal cars.
I do share thousands of files, some of which are going to attract the growing intellectual property police in the west.
I like to visit a few English sites that are blocked in China, which can easily be prox-ied to, and nobody actually cares.

If the UK does eventually criminalize sharing a few shitty files, then they will make me a criminal. I might have to move back to China and pick up the threads I left there.
In China you are free to do what you want, as long as you are white, or don't break the law.

Re:Falun Gang (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29249215)

Uhm Falun gang is not far from the truth. Although I do not agree with the Chinese government's methods of persecution, falun gong is akin to scientology in own operations.

anon. cow. for good reason

Re:Falun Gang (1)

kdemetter (965669) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249555)

Uhm Falun gang is not far from the truth. Although I do not agree with the Chinese government's methods of persecution, falun gong is akin to scientology in own operations.

anon. cow. for good reason

Only if you believe everything the Chinese Ministry of Truth (or lack thereof) tells you.
From my point of view , it's resembles a form of Budhism , and that's one of the most peaceful religions i know.

Re:Falun Gang (1)

PiSkyHi (1049584) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249899)

Its akin to scientology in a way, I think only in that it is a form of Qi gong, as such, many of its principles are about the energy of the body and proclaim things as science, when in fact they are spiritually based, not scientifically based.

This is true of all qi gong forms in China - most of them well respected like a science, but without rigor for truth.

Many qi gong principles are common sense and others are almost like faith healing. None are to be tested, but many have a good standing in universities.

A bit like a Western Universities Philosophy department, its who you quote, not your rationality, that counts.

Re:Falun Gang (1)

BakaHoushi (786009) | more than 4 years ago | (#29250311)

And my mother practices Reiki, beliving crystal rocks and chakra/chi are used to heal the body, despite (to my knowledge) any actual benefits noted by any reputable scientific source beyond the placebo effect.

There are a lot of religious groups who claim their religion follows the strict, rigorous testings of science. Hell, creationists have museums to "explain" why it's a scientifically valid theory.

The problem with your comparison to Scientology is when most people hear "Scientology," they think "money-grubbing, murderous, evil bastards."

Re:Falun Gang (1)

sm4096 (1104499) | more than 4 years ago | (#29250455)

Hardly FLG. That is one item that didn't seem involved in the Tibet issue. I am a bored nerd with too much time on his hands. Oh one more item... -- If you ever find yourself in a land where everything is taken too literally It is best to have another language to fall back upon. This is esp true for psychiatric computer science students. Too much hawking radiation is bad. I wonder just how many programmers know more then one language.

Re:Falun Gang (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29250505)

And I think it's a religious cult with strong anti-homosexual sentiments that spouts all sorts of anti-rational new-age nonsense and gets a lot of respect from Westerners just because it's being repressed.

is that so? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29248691)

Well at least we know china FIRST POST OLOLO

Perhaps.... (0, Troll)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#29248721)

says David Tian, a scientist for NASA who works spare-time on UltraSurf, the free software designed to promote unrestricted Internet access for citizens of China persecuted for being members of Falun Gang, the religious group the Chinese government is trying to suppress."

So the same government with flag@whitehouse.gov wants freedom of information in other countries but not in their own?

Re:Perhaps.... (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29248793)

So any programming produced during your "spare time" will be claimed by your employer as "work for hire"? I suggest that you renegotiate your employment contracts.

Re:Perhaps.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29249105)

Yeah, because trying to counteract misinformation is TOTALLY like putting people in jail for their religious beliefs. Or, for that matter, having your FUCKING POSTMAN spy on you: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_TIPS

Do I even need to bring up Nixon spying on absolutely everyone?

It's amazing how bent out of shape conservatives have gotten since they realized that unlimited executive authority ended up in the hands of somebody they don't agree with...

Re:Perhaps.... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29249179)

A) Not everyone complaining about Obama is a conservative.

B) Not everyone complaining about Obama liked Bush.

I hate them both for what they've done to our freedoms.

I like China (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 4 years ago | (#29248723)

everything is delicious and everybody is Chinese and everything is with funny sound s abd pictyehrs ande mommy is SNAKES SNAKES!!!!! WATCH OUT FOR SNAKES!!!!!!!!!!!! SHIT!

Falun Gong (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29248729)

Article mispelled the name, subject has the right name of the "religious" group. It is worth nothing that Falun Gong is actually a cult that believes you can become a God by setting yourself on fire or via suicide by jumping off buildings, etc. This is not a set of rationale individuals who have chosen to congregate to discuss some philosophical issues with the world. They're a nutty cult like Heaven's Gate that believes they become immortal through self-imposed death. For the rest of us to criticize the Chinese for a crackdown on something we do not understand before actually evaluating their motives is a bit presumptuous.

Re:Falun Gong (2, Funny)

cat_jesus (525334) | more than 4 years ago | (#29248777)

Oh yeah that's way nuttier than believing drinking the blood and eating the body of a zombie will get you into heaven.

Re:Falun Gong (1)

descil (119554) | more than 4 years ago | (#29248817)

Wait, a REAL zombie? This Christianity thing might actually be worth some looking into..

*is slapped by a noodly appendage of the flying spaghetti monster*

never mind...

Re:Falun Gong (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 4 years ago | (#29248857)

...drinking the blood and eating the body of a zombie will get you into heaven.

I do not know of anybody that considers that a prerequisite.

Re:Falun Gong (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29248943)

I do not know of anybody that considers that a prerequisite.

It's called the eucharistic rite. Basically, the cult works like this: Eat the body, drink the blood, [redacted], go to heaven. Warning: Some members believe that you have to pour water over them, others believe that submerging them in a lake works, but regardless there other prerequisites besides eating brains and sucking blood. Please visit your priest and see if eating brains is right for you!

Re:Falun Gong (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249051)

It's called the eucharistic rite.

I am aware of that, though it's usually called Communion among Protestants. Like I said, I don't know anyone that considers it a prerequisite.

Re:Falun Gong (2, Interesting)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249995)

Isn't it a requirement of Catholicism? From the light reading I've done, it really seems that according to strict Catholic teachings, you have to have all your nutty rituals strictly in order when you die, or you burn forever.

That's one way in which Protestants have seemed to make more sense to me. It's just an up or down "Accept Jesus y/n" type choice. No chanting, no strange priesthood.

God, sometimes it just boggles my mind that we still have religion. I'll be playing a fantasy game, or reading a novel, with priests and churches and angels and demons, and it hits me that 90% of America fervently believes stuff that seems cheesy in a video game.

Re:Falun Gong (1)

Pax681 (1002592) | more than 4 years ago | (#29250461)

yups is catholicism the other is this

baptism(not long after birth)
and no communion until......
first holy communion(aged 7)
where after you can eat all the little wafers as much as you like then
confirmation(aged was 11-12)

HOWEVER that how it WAS!..LOL just spoke to a catholic friend and he says that the infallible church of Rome has admitted an error in the ritual order as was

it seems it seems that it should have been baptism ====>confirmation =====> first holy communion!

now where is that flying spaghetti monster? i am hungry and got some bolognese sauce.... it's communion time!...LOL

Re:Falun Gong (1)

Pax681 (1002592) | more than 4 years ago | (#29250491)

oops.. my dyslexia kicks in again...

that should have read.....

yups IN catholicism the ORDER is.......
oops

Re:Falun Gong (2, Interesting)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249183)

Tsk, tsk. This is an important cultural and religious phenomenon that you really should be aware of. Know then that John 6:49 goes something like this. Jesus is getting off the "dividing the loaves and fishes" episode and was evacuating across the lake; the crowd followed him anyway and now they're asking him for a miraculous sign so they can believe in him. They suggest the old manna-in-the-desert trick as an example. Many of them may be operating off of the popular "revolutionary messiah" premise, believing that there will soon be a military overthrow of the existing oppressive world order. They don't quite get what they expected:

"Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."

Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"

Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever."

On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?" Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, "Does this offend you? What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe."

... From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

Some interpretations dismiss this as a purely symbolic exercise, but the language isn't really the language of symbolism, and furthermore the actual working metaphors for "to eat (someone's) flesh" and "to drink (someone's) blood" mean "to persecute (someone)" and "to oppress (them)". The traditional interpretation for a long time - today, the Catholic and Orthodox stories - integrate this with the subsequent "Last Supper" rite in which blessed bread / wine are said to become his (Jesus's) actual body and blood (though the actual appearance and taste, of course, is unchanged, perhaps recognizing that, in fact, cannibalism is something that people find icky in oractice.)

The whole flesh-as-bread premise probably works a lot better with people who have a diet of mostly-bread, and actually experience handling bread dough, for whatever that's worth.

Re:Falun Gong (1)

dimeglio (456244) | more than 4 years ago | (#29250473)

We getting rather off topic here. Where are the moderator's with troll and off-topics?

China's censor is designed for Chinese who live in China. I see no problem with that unless you are part of a resistance movement who want to attempt a coup against the Chinese government.

Re:Falun Gong (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#29248797)

As Lenin slipped into Russia with German support,
Li Hongzhi slipped Falun Gong into China with US support.
The CPC knows its history :)

Re:Falun Gong (3, Informative)

Wolfier (94144) | more than 4 years ago | (#29248971)

It's probably not a cult group, but more resembles a hate group where I see them in Toronto.

They don't seem to practise what they were supposed to believe and preach (which is "Truth, Compassion, Tolerance"). Everyday they set up a booth and spread hate message about the Chinese Communist Party.

Let's put aside our judgement towards CCC itself, which must not be very positive anyway - they way Falun Gong people act just seem to totally contradict "Compassion" and "Tolerance" and it seems more and more like they're preaching "an eye for an eye".

I would not let my children go anywhere near this "religion".

Re:Falun Gong (3, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249049)

Well pretty much any new religious movement is going to be absolutely insane. It makes sense for a communist government to suppress Falun Gong.. the problem is that they do it by treating practitioners as criminals instead of as victims.

The controversy really doesn't have anything to do with the psychological issues though.. it's that they're imprisoning people, torturing people, and harvesting organs.. not cool for any reason

Re:Falun Gong (3, Informative)

macshit (157376) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249141)

Everyday they set up a booth and spread hate message about the Chinese Communist Party. Let's put aside our judgement towards CCC itself,....

They don't seem to be preaching violent revolution against the chinese communist party, merely saying that it sucks, and people should not support them. So our opinion of the CCC matters quite a bit in how we judge what they say (and lets face it, for the most part, the CCC does suck)...

they way Falun Gong people act just seem to totally contradict "Compassion" and "Tolerance" and it seems more and more like they're preaching "an eye

I would not let my children go anywhere near this "religion".

for an eye".

the CCC quite happily kills and imprisons all those who resist or complain about its rule, and even those it suspects of resisting, or those who merely defend the rights of others to do so. Falun Gong has certainly been on the receiving end of such persecution. If Falun Gong were guilty of "eye for an eye" thinking, they'd be advocating similar actions against the CCC; but as far as I've seen, they're not, not even close. Though they certainly go to great lengths to demonize the CCC (to the extent they can be kinda annoying), every action I've seen Falun Gong advocate has been non-violent, and non-oppressive (mostly calling for individual chinese to disown the communist party).

So really I don't know what you're talking about....

Re:Falun Gong (1)

Wolfier (94144) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249907)

From the tone of their pitch, I'm sure if they have the mean for violence, they would.

It is the right thing to do to point out what the CCP does wrongly (and there are tons of examples). However, if you skip elaborating things and instead just put up posters and handing out fliers that say "MAY THE HEAVEN DESTROY CCP!!" and unnecessarily exaggerate your message, it would totally contradict their message of "Truth, Tolerance".

The FLG people I see, while they may not be a representative of all FLG practitioners, do things that satisfies the search results for "define: hate group" on Google:

        * A hate group is an organized group or movement that advocates physical or verbal aggression toward or refusal to interact with persons on the ...
            en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_group

        If you read their messages on the flyers, it sounds just like a verbal aggression.

        * an organization whose primary purpose is to promote animosity, hostility, and malice against persons belonging to a group of a race, religion ...
            www.umw.edu/bias/terms/default.php

        It looks like they're spending at least 80% of their time to proomte animosity and hostility against the CCP. I have never seen our local FLG people preach their "Truth/Compassion/Tolerance".

        * The term "hate group" is used to describe any organization in any sector of society that aggressively demonizes or dehumanizes members of a ...
            www.publiceye.org/glossary/glossary_big.html

        Their demonization is nothing short of aggressive.

It is possible to spread the message about the malice of the CCP without the sensationalism, exaggeration and phony researches. Frankly, just a partial but factual list of what the CCP does in the past 10 years would disgust any member of a civilised society. The way the Toronto FLG people do it, it gives me an impression that they're consumed by FLG's hate towards CCP. Maybe if they replaced the sensationalism, phony researches and the "HEAVEN DESTROYS!!" message that pollute people's mind and replace them with a civilised elaboration of facts, they may get their point across MUCH more effectively then they're now.

Until they do that, I still hold my view they look more like a hate group than a religion to me.

Re:Falun Gong (1)

macshit (157376) | more than 4 years ago | (#29250315)

From the tone of their pitch, I'm sure if they have the mean for violence, they would.

Er, your being "sure" isn't enough. If they advocate people (not "heaven") commiting violence against the CC, where?

It is the right thing to do to point out what the CCP does wrongly (and there are tons of examples). However, if you skip elaborating things

They do spend a huge amount of time pointing all the horrid things the CCP does -- in fact, almost all public speech by Falun Gong I've seen consists of reports of that. [In other words, "elaborating things"]

and instead just put up posters and handing out fliers that say "MAY THE HEAVEN DESTROY CCP!!"

That's the equivalent of saying "god damn the CCP" -- it's hyperbole and maybe a bit childish, but it isn't the same thing as advocating violence.

* A hate group is an organized group or movement that advocates physical or verbal aggression toward or refusal to interact with persons on the ...

Oh please; a silly and excessively hand-wringing definition of "hate group" isn't interesting to anybody except lawyers and politicians.

Real people are far more practical, and yes the nature of the opponent counts quite a lot in how most people think about the situation -- "verbal aggression" against a very nasty and literally murderous opponent is not something most people would begrudge.

[Surely there are good reasons for that definition -- in particular, definitions like that are general, and intended to be applied in cases where the opponent is weak, and things like "verbal aggression" can actually be harmful. Not the against CCP.]

It is possible to spread the message about the malice of the CCP without the sensationalism, exaggeration and phony researches.

No doubt. I agree that Falun Gong's approach is often pretty silly, and kind of childish. They'd probably be a lot more effective if they tried to approach things more maturely.

But so far I've seen no evidence that they actually promote violence. "verbal aggression" against the CCP is not violence, and saying "may heaven destroy" is not promoting it (unless I suppose you think god will actually do it, but I suspect nobody here does...).

Until they do that, I still hold my view they look more like a hate group than a religion to me.

I can't determine how you see things, but your view appears decidedly skewed, and I don't think you've demonstrated what you're claiming.

Re:Falun Gong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29249797)

Opposing a secular government, or any specific government, may be itself suppressed and opposed, and I'll not speak to the morality of that, but to attempt to mislabel such opposition groups "hate groups" in the suppression of dissent seems a grotesque misuse of the term. To tie peaceful activists to terrorists and genocidaires that would target select ethnic groups, genders, etc to violence out of hatred is an abominable act of which you should be deeply, deeply ashamed.

Re:Falun Gong (1)

Wolfier (94144) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249845)

> To tie peaceful activists to terrorists and genocidaires that would target select ethnic groups, genders, etc to violence out of hatred

A group can be a hate group without violence. CCC sucks, but watching what Falun Gong people does is also very disgusting, because it's quite obvious that the tone of their pitch *is* out of hatred, whether it's violent or not.

I know a lot of group protest with peaceful messages, and annoying passers-by with flyers with a hateful tone written all over it is not one of them - even if you don't see violence in a video taken of them.

Re:Falun Gong (1)

maugle (1369813) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249007)

If the main tenet of the Falun Gong really was "suicide rocks!", the Chinese wouldn't need to crack down on them. They'd just have to wait a couple weeks and the problem would solve itself.

Re:Falun Gong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29249921)

You know people of Falun Gong do not call it "suicide", they call it "go to haven".

Confuse it? How? (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29248737)

You shouldn't be trying to "confuse it", you should be making sure that the traffic patterns aren't unique and discernable. In other words, using steganography. All this "confusion" stuff I read in the article gives the user a distinct pattern of behavior that can identify the user as actively using said software. If you're trying to get under the radar of the government, don't start by sending up a big digital flare that says "Hey! I'm trying to bypass your crap." It usually ends badly for the would-be revolutionary, who's first job (I might add) is to survive.

Even in so-called "free" countries like the US, the government can imprison people indefinately on the off chance that the encrypted data may be subversive. How do you suppose China would handle it? Encryption doesn't enable free speech -- a gun to the head is a pretty effective way of recovering the key.

Save lives: Use stenography.

Re:Confuse it? How? (4, Funny)

tecnico.hitos (1490201) | more than 4 years ago | (#29248779)

Save lives: Use stenography.

abv cmt shd b fxd

Re:Confuse it? How? (0, Offtopic)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29248835)

abv cmt shd b fxd

ebg13 be fvzvyne vf abg fgrabtencul. Nyfb, gb jungrire zbqrengbe qrpbqrf guvf: Zbq rirelbar jub cbfgf gur bevtvany -1, sbe orvat gbb ynml gb tbbtyr sbe ebg13.

Re:Confuse it? How? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29248945)

It says Above comment should be fixed. stpd cnt bth

Re:Confuse it? How? (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29248955)

It says Above comment should be fixed. stpd cnt bth

trl w/sml pns.

Re:Confuse it? How? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29249041)

Is that fermented fish i smell? well I digress, on with the troll.

The prison niggers appreciate those crackers in NASA be helping the chinks. Now we know we have whitey looking after gooks and we look to take white chicks up the ass. It be the best thing to run a train on a chubby low self esteem white chick, fucking her pussy and asshole all night long. It is almost as good as tapping some puerto rican ass, but that shit is tighter and when that bitch get violent (PR chicks always do) we just duct tape that mouth shut while we take turns cumming in that ass over and over. Mexican bitches be the best cause you can run up on a bitch with a fat ass in broad daylight and run a pimp train on that bitch in her anus and that immigrant husband won't do shit. When we got some gay ass niggers who want to fuck some male asshole, we just run up on a mexican man, who they gonna report. Sometimes we just abduct the bitch to our projects apartment for the week and fuck the shit out of her, until we get tired of that bitch. White bitches are more fun though, sometimes when the bitch is chubby and horny enough we just fuck her through for 2 weeks and come back in another week cause her fat ass is ready for more. Smack bitches with a 10 inch cock. I once raped this indian chick, she was mad weak, so i got my boys to run a train on her that lasted 3 days. She looked like frosty the snowman after we all got done with cumming on her. She got that shit so hard she must of spit cum for a month. I recently visted her and punched her in the face before I got inside that ass again. We be abnormal.

Re:Confuse it? How? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#29248821)

They might do something like the firefox plug "Track me not"
http://mrl.nyu.edu/~dhowe/TrackMeNot/
It sends out search based noise and obfuscation by making randomized search-queries to popular search engines, e.g., AOL, Yahoo!, Google, and MSN..

Re:Confuse it? How? (4, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29248885)

It sends out search based noise and obfuscation by making randomized search-queries to popular search engines, e.g., AOL, Yahoo!, Google, and MSN..

*face palm* Googling "how do I blow up government buildings" is going to attract the attention of shub internet no matter how many bogus queries you put before or after it. Most filtering schemes are based on content -- they don't care to do statistical analysis. You're just not that important. All they need to hang you is proof you visited a certain website or looked for certain terms. For example, if I typ[$)%(T^NO CARRIER

Re:Confuse it? How? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29249357)

*face palm* Googling "how do I blow up government buildings" is going to attract the attention of shub internet no matter how many bogus queries you put before or after it. Most filtering schemes are based on content -- they don't care to do statistical analysis.

The point of bogus queries is to avoid tracking based on behavior, which is of course a matter of concern in this context. It is assumed that your ip address is already hidden.

Re:Confuse it? How? (2, Informative)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249411)

The point of bogus queries is to avoid tracking based on behavior, which is of course a matter of concern in this context. It is assumed that your ip address is already hidden.

First, "tracking based on behavior" -- What exactly constitutes behavior? A string of a thousand randomly generated queries, popular or not, mixed in with several queries on how to build bombs is going to be flagged. It isn't generating any real extra work for them to deduce who you are by traffic analysis, because packet sizes, times sent/received, and other data specific to the request is going to correlate with a specific time and place, which means a specific person (in all likelihood).

As to the IP address being "hidden" -- I'm not even sure where to start. Packet-based switching networks (ie. TCP/IP) require a source and destination IP. The ISP knows your IP address. It's often required by law to log all connections to/from each; at the very least the header data, but with the crashing costs of storage, keeping the content as well is a trivial matter. There's no "hiding" your IP address.

All methods of connecting via encrypted tunnels into a "proxy cloud" that I have seen are still vulnerable to basic traffic analysis: As long as you have packet logs for the end-point and source, traffic analysis is a trivial computational task. Translation: I can have confidence that a given computer sent a given query at a given time; Decryption of the data at any point within the cloud or at the source isn't needed -- as long as I have the server logs and a corresponding packet log of the target computer, you're toast.

Steganographic techniques would make the results of such an analysis difficult or impossible if properly implimented, but depend on the cloud architecture reaching critical mass, sending a constant flow of random data between each node, and then rate-limiting. These constrictions mean that the computational resources used to create said security are much, much higher than the current model. This is why they haven't been adopted -- simply put, nobody wants to wait several seconds to a minute for a single webpage to load, and the owners of said cloud don't want to waste bandwidth to manage what they believe is a low-risk attack vector.

Sadly, it's exactly this kind of thinking that may very well get someone killed over there.

Re:Confuse it? How? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249567)

girlintraining, welcome to the world of Tor if your in China or the NSA.
When you are the network, you can trace back.

Re:Confuse it? How? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29250011)

That's not how it works. You need to get a seemingly harmless algorithm to mask low-risk attack vectors. Hiding data works because it's so a novel approach to the distribution. I don't know what to say. Just that in all contexts that could be construed as I just want to contemplate the possibility of copulating over your slightly contorted overweight body. The very proposition of the single webpage idea sounds lacking in rigour.

Re:Confuse it? How? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249531)

"girlintraining" the point is to have some nice, boring background 'chatter' looking up random 'safe' terms.
Like the NSA, China would pick up on some terms mostly to do with tanks and people in the late 1980-90's ect.
Been stuck on some ip with junk packets moving around after day might trip something to..

Re:Confuse it? How? (2, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#29250119)

Googling "how do I blow up government buildings" is going to attract the attention of shub internet no matter how many bogus queries you put before or after it.

If anyone is wondering the answer to that question but doesn't want to attract the attention of the "shub" internet, I've got the answer right here. There is usually somewhere on the building a small thermal exhaust port approximately 2 meters wide. A direct hit with a proton torpedo should cause a chain reaction that will destroy it. I should caution you that ONLY a direct hit will cause a chain reaction.

Re:Confuse it? How? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29248847)

Stenography:
      1. The art or process of writing in shorthand.
      2. The art or practice of transcribing speech with a stenograph machine.
      3. Material transcribed in shorthand. (answers.com)

Steganography:
Is the art and science of writing hidden messages in such a way that no one, apart from the sender and intended recipient, suspects the existence of the message, a form of security through obscurity. (wikipedia.com)

Re:Confuse it? How? (1)

arctanx (1187415) | more than 4 years ago | (#29248879)

Possibly you mean "steganography". :) You're absolutely right -- it's the online equivalent of (oblig.) http://xkcd.com/538/ [xkcd.com]

In fact, it may already be happening. For all we know, Twitter might _actually_ be a sophisticated stream of secrets from China, simply veiled behind trending topic spam and comments about who had what for dinner.

Re:Confuse it? How? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29249001)

Not sure how they're going to use secretarial shorthand to save lives. Unless their steganography relies on hiding messages in meeting minutes?

Re:Confuse it? How? (1)

VocationalZero (1306233) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249093)

you should be making sure that the traffic patterns aren't unique and discernable. In other words, using steganography. All this "confusion" stuff I read in the article gives the user a distinct pattern of behavior that can identify the user as actively using said software.

From what I gather from the article, it is actually the opposite of what you though it was:

Chinese authorities monitor UltraSurf carefully and try to identify signatures that can be used to set filters, so the software sends out useless traffic to make noise that makes it difficult to characterize the legitimate traffic, he says. ... UltraSurf programmers play a cat-and-mouse game with Chinese censors trying to block its traffic, so the team working on it has to continually alter its methods to adapt to each innovation in the Great Firewall, he says. "We have a great understanding of the Great Firewall and how to defeat it."

It could have been clearer if he had used the word "deceive" instead of "confuse", or if you had actually read the article. Oh wait sorry, forgot where I was.

Re:Confuse it? How? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29249247)

you are so right but I have yet to find an easily employable solution
so as suggested before currently using http://www.internetfreedom.org/UltraSurf
and linked tools
do you have a steganography tool you can recommend or are you just blowing wind

NOT Free Software (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29248815)

David Tian, a scientist for NASA who works spare-time on UltraSurf, the free software designed to promote unrestricted Internet access for citizens of China

This isn't free software. There is no source available anywhere.

Re:NOT Free Software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29248869)

It doesn't claim to be FOSS. All free software doesn't have to be FOSS.

Re:NOT Free Software (2, Informative)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 4 years ago | (#29248891)

This isn't free software. There is no source available anywhere.

There's a difference between free software and open source software.

Re:NOT Free Software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29249155)

This isn't free software. There is no source available anywhere.

Yes please to release code for study, much interest in such topic have we.

Strange facts. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29249003)

There is no scientific reason why Kathleen Fent's cunt tastes like mayonnaise, yet it does.

comspiracy (2, Funny)

gmermnstinsmermwords (1627107) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249011)

Or so David Tian would like you to believe, but did any of us think that he may be using his software as a ploy to deploy real Malware and take down the Chinese space program, from the inside!! If you listen you can hear the muah ha ha echo after reading the blip.

wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29249101)

Chinese Senseless-Beating Resembles Malware, But Is

What is the obsession with Falun Gong? (4, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249171)

Seriously, wtf is this Western obsession with the Falun Gong? On one hand, you have fundamentalist athiests in charge of Western media who take every opportunity to attack and discredit any religion, much less crazy cults like Scientology or Raëlism. On the other hand, you have those same exact people coming to the defense of Falun Gong! Everyone knows they're nuts, right? To call them the Mormons of China would be too mild, they're more like the Branch Davidians. So, to sum up, we have hardcore athiests getting really offended that an officially atheist government (the best kind!) is cracking down on religion. Strange days, eh?

My own personal explanation for this bizarre behavior is that Westerners actually don't know anything about Falun Gong, and don't care to learn. They are comfortable with the "narrative" that FG=good, China=bad. And as recent events have shown, narratives are more important and cherished than the actual facts on the ground. People get *angry* when their comfortable narratives are revealed to be inaccurate.

Atheist media? (4, Insightful)

MushMouth (5650) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249221)

While I agree that Falun Gong is a total wacky cult (and I have old friends where sadly involved with it), but maybe you should think with a little objectivity calling the media atheist. I mean the one thing that a US presidential candidate must do is prove their love to Jesus. Don't you think if the media were atheist this sort of thing would be questioned a bit more. The one thing that a major political candidate simply can not be is Atheist, polls have pretty much proven that we will get an islamic president before we get an atheist. Personally I find the rites of all christianity, and bible stories just as nutty as the Xenu crap. Think for a second if you first heard these stories when you were in your 20s.

Re:Atheist media? (1)

BountyX (1227176) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249495)

I mean the one thing that a US presidential candidate must do is prove their love to Jesus

Not just presidents, congressmen too. I personally think Obama is agnostic and his Christian faith is merely political.

Re:Atheist media? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29249619)

With the amount of religiously unacceptable actions of congressmen like adultery you have to wonder if our representatives are insane like most of the world is (including the US population) or just atheists disguised as people having faith. Somehow atheism doesn't really equal adultery, "sin", or other unethical behaviour as people seem to imply.

Re:Atheist media? (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249547)

While I agree that Falun Gong is a total wacky cult (and I have old friends where sadly involved with it), but maybe you should think with a little objectivity calling the media atheist.
Calling them collectively atheist is indeed objective. As opposed to what, reporters for the 700 Club? The heartwarming "conversion of the week" series on 60 Minutes?

I mean the one thing that a US presidential candidate must do is prove their love to Jesus.
Hey, we were talking about the media - how'd we switch gears to presidential elections all the sudden?

Don't you think if the media were atheist this sort of thing would be questioned a bit more. The one thing that a major political candidate simply can not be is Atheist, polls have pretty much proven that we will get an islamic president before we get an atheist.
Yes, that's democracy for you. Still, I don't follow how the presidency has anything to do with the media.

Personally I find the rites of all christianity, and bible stories just as nutty as the Xenu crap.
So, your issue is the media isn't atheist enough. Anyway, I remain baffled by the favorable coverage of Falun Gong. It is only the Western media who have this obsession. Other Asian media don't have it, and other countries' English-language media barely mention the F-G. And yet, they're some sort of symbol of freedom and resistance against oppression? I smell projection.

Re:Atheist media? (1)

ZeRu (1486391) | more than 4 years ago | (#29250309)

You know what, Cuba is so close and has an atheist for president. So you're free to go there if you feel oppressed as an atheist in the USA.

Re:What is the obsession with Falun Gong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29249307)

Since when is violence acceptable? If FG practitioner ends up killing themselves or lose their jobs, that's their own problem. But since when is violence against them a good thing?
Do the hypocrites you speak of want the Scientologists to die some horrible deaths?
I'm tempted to say you have been brai*cough* by the things you've read. I personally don't care about religions. But we have a human rights crisis here. Or maybe I should say that's how it's always been in China.

Re:What is the obsession with Falun Gong? (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249379)

On one hand, you have fundamentalist athiests in charge of Western media who take every opportunity to attack and discredit any religion, much less crazy cults like Scientology or Raelism.

"Western media" is hardly homogenous.

Re:What is the obsession with Falun Gong? (1)

BountyX (1227176) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249451)

seriously? atheist media? by media I assume primarily television? give me a break. the only atheist media I know is /. (or maybe the entire internet).

Re:What is the obsession with Falun Gong? (1)

rohan972 (880586) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249455)

On one hand, you have fundamentalist athiests in charge of Western media who take every opportunity to attack and discredit any religion

The attacks on religion carried out tend to be a little less brutal than harvesting religious people for organs. Nobody cares if Falun Gong is criticized.

an officially atheist government (the best kind!)

Officially atheist governments have tended to be every bit as brutal as theocratic dictatorships. Secular government is far more desirable. Religious beliefs should be irrelevant to government since they cannot issue a decree that affects the existence or otherwise of any god. Believing something without evidence is not valid grounds for criminal sanctions.

Re:What is the obsession with Falun Gong? (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | more than 4 years ago | (#29250015)

Religious beliefs should be irrelevant to government since they cannot issue a decree that affects the existence or otherwise of any god.

Having just re-read I, Claudius and Claudius the God, I couldn't help but chuckle a bit at this. I'm sure the Roman Senate could have benefited immensely from your sagacity.

Re:What is the obsession with Falun Gong? (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249609)

Seriously, wtf is this Western obsession with the Falun Gong?

About fifteen or twenty years ago, some US newspaper columnists were comparing them (somewhat favorably) to the "Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists". I'm not sure whether this comparison was original, or derived from CCP communiques. In the spirit of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend", FG became somewhat celebrated.

Re:What is the obsession with Falun Gong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29249759)

Seriously, wtf is this Western obsession with the Falun Gong? On one hand, you have fundamentalist athiests in charge of Western media who take every opportunity to attack and discredit any religion, much less crazy cults like Scientology or Raëlism. On the other hand, you have those same exact people coming to the defense of Falun Gong! Everyone knows they're nuts, right?

The enemies of my enemies are my friends.

Whatever it is, if it opposes China, then it has to be on the side of the Western countries.

discredit != crackdown (3, Insightful)

ZmeiGorynych (1229722) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249807)

Because some people, such as myself, are fully in favor of making fun of religions, but object to the 'cracking down' part. As insane as Falun Gong might be, they should be allowed to preach and practice whatever the hell they want as long as they don't resort to actual physical violence, just as the society should be free to do any counter-propaganda - but blanket censorship and putting a lot of practitioners in prison is crossing the line.

Re:What is the obsession with Falun Gong? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249883)

you have fundamentalist athiests in charge of Western media who take every opportunity to attack and discredit any religion

As an atheist, I would really have liked to get the memo that we are now in charge of the Western media. That could have been quite handy for my career.

Re:What is the obsession with Falun Gong? (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249969)

Falun Gong is just as stupid as Christianity. But I'd gladly fight to protect people's right to practice either. I don't give a royal flying fuck whether Falun Gong are the 'Mormons of China', when I'd stand up for the Mormons of the U.S.

You don't criminalize beliefs. If you think they're wrong TALK TO THEM. That's what adults and civilized countries learn.

Re:What is the obsession with Falun Gong? (1)

indiechild (541156) | more than 4 years ago | (#29250169)

Religion in China is allowed as long as it's "approved" by the dictatorship.

Falun Gong = Branch Davidians? That's a rich one. So the FG are stockpiling small arms, explosives and .50 caliber machineguns, and it's an anti-China conspiracy that the Western media and public ignores... right.

You can delude yourself all you want, but the fact of the matter is, in Western countries you have a whole lot more freedom than you do in China. Oh, and you don't fucking get tortured and executed for your religious beliefs.

Re:What is the obsession with Falun Gong? (1)

mikechant (729173) | more than 4 years ago | (#29250561)

On one hand, you have fundamentalist athiests in charge of Western media who take every opportunity to attack and discredit any religion,

You clearly live on a different planet to me. On my planet the mainstream media spend a lot of time creeping around all the 'respectable' religions, making sure they never offend them in any way. When any 'moral' issue is debated religious 'leaders', often self-appointed, are asked respectfully for their opinions while secular representatives are ignored or marginalized.
In the UK you even get extra parliamentary representation if you're in the Church of England - once via your MP and again via your bishop in the house of lords.

Re:What is the obsession with Falun Gong? (1)

lordmetroid (708723) | more than 4 years ago | (#29250563)

When people start get persecuted, incarcerated, tortured and killed by the government thugs for following a religion how heinous that religion may be, Ias a human will stand up for the persecuted people. No matter what!

Props to UltraSurf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29249335)

I rely on UltraSurf almost daily. Its light and effective, just the way I like it.

Brillant (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249363)

Announcing that the software that could be used to bypass their filters is indistinguishable from malware will mean than soon China will be the country with less malware (ok, if you want, non-government sponsored malware) in the world. Not sure how much that will hit botnets, or the level of spam, but probably could be enough to make a difference.

Also, that could be very bad news for malware/botnet/spambots programmers/controllers... at least, i hope so.

Scam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29249633)

This program is just one big scam to get funds from some human right organization or what not.

Living in China you will quickly learn a number of things:

- All the information you want, including Falun Gong, Tibet, etc. can be found INSIDE China. The only issue is that you need to LOOK for it. Which may be in convenient, but no more than LOOKING for a solution to by pass the GFW.

- A host of Chinese and foreign companies alike offer VPN's to the US. None of these are blocked by the GFW, even after years of operation. (This is different from free proxies who DO get blocked - but I can't really call that a disservice considering all the privacy issues related to using these proxies.)

- If you looked at the GFW's functioning at all you know that actual blocking a website by blacklisting its IP is VERY RARE. In most cases they use DNS poisoning combined with sending out RST packets. The first is very simple to overcome, the second could easily be avoided if US providers would simply drop RST packets "at the border". Obviously there is simply no interest to do so.

'English needs braces!' (1)

John Guilt (464909) | more than 4 years ago | (#29249949)

I've often thought that, but expecially just now, when I couldn't figure out from the title whether
Chinese {Censor-Beating} Software...
or
{Chinese Censor}-Beating...
were meant. Though one should take no joy in anyone's being beaten, I found myself somewhat warming to the concept of code that beat censors....

('Mental plan!')

Re:'English needs braces!' (1)

attributed insanity (1113991) | more than 4 years ago | (#29250267)

Um... neither of the two phrases there differ in the way I think you're trying to imply, though they differentiate between the software being Chinese and the censors being Chinese. You're being mislead by alternative meanings for the word "beating" (defeating versus physically injuring), and correspondingly thinking that the "censor" is a person rather than an anonymous collection of hardware/software.

Personally, I'd have been tempted to write "Chinese-Censor-Beating Software", as that implies that the censor is Chinese, rather than the software.

I wonder (0, Troll)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 4 years ago | (#29250431)

if the developer will be able to tweak the software to save us from the U.S. Government Overlords who want to want to cut access to the Internet in the event of an "emergency" as defined by President Nobama?
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