Skip to main content

Happy 2017 to Psiphon Users!


2016 was an eventful year, with plenty of world events to be informed about. While access to the Internet and thus information around the world grew, censorship of all kinds including the blocking of websites also rose.


Here at Psiphon we have also seen more users of our software than ever before, and while this comes hand in hand with increasing information controls on the internet, we are happy to be able to help people get round them.


Freedom House's annual report on Internet Freedom noted a decline in said freedom for the sixth year running, and found that two-thirds of Internet users around the world live in countries where criticizing the government, military or monarchy results in censorship. Their other major observation was that governments are increasingly targeting messaging apps.


This chimes with some of the things we've seen on our network this year. For example in January VoIP services were blocked in Morocco, upsetting users of popular free calling services like Viber, Whatsapp, Skype and Facetime. For the month long duration of the ban, we saw our Moroccan traffic triple in the first week and then double each week after that. Then in May a Brazilian judge ordered the blocking of Whatsapp, not for the first time. Again we saw traffic from the country triple, this time in 24 hours.


National elections are another flashpoint for censorship, and we've seen people turn to Psiphon as their governments block social media or oppositions websites, for example in August in Gabon. Another trend we've seen this year is the shutting down altogether of the internet in some countries during turbulent events - something that even Psiphon can't do anything about.


Our hope is that in 2017 we can help people around the world to communicate and stay informed without restrictions. Happy New Year to all our friends and we wish you a safe, happy and free 2017!

Popular posts from this blog

Social Media and Internet Ban in Turkey

Following the detainment of 12 pro-Kurdish lawmakers from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in the early hours of November 4 th , Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, WhatsApp and Skype were blocked in Turkey . There were reports that Turk Telekom internet provider completely disabled access to the internet or throttled the connection to the point that it was impossible to connect. Despite lack of official decision about the restrictions, and BTK’s explanation that there was a technical problem throughout Turkey, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim made a statement later in the day and said “For security reasons, these kinds of measures can be taken time to time. These are temporary measures. Everything goes back to normal after the danger is eliminated.” Social media and internet bans ended the following evening in most of the country, but there were still some short-term connection problems during the weekend in some regions, and it was reported that some Turk Telekom users

Psiphon Usage Surges as Brazil Blocks WhatsApp

At 9PM ET on December 16th WhatsApp was blocked in Brazil . The ban came after a judge ordered that the messenger app be blocked for 48 hours when the company refused to hand over private user information related to a criminal case. For months, Brazilian telecommunications companies have been attempting to shut down WhatsApp because it provides free messaging and voice services. WhatsApp is the most popular messenger service in Brazil and telecoms blame it for luring millions away from paid cell phone use. Internet users in Brazil reacted strongly to the ban, criticizing the decision to block WhatsApp widely on social media. Millions turned to alternate messenger services and shared circumvention techniques over social media. Psiphon was praised by people in Brazil for being free, open source, and able to keep them connected throughout the blocking event. Psiphon’s surge capacity was able to cope with the increased demand, with peak data use of more than 8x that of a normal day. Psip

7ASecurity’s Recent Security Audit of Psiphon’s Code Finds “No Significant Security Flaws”

As part of our ongoing commitment to achieving the highest standards of transparency and security, Psiphon commissioned 7ASecurity to conduct a security review of its code base related to four new Psiphon enhancements. The resulting report is public and can be found at: https://7asecurity.com/reports/pentest-report_psiphon-e.pdf .  Using a “white box” approach, meaning the complete source code was available, the security team set out to determine Psiphon’s adherence to secure coding best practices, and to provide safeguard recommendations, where appropriate, based on their findings. The security team used a variety of tools and methods against all Psiphon source code and third party libraries. Network traffic was also analyzed to identify potential attack vectors, fingerprinting and Psiphon’s behaviour under attack.  The team’s conclusions were that:  “ The Psiphon platform was found to be resilient to a broad range of attack vectors and provided an overall solid impression.  This