Hacker toolkit targets China

A German hacking group has published an electronic toolkit designed to circumvent the ‘great firewall of China’, in an attempt to raise public awareness of China’s net censorship laws.

The Chaos Computer Club took advantage of the Olympic games to launch a USB key labelled the ‘freedom stick’. Targeted primarily at journalists reporting on the Olympics from inside China, the USB stick included a software client for Tor - an anonymous networking system first funded by the US Navy.

Tor works using an ‘onion skinning’ system, in which multiple Tor servers route traffic between each other until they reach a Tor ‘exit node’. Details that could link the packet with its owner are hidden under multiple layers of encryption, each of which is stripped by a node as it passes the traffic along.

This makes it difficult for any one node in the relay to identify the packet’s contents or its owner, as each node only knows about the next node in the packet’s route.

According to coverage of China by the OpenNet Initiative, which monitors Internet censorship across the globe, the Chinese Government finished the first stage of its mass censorship system (dubbed the ‘Golden Shield’) in late 2006.

Further information:
www.ccc.de/updates/2008/chinesewall?language=en
www.torproject.org
http://opennet.net/research/profiles/china

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