Interdepartmental Commission is developing a new technology to block Telegram
According to Reuters , an interdepartmental commission, which includes representatives of the FSB, Roskomnadzor, the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Communications, has been testing the performance of Russian traffic analysis and filtering systems on Rostelecom’s network since the beginning of this month. Tests are conducted in the city of Reutov.
Reuters journalists have a protocol meeting of the commission with a report on the results of testing new technologies. So, the test is quite extensive, not just one but several traffic filtering systems are being tested in Reutov, including the products of RDP.RU, ADM Systems, NTC Proteus, DDoS-Guard, Napa Labs, Vas Experts and Concern Automatics, which is part of Rostec State Corporation .
Anton Pinchuk, co-owner of one of the companies, who refused to participate in the development of a traffic filtering system, gave his comment on the reality of what is happening: “The task was ambitious, and the time for preparation was very short. As part of testing on the Rostelecom network from DPI, they wanted to recognize and block virtually all known network protocols on the channel at more than 1 Tbit / s. Our DPI successfully works on the networks of many telecom operators, but for more specific tasks. ”
He also stated that the company did not receive specific commercial offers from Roskomnadzor. Nevertheless, Pinchuk knows the basic idea that underlies the current project. It consists in finding the most effective solution for analyzing, filtering and blocking traffic, which could be equipped with networks of operators throughout the country.
As for Rostelecom, the state corporation declined to comment: “The press service of Roskomnadzor has no information on this issue.”
Sources who are aware of what is happening, argue that according to the results of tests Roskomnadzor and the FSB plan to choose the best system. After this, a task will be given to refine it, if necessary. After that, the system will be launched in the infrastructure of all telecom operators in Russia. The goal is to block banned content on the Internet as efficiently as possible.
The tests were originally supposed to end on August 20th, but the testing periods were extended. As it turned out, the first systems failed to pass the tests, and the deadlines for testing others were postponed. The tests were unsuccessful because the developers tried to block the MTProto protocol used to encrypt messages in the Telegram messenger and SOCKS to block the messenger. But as a result, it turned out that blocking closes access to resources that are very popular in the Russian Federation, for example, the Sberbank Online service.
The fact is that Telegram only needs one network packet to transmit one message. But none of the tested systems are able to recognize the package by identifying an instant messenger. The package itself is “disguised” now under https, then under antivirus data, therefore the traffic filtering systems simply cannot block the messenger without affecting the channels of other resources and services.
“We will leave unanswered questions about the fact of testing, as part of our interaction with Roskomnadzor, we perform a number of tests and, for some, we do not have the right to disclose information,” said Deputy Director General of Vas Experts Alexey Alekseenko. He also added that blocking Telegram-related protocols disrupts banking clients.
According to Alekseenko, the solution of his company, SCAT, allows to select and block not only Telegram, but also other instant messengers, including Whatsapp, Viber, Facebook Messenger. But since the messengers began to use the MTProto and SOCKS server technologies, it is difficult to block them. The reason is that blocking common communication protocols leads to disruption of a wide range of applications, including “white” ones.
It is worth recalling that Telegram entered the register of prohibited resources in Russia in April 2018. Then the company announced its refusal to provide the FSB with keys to decrypt the correspondence of its users. After that, Roskomnadzor appealed to the Tagansky Court of Moscow with a claim to block the message service. This claim was soon granted, after which Roskomnadzor began work on blocking the messenger.
Telecom operators have tried for several weeks trying to block the IP subnet that is somehow related to Telegram. As a result, the total amount of blocked IP reached 17 million, but Roskomnadzor did not reach its goal. Moreover, after the start of blocking the messenger, many sites and services that worked on the basis of the cloud platforms of Google, Amazon and others stopped working normally.
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