We hear a lot about a government in a country blocking some websites or social media services from its citizens in cases of popular demonstrations and protests, as happened during the Arab Spring revolutions and what users are witnessing in Egypt today; how can this blocking be overcome?
How is blocking?
Regardless of the reason for the blocking, the methods are almost the same. Some servers, for example, block access to any site that has a specific word in its link, while others block access to a particular link.
Some also block IP addresses to block access to them completely, or firewalls may be used to block a particular port if you want to block VPNs.
Because of the different methods of blocking, the means to bypass it also vary. Sometimes, a user may have to use more than one tool to reach his or her goal. Given the many solutions, we will review here the easiest and most common:
Websites to bypass the blocking
Proxfree.com and Hidemyass.com are websites that offer blocked websites, and when accessing one of them, the user writes the blocked website link to bypass the blocking and displaying its contents, but this method may not work. If the two sites mentioned originally blocked.
Google search engine
When you go to the Google search engine and write a search term for a published report, for example on a blocked site, an arrow will appear next to the search result, and when you click on it appears an option titled Cached, and by clicking on it the user is moved to an archived copy within the servers of the report itself can be read; However, this method does not work if blocking is used by a specific word within the link.
Web browsers and plugins for secure browsing
Browser extensions can be used if the previous solutions do not work, the most popular of which is Hotspot Shield for Google Chrome and Firefox. The company also provides applications for all operating systems including Windows, Mac OS, Android and iOS.
Installing the plugin in your browser will make it easier to bypass the blocking.After installation, its icon will appear after the address bar.Once you click on it and select "Connect," the process starts securing the connection and encrypts all data.The icon turns from orange to green to indicate that the connection is secured; It allows to bypass only blocking, but also to protect user privacy while browsing the Internet.
|Opera in its new version provides support for VPN without the need to install any extension (networking sites)|
The new version of Opera provides VPNs without the need to install any plugins, and is available for all computer operating systems.
After installing the browser, go to Preferences, choose Privacy & Security, and finally activate the VPN option.
The above steps will cause a new button to appear before the address bar called "VBN".
What distinguishes Opera and its tool is that there is more than one server, so even if the server blocks a server, there is still a possibility to take advantage of the rest of the servers that are constantly changing.
Tor offers a very high level of protection, it is also used to access the Deep Web, the Dark Web, and provides a secure browser based on a version of Firefox.
The user only needs to download and run the tool to start the encryption process completely.
Besides, there are other ways to bypass blocking, such as using a proxy and changing the domain server; using these methods is not as easy as the previous ones, so we ignored them here.
Applications for smartphones to open blocked sites
Blocking bypass is not limited to computers, as there are many smartphone apps that allow users to open blocked websites.
It is a free application that secures the user's connection and helps him bypass the blocking while browsing the Internet.
This application allows the user - for a simple monthly subscription - to choose the country from which to browse, so when using services such as "Netflix" - but not limited to - access to the content of the United States or the Middle East by selecting the desired country from the list.
TunnelBear and CyberGhost
These solutions offer a limited free subscription, but at the same time provide a program to ensure the rights of the user and the possibility of recovering his money if the service does not work properly.
|There are applications that allow users to communicate between them confidentially without an Internet connection or even mobile networks (Al Jazeera)|
Apps for confidential communication between users
Firechat is a chat application that offers the ability to send private live messages, create private groups, and conduct public discussions, based on tagging.
According to the developer, this app works even without an Internet connection or coverage from mobile networks, and all it takes to have a few people around you use it, depending on Bluetooth and WiFi.
This app is open source and allows you to send private messages directly and create private groups, with the possibility of posting microblogs that only your acquaintances can read.
The developer says the app is designed for activists and journalists for secure correspondence. In case of disruption of the Internet the application can sync via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, and in the case of the return of the Internet can sync over the Tor network to protect users from censorship.
It is a messaging application that allows users to chat securely with their friends without Internet or SMS, but only using Bluetooth technology, so it is useful for the transfer of information quickly and confidentially between users in the gatherings provided that all parties have installed this application in their devices.
This application works in two modes: First personal mode that allows confidential chat with others not more than a distance between them a hundred meters.
The network mode allows you to chat with others more than 100 meters apart by having others in the middle using the same application, where the person's center device acts as an intermediary to transmit the signal further.
|Qoul is one of the applications developed inspired by Tahrir Square demonstrations 2011 (Qoul)|
Qul application (qaul.net)
This application, which was inspired by the Tahrir Square demonstrations in Egypt in 2011, can be accessed via qaul.net, and download a version for Android phones or desktop operating systems (Windows, Ubuntu, OSX).
The app comes with many features like direct private messaging, file sending and voice chat.
This application is concerned with encrypting SMS or MMS messages, so you will be able to share messages, media or attachments with friends in complete privacy, according to the developer of the application;
This open-source application provides an easy way to send and receive files between one phone and another without an internet connection, but like previous applications it must be installed on both devices.
As noted, all previous applications work even when the mobile network is down or the Internet is interrupted, as each user contributes to the transfer of messages to others by automatically passing them from one device to another (via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi) to the final destination, while keeping the confidentiality of messages The sender and the addressee, but requires the application (or apps) already installed on users' devices.
These are some solutions to bypass website blocking or social networking services, but they remain suggested solutions and may not work together, which is why the user himself needs to find the best solution for the country or geographic location in which he or she is located.