Airtel and Jio likely using middleboxes to block websites in India, finds report

In this news, we discuss the Airtel and Jio likely using middleboxes to block websites in India, finds report.

Internet users are well aware that thousands of sites Web in India, lots of file sharing or pornography sites, are banned in India. Now a report highlights the methods used by Jio and Airtel, which are leading internet service providers in the country, to block these sites Web. One report notes that Airtel – and possibly Jio, but not confirmed, use middleboxes, which are routers specially configured to resolve the DNS of sites Web, to block sites Web in India.

Researchers at the Center for Internet and Society (CIS) tracked down 25 mediation boxes used to block sites Web to Airtel. According to the report, Airtel and Jio rely on Server Name Indication (SNI), an identifier of site Web on a server, to perform the blocking.

The Medianama report cited a blog post by Gurshabad Grover and Kushagra Singh, who attributed 25 mediation boxes to Airtel that censored internet traffic. They first got its IP address and mapped it to a public database of IP addresses. From there, they were able to identify 25 middleboxes registered with Airtel.

It should be noted that by blocking the sites Web, Airtel, and Jio only follow government guidelines. The order to block a site Web in India originates from the Telecommunications Department and ISPs must comply with it. Although it is another matter that these commands are not publicly available and there is no way for Indian users to know if blocking a site Web is done for a valid reason or if it is done just because someone somewhere decided that some sites Web should be. banned in India.

Blocking sites Web in India is nothing new. Over the years, we have repeatedly seen a number of sites Web block for a number of reasons, including based on John Doe’s court orders.However, the latest report makes it clear that unlike the rudimentary blockade of sites Web done on the Based on the lists of banned domain names earlier, Airtel and Jio now use more sophisticated blocking measures, similar to the methods and tools used by China to block thousands of sites Web.

It mainly seems that Airtel and Jio rely on Server Name Indication (SNI) to identify the site Web requested, then block it in case the site Web would be in the prohibited list. sites in India. In the event that a user tries to access this site Web, he or she gets “PR_CONNECT_RESET_ERROR”. For example, if a user tries to access the site Web Torrentz2, it will get the following error.

Using SNI-based blocking, Airtel and Jio can also ban sites Web HTTPS. This is because the SNI is not encrypted and it reveals the details of the site Web to access, even though HTTPS prevents ISPs from determining what a user is doing on a secure account. To counter these web browsers, most notably Mozilla Firefox, have started to implement eSNI, which is encrypted, but for now the functionality remains experimental for all intents and purposes.

“Users trying to access sites Webs typically contact the ISP’s DNS directory to translate a human-scannable address like into its network address, ”the researchers noted. “Some ISPs in India, such as BSNL and MTNL, respond with incorrect network addresses to user queries regarding sites Web they want to block. “

Then they pointed out that ISPs like Airtel and Jio use the SNI method. “ISPs like Jio, Airtel and Vodafone monitor this field for the names of sites Web they want to block, intercept those requests and send back whatever they want in response, ”the researchers noted in their blog post.

Although the researchers were able to identify the middleboxes used by Airtel, they could not identify these routers for Jio with 100% confidence. This, they noted, was likely due to Jio setting up middleboxes using proxy servers.

Researchers found that Airtel uses middleboxes to resolve DNS and block sites Web using these specially configured routers. Jio probably uses the same method.

News Highlights:

  • Airtel uses 25 mediation boxes to block sites Web in India, notes a report.
  • Jio probably uses the same method to block sites via SNI, although the researchers could not confirm this.
  • Researchers claim that the sites by Airtel, Jio is similar to Chinese censorship.


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