UltraSurf programmer says the software acts suspiciously, but it’s just trying to put one over on the Great Firewall of China.
Software designed to beat Chinese censorship may behave in ways that seem suspect, but it is all part of the application’s strategy to fool the Great Firewall of China, according to one programmer of the software.
“There are many built-in tricks that do all kinds of things to confuse the firewall,” says David Tian, a scientist for NASA who works spare-time on UltraSurf, the free software designed to promote unrestricted Internet access for citizens of China persecuted for being members of Falun Gang, the religious group the Chinese government is trying to suppress.
Some of those tricks were pointed out last month at the Black Hat security conference by researchers who interpreted the odd behaviors as counterproductive to the anti-censorship goal and as perhaps malicious. After about a month, Tian recently responded to a request made during the conference for reaction to the research.
UltraSurf is a proxy network that masks where traffic is being sent to and received from in an effort to keep the Chinese government’s Internet filters from detecting forbidden communication. It calls for users to download an UltraSurf client, which sends and receives traffic via a network of proxies set up and maintained by UltraReach, a subgroup under the Global Internet Freedom Consortium.