[tor-relays] Help Turkmens to bypass Internet censorship: run an obfs4 bridge!

Dear Relay operators community,

The parliamentary elections in Turkmenistan are coming up very soon on March 26th[1], and the Turkmen government has tightened internet censorship and restrictions even more. In the last few months, the Anti-censorship community has learned that different pluggable transports, like Snowflake, and entire IP ranges, have been blocked in the country. Therefore, running a bridge on popular hosting providers like Hetzner, Digital Ocean, Linode, and AWS won't help as these providers' IP ranges are completely blocked in Turkmenistan.

Recently, we learned from the Anti-censorship community[2] and via Tor user support channels that Tor bridges running on residential connections were working fine. Although they were blocked after some days or a week, these bridges received a lot of users and were very important to keep
Turkmens connected.

How to help Turkmens to access the Internet

You can help Turkmens to access the free and open internet by running an obfs4 Tor bridge! But here's the trick: you need to run it on a residential connection -- you won't need a static IPv4 --, and it would ideally be run on more robust hardware than just a Raspberry Pi (although that can help, we have found they can get overloaded).

You can set up an obfs4 bridge by following our official guide.

After you setup a new bridge, you can share your bridge line with the Tor support team at frontdesk@torproject.org, and we will share it with users.

A complete bridge line is composed of:

IP:OBFS4_PORT FINGERPRINT cert=obfs4-certificate iat-mode=0

Check this documentation to learn how to share your bridge line:

Just sharing your bridge fingerprint is not the best, but it's fine.

You can read more about censorship against Tor in Turkmenistan here:
  - [Turkmenistan] Number of directly connecting users is going down (#40029) · Issues · The Tor Project / Anti-censorship / censorship-analysis · GitLab
  - Snowflake blocked.

Thank you for your support in helping to keep the internet free and open for everyone.

Gus

[1] 2023 Turkmen parliamentary election - Wikipedia
[2] Turkmenistan - NTC
Bidirectional DNS, HTTPS, HTTP injection in Turkmenistan · Issue #80 · net4people/bbs · GitHub

--
The Tor Project
Community Team Lead

4 Likes

So the local bridge reports its (eg at 4 o'clock in the morning changed)
ip to the bridge db asap? And then ?

···

On 3/22/23 20:25, gus wrote:

  But here's the trick: you need to run it on a
residential connection -- you won't need a static IPv4 --,

--
Toralf

_______________________________________________
tor-relays mailing list
tor-relays@lists.torproject.org
https://lists.torproject.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/tor-relays

Gus,

Is there a preferred Bridge Distribution Mechanism?

Within the last couple of months, I’ve added several obfs4 bridges (latest version) to the Tor network, which seem to meet the requested criteria, but they still don’t appear to be receiving traffic.

I originally set the Bridge Distribution Mechanism to “moat.” However, after a month of not receiving traffic, I modified them to “any.” Unfortunately, my obfs4 bridges’ Bridge Distribution Mechanism is still reporting as “None” in the consensus.

Transport protocols
obfs4
Bridge distribution mechanism
[None](https://bridges.torproject.org/info#none)

I have confirmed that I am able to manually connect and successfully browse using the obfs4 bridges in question.

Suggestions?

Respectfully,

Gary

···


This Message Originated by the Sun.
iBigBlue 63W Solar Array (~12 Hour Charge)

  • 2 x Charmast 26800mAh Power Banks
    = iPhone XS Max 512GB (~2 Weeks Charged)

On Wednesday, March 22, 2023, 1:25:26 PM MDT, gus gus@torproject.org wrote:

Dear Relay operators community,

The parliamentary elections in Turkmenistan are coming up very soon on
March 26th[1], and the Turkmen government has tightened internet censorship
and restrictions even more. In the last few months, the Anti-censorship
community has learned that different pluggable transports, like
Snowflake, and entire IP ranges, have been blocked in the country.
Therefore, running a bridge on popular hosting providers like Hetzner,
Digital Ocean, Linode, and AWS won’t help as these providers’ IP ranges
are completely blocked in Turkmenistan.

Recently, we learned from the Anti-censorship community[2] and via Tor user
support channels that Tor bridges running on residential connections
were working fine. Although they were blocked after some days or a week,
these bridges received a lot of users and were very important to keep
Turkmens connected.

How to help Turkmens to access the Internet

You can help Turkmens to access the free and open internet by running an
obfs4 Tor bridge! But here’s the trick: you need to run it on a
residential connection – you won’t need a static IPv4 --, and it would
ideally be run on more robust hardware than just a Raspberry Pi
(although that can help, we have found they can get overloaded).

You can set up an obfs4 bridge by following our official guide:
https://community.torproject.org/relay/setup/bridge/

After you setup a new bridge, you can share your bridge line with the
Tor support team at frontdesk@torproject.org, and we will share it with
users.

A complete bridge line is composed of:

IP:OBFS4_PORT FINGERPRINT cert=obfs4-certificate iat-mode=0

Check this documentation to learn how to share your bridge line:
https://community.torproject.org/relay/setup/bridge/post-install/

Just sharing your bridge fingerprint is not the best, but it’s fine.

You can read more about censorship against Tor in Turkmenistan here:

Thank you for your support in helping to keep the internet free and open
for everyone.

Gus

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2023_Turkmen_parliamentary_election
[2] https://ntc.party/c/internet-censorship-all-around-the-world/turkmenistan/17
https://github.com/net4people/bbs/issues/80


The Tor Project
Community Team Lead


tor-relays mailing list
tor-relays@lists.torproject.org
https://lists.torproject.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/tor-relays

Hi Gary,

In this case, you don't need to set a specific distribution mechanism
because users from TM are kinda 'pro' on finding a bridge that will work
for them. And when they find it, they share it over different channels.

Could you test your bridge with bridge status tool?

https://bridges.torproject.org/status?id=FINGERPRINT

Replace 'FINGERPRINT' with your bridge fingerprint and it will show the
status of your bridge. It should advertise your obfs4 as 'functional'.

If it's not functional, feel free to share your torrc + tor logs in
private with me and I'll check it.

cheers!,
Gus

···

On Wed, Mar 22, 2023 at 11:23:14PM +0000, Gary C. New via tor-relays wrote:

Gus,
Is there a preferred Bridge Distribution Mechanism?
Within the last couple of months, I've added several obfs4 bridges (latest version) to the Tor network, which seem to meet the requested criteria, but they still don't appear to be receiving traffic.
I originally set the Bridge Distribution Mechanism to "moat." However, after a month of not receiving traffic, I modified them to "any." Unfortunately, my obfs4 bridges' Bridge Distribution Mechanism is still reporting as "None" in the consensus.
   
   - Transport protocols
      - obfs4
   - Bridge distribution mechanism
      - None

I have confirmed that I am able to manually connect and successfully browse using the obfs4 bridges in question.
Suggestions?
Respectfully,

Gary—
This Message Originated by the Sun.
iBigBlue 63W Solar Array (~12 Hour Charge)
+ 2 x Charmast 26800mAh Power Banks
= iPhone XS Max 512GB (~2 Weeks Charged)

    On Wednesday, March 22, 2023, 1:25:26 PM MDT, gus <gus@torproject.org> wrote:

Dear Relay operators community,

The parliamentary elections in Turkmenistan are coming up very soon on
March 26th[1], and the Turkmen government has tightened internet censorship
and restrictions even more. In the last few months, the Anti-censorship
community has learned that different pluggable transports, like
Snowflake, and entire IP ranges, have been blocked in the country.
Therefore, running a bridge on popular hosting providers like Hetzner,
Digital Ocean, Linode, and AWS won't help as these providers' IP ranges
are completely blocked in Turkmenistan.

Recently, we learned from the Anti-censorship community[2] and via Tor user
support channels that Tor bridges running on residential connections
were working fine. Although they were blocked after some days or a week,
these bridges received a lot of users and were very important to keep
Turkmens connected.

How to help Turkmens to access the Internet

You can help Turkmens to access the free and open internet by running an
obfs4 Tor bridge! But here's the trick: you need to run it on a
residential connection -- you won't need a static IPv4 --, and it would
ideally be run on more robust hardware than just a Raspberry Pi
(although that can help, we have found they can get overloaded).

You can set up an obfs4 bridge by following our official guide:
Tor Project | Bridge

After you setup a new bridge, you can share your bridge line with the
Tor support team at frontdesk@torproject.org, and we will share it with
users.

A complete bridge line is composed of:

IP:OBFS4\_PORT FINGERPRINT cert=obfs4\-certificate iat\-mode=0

Check this documentation to learn how to share your bridge line:
Tor Project | Post-install

Just sharing your bridge fingerprint is not the best, but it's fine.

You can read more about censorship against Tor in Turkmenistan here:
- [Turkmenistan] Number of directly connecting users is going down (#40029) · Issues · The Tor Project / Anti-censorship / censorship-analysis · GitLab
- Snowflake blocked:
Blocking of Snowflake in Turkmenistan, 2021-10-24 (#40024) · Issues · The Tor Project / Anti-censorship / censorship-analysis · GitLab

Thank you for your support in helping to keep the internet free and open
for everyone.

Gus

[1] 2023 Turkmen parliamentary election - Wikipedia
[2] Turkmenistan - NTC
Bidirectional DNS, HTTPS, HTTP injection in Turkmenistan · Issue #80 · net4people/bbs · GitHub

--
The Tor Project
Community Team Lead
_______________________________________________
tor-relays mailing list
tor-relays@lists.torproject.org
tor-relays Info Page
  
_______________________________________________
tor-relays mailing list
tor-relays@lists.torproject.org
tor-relays Info Page

--
The Tor Project
Community Team Lead

Then it will be available via one of bridgeDB distributors
(moat/telegram/email/https/settings)[1]. From users perspective, if your
bridge IP change, they will need to fetch your bridge again because we
don't have a 'subscription' system[2]. It's not great, but in
Turkmenistan case, it's better than nothing.

Gus
[1] Users – Tor Metrics
[2] Proposal: Support for Dynamic IP obfs4 bridges with unattended proxy information update(aka "Subscription") (#42) · Issues · The Tor Project / Anti-censorship / Team · GitLab

···

On Wed, Mar 22, 2023 at 09:45:09PM +0100, Toralf Förster wrote:

On 3/22/23 20:25, gus wrote:
> But here's the trick: you need to run it on a
> residential connection -- you won't need a static IPv4 --,

So the local bridge reports its (eg at 4 o'clock in the morning changed)
ip to the bridge db asap? And then ?

--
The Tor Project
Community Team Lead

Hello, just a quick update:

Some friends from Turkmenistan told me that they don't think this new
round of online censorship is related to the upcoming elections,
because it's just a "formal" event. In general, they said, shutdowns and
internet disruptions are motivated by other events like:
- when Russian Duma speaker arrived in TM
- the wedding day of the president's grandson

Anyway, today we tested some of bridges that you shared with us and I replied
back saying which ones worked and which ones didn't.

Thank you for running a bridge!,
Gus

···

On Wed, Mar 22, 2023 at 04:25:05PM -0300, gus wrote:

Dear Relay operators community,

The parliamentary elections in Turkmenistan are coming up very soon on
March 26th[1], and the Turkmen government has tightened internet censorship
and restrictions even more. In the last few months, the Anti-censorship
community has learned that different pluggable transports, like
Snowflake, and entire IP ranges, have been blocked in the country.
Therefore, running a bridge on popular hosting providers like Hetzner,
Digital Ocean, Linode, and AWS won't help as these providers' IP ranges
are completely blocked in Turkmenistan.

Recently, we learned from the Anti-censorship community[2] and via Tor user
support channels that Tor bridges running on residential connections
were working fine. Although they were blocked after some days or a week,
these bridges received a lot of users and were very important to keep
Turkmens connected.

How to help Turkmens to access the Internet

You can help Turkmens to access the free and open internet by running an
obfs4 Tor bridge! But here's the trick: you need to run it on a
residential connection -- you won't need a static IPv4 --, and it would
ideally be run on more robust hardware than just a Raspberry Pi
(although that can help, we have found they can get overloaded).

You can set up an obfs4 bridge by following our official guide:
    Tor Project | Bridge

After you setup a new bridge, you can share your bridge line with the
Tor support team at frontdesk@torproject.org, and we will share it with
users.

A complete bridge line is composed of:

    IP:OBFS4_PORT FINGERPRINT cert=obfs4-certificate iat-mode=0

Check this documentation to learn how to share your bridge line:
Tor Project | Post-install

Just sharing your bridge fingerprint is not the best, but it's fine.

You can read more about censorship against Tor in Turkmenistan here:
  - [Turkmenistan] Number of directly connecting users is going down (#40029) · Issues · The Tor Project / Anti-censorship / censorship-analysis · GitLab
  - Snowflake blocked:
    Blocking of Snowflake in Turkmenistan, 2021-10-24 (#40024) · Issues · The Tor Project / Anti-censorship / censorship-analysis · GitLab

Thank you for your support in helping to keep the internet free and open
for everyone.

Gus

[1] 2023 Turkmen parliamentary election - Wikipedia
[2] Turkmenistan - NTC
Bidirectional DNS, HTTPS, HTTP injection in Turkmenistan · Issue #80 · net4people/bbs · GitHub

--
The Tor Project
Community Team Lead

_______________________________________________
tor-relays mailing list
tor-relays@lists.torproject.org
tor-relays Info Page

--
The Tor Project
Community Team Lead

1 Like

Hello,

Another update:

As it's very hard to get a vantage point in the country[1], we've asked
feedback from users to understand what works there. But, if by any chance
you have access to a machine hosted there, do let me know! You can
contact me in private. :slight_smile:

Based on user feedback, we learned that obfs4 bridges running on
residential connections + port 80, 443 or 8080 works in Turkmenistan.
Last week I asked some operators to change their bridge obfs4 port and
it worked!

Unfortunately, users reported that censors blocked some bridges. You can
even see that on Tor Metrics graph. For example:
- Relay Search
- Relay Search

If you're operating these bridges and can easily rotate the IP address, please
do!

Finally, if you want to learn more about censorship in Turkmenistan, you
can check this great presentation[2] from last year.

Thanks for running bridges!
Gus

[1] VPS в Туркменистане - #9 by s11 - Turkmenistan - NTC
[2] Censorship in Turkmenistan Slides.pdf - Google Drive

···

On Thu, Mar 23, 2023 at 01:00:17PM -0300, gus wrote:

Hello, just a quick update:

Some friends from Turkmenistan told me that they don't think this new
round of online censorship is related to the upcoming elections,
because it's just a "formal" event. In general, they said, shutdowns and
internet disruptions are motivated by other events like:
- when Russian Duma speaker arrived in TM
- the wedding day of the president's grandson

Anyway, today we tested some of bridges that you shared with us and I replied
back saying which ones worked and which ones didn't.

Thank you for running a bridge!,
Gus

On Wed, Mar 22, 2023 at 04:25:05PM -0300, gus wrote:
> Dear Relay operators community,
>
> The parliamentary elections in Turkmenistan are coming up very soon on
> March 26th[1], and the Turkmen government has tightened internet censorship
> and restrictions even more. In the last few months, the Anti-censorship
> community has learned that different pluggable transports, like
> Snowflake, and entire IP ranges, have been blocked in the country.
> Therefore, running a bridge on popular hosting providers like Hetzner,
> Digital Ocean, Linode, and AWS won't help as these providers' IP ranges
> are completely blocked in Turkmenistan.
>
> Recently, we learned from the Anti-censorship community[2] and via Tor user
> support channels that Tor bridges running on residential connections
> were working fine. Although they were blocked after some days or a week,
> these bridges received a lot of users and were very important to keep
> Turkmens connected.
>
> How to help Turkmens to access the Internet
> ===========================================
>
> You can help Turkmens to access the free and open internet by running an
> obfs4 Tor bridge! But here's the trick: you need to run it on a
> residential connection -- you won't need a static IPv4 --, and it would
> ideally be run on more robust hardware than just a Raspberry Pi
> (although that can help, we have found they can get overloaded).
>
> You can set up an obfs4 bridge by following our official guide:
> Tor Project | Bridge
>
> After you setup a new bridge, you can share your bridge line with the
> Tor support team at frontdesk@torproject.org, and we will share it with
> users.
>
> A complete bridge line is composed of:
>
> IP:OBFS4_PORT FINGERPRINT cert=obfs4-certificate iat-mode=0
>
> Check this documentation to learn how to share your bridge line:
> Tor Project | Post-install
>
> Just sharing your bridge fingerprint is not the best, but it's fine.
>
> You can read more about censorship against Tor in Turkmenistan here:
> - [Turkmenistan] Number of directly connecting users is going down (#40029) · Issues · The Tor Project / Anti-censorship / censorship-analysis · GitLab
> - Snowflake blocked:
> Blocking of Snowflake in Turkmenistan, 2021-10-24 (#40024) · Issues · The Tor Project / Anti-censorship / censorship-analysis · GitLab
>
> Thank you for your support in helping to keep the internet free and open
> for everyone.
>
> Gus
>
> [1] 2023 Turkmen parliamentary election - Wikipedia
> [2] Turkmenistan - NTC
> Bidirectional DNS, HTTPS, HTTP injection in Turkmenistan · Issue #80 · net4people/bbs · GitHub
>
> --
> The Tor Project
> Community Team Lead

> _______________________________________________
> tor-relays mailing list
> tor-relays@lists.torproject.org
> tor-relays Info Page

--
The Tor Project
Community Team Lead

--
The Tor Project
Community Team Lead

2 Likes

Hi,

New update: In the last few weeks, internal political conflicts and other events in Turkmenistan have led to another wave of censorship on Tor and anti-censorship tools. Tor bridges have been one of the few free alternatives for people in Turkmenistan to connect with the world and access the open Internet.

If you have access to an IP range that has never seen the light of day, a stable residential connection, or access to your university network, you can help thousands of people connect to the internet in Turkmenistan.

Tor bridges running on residential connections, on dynamic IPv4 address, or on unblocked IP ranges are effective, but are regularly discovered and blocked by censors, thus making us to call for new bridges. These bridges must run on specific obfs4 ports: 80, 8080, or 443. See below the example of torrc for your bridge. If it's your first time running a bridge, please follow our official guide.

Finding an IP range that is unblocked-in the country is not easy. However, bridges in universities and IP ranges in US have been of great help to people in Turkmenistan. Please note that it's not possible to run IPv6-only bridges and Turkmenistan has a very small adoption of IPv6.

If you run a bridge to help people in Turkmenistan, send your bridge line to frontdesk@torproject.org. We will share your bridge with people that really need it!

A bridge line is composed of:

IP:OBFS4_PORT FINGERPRINT cert=obfs4-certificate iat-mode=0

If you need help to build your bridge line, please check the official guide post-install.

Other Pluggable Transports

  • Snowflake has been blocked in the country since 2021:

    • STUN servers are running on blocked IP ranges
    • When we found an available STUN server, it didn't find a proxy to
            match (probably because of the TM’s IP range rules). For more information, see this ticket.
  • Meek (domain fronting) is one of the few techniques that consistently works, but with reduced speed. While there is a dedicated bridge for TM, its cost is high.

  • Conjure was successfully tested, but more development hours are still needed for its maintenance and stabilization. Currently it is only available on Tor Browser Alpha and some other Tor powered apps.

  • WebTunnel could potentially work, but like obfs4 bridges, it depends on whether the website is hosted on an IP range that is not blocked in Turkmenistan.

Research and other resources

If you would like to learn more about censorship in Turkmenistan, ntc.party is a great resource (posts in Russian): Turkmenistan - NTC

And this paper (2023) about measuring Internet censorship in TM: “Measuring and Evading Turkmenistan’s Internet Censorship: A Case Study in Large-Scale Measurements of a Low-Penetration Country” (Sadia Nourin, Van Tran, Xi Jiang, Kevin Bock, Nick Feamster, Nguyen Phong Hoang, Dave Levin) 2023-04-17

Tor metrics

You can follow a rough estimate of Tor usage in Turkmenistan here:

Bridge usage

Users – Tor Metrics

Vanilla Tor connections

https://metrics.torproject.org/userstats-relay-country.html?start=2023-04-21&end=2023-07-20&country=tm&events=off

torrc example

BridgeRelay 1
ORPort 127.0.0.1:auto
AssumeReachable 1
ServerTransportPlugin obfs4 exec /usr/bin/obfs4proxy
ServerTransportListenAddr obfs4 0.0.0.0:8080
ExtORPort auto
Nickname helptm
ContactInfo please-add-your-email
Log notice file /var/log/tor/notices.log
# If you set BridgeDistribution none, please remember to email 
# your bridge line to us: frontdesk@torproject.org 
BridgeDistribution none

Thank you,
Gus

3 Likes

Hi,

just a question out of interest: If there is such a massive blocking of Tor in Turkmenistan, how can it be that there seem to have been measured between 1500 and 10000 direct connections with Tor from Turkmenistan this year [1]? The curve has had a very sharp drop to almost zero recently, but I would have expected it to be close to zero all along given the reports.

The number of clients directly connected to Tor seems to be even comparable to the number of clients connected via bridges for the last months [2].

Kind regards
telekobold

[1] Users – Tor Metrics
[2] Users – Tor Metrics

···

On 21.07.23 18:07, gus wrote:

Hi,

New update: In the last few weeks, internal political conflicts and
other events[1] in Turkmenistan have led to another wave of censorship
on Tor and anti-censorship tools. Tor bridges have been one of the few
free alternatives for people in Turkmenistan to connect with the world
and access the open Internet.

If you have access to an IP range that has never seen the light of day,
a stable residential connection, or access to your university network,
you can help thousands of people connect to the internet in
Turkmenistan.

Tor bridges running on residential connections, on dynamic IPv4 address,
or on unblocked IP ranges are effective, but are regularly discovered
and blocked by censors, thus making us to call for new bridges. These
bridges must run on specific obfs4 ports: 80, 8080, or 443. See below
the example of torrc for your bridge. If it's your first time running a
bridge, please follow our official guide:
<https://community.torproject.org/relay/setup/bridge/&gt;\.

Finding an IP range that is unblocked-in the country is not easy.
However, bridges in universities and IP ranges in US have been of great
help to people in Turkmenistan.
Please note that it's not possible to run IPv6-only bridges and
Turkmenistan has a very small adoption of IPv6.

If you run a bridge to help people in Turkmenistan, send your bridge
line to frontdesk@torproject.org. We will share your bridge with people
that really need it!

A bridge line is composed of:

IP:OBFS4_PORT FINGERPRINT cert=obfs4-certificate iat-mode=0

If you need help to build your bridge line, please check the official
guide: Tor Project | Post-install

## Other Pluggable Transports

- Snowflake has been blocked in the country since 2021:
     - STUN servers are running on blocked IP ranges
     - When we found an available STUN server, it didn't find a proxy to
       match (probably because of the TM's IP range rules). For more
information, see this ticket[2].

- Meek[3] (domain fronting) is one of the few techniques that
   consistently works, but with reduced speed. While there is a dedicated
bridge for TM, its cost is high.

- Conjure[4] was successfully tested, but more development hours are
   still needed for its maintenance and stabilization. Currently it is
only available on Tor Browser Alpha and some other Tor powered apps.

- WebTunnel[5] could potentially work, but like obfs4 bridges, it
   depends on whether the website is hosted on an IP range that is not
blocked in Turkmenistan.

## Research and other resources

If you would like to learn more about censorship in Turkmenistan,
ntc.party is a great resource (posts in Russian):
Turkmenistan - NTC

And this paper (2023) about measuring Internet censorship in TM:

"Measuring and Evading Turkmenistan's Internet Censorship: A Case Study
in Large-Scale Measurements of a Low-Penetration Country" (Sadia Nourin,
Van Tran, Xi Jiang, Kevin Bock, Nick Feamster, Nguyen Phong Hoang, Dave
Levin) 2023-04-17
[2304.04835] Measuring and Evading Turkmenistan's Internet Censorship: A Case Study in Large-Scale Measurements of a Low-Penetration Country
https://tmc.np-tokumei.net/

## Tor metrics

You can follow a rough estimate of Tor usage in Turkmenistan here:
- Users – Tor Metrics
- Users – Tor Metrics

## torrc example

BridgeRelay 1
ORPort 127.0.0.1:auto
AssumeReachable 1
ServerTransportPlugin obfs4 exec /usr/bin/obfs4proxy
ServerTransportListenAddr obfs4 0.0.0.0:8080
ExtORPort auto
Nickname helptm
ContactInfo <please-add-your-email-here>
Log notice file /var/log/tor/notices.log
# If you set BridgeDistribution none, please remember to email
# your bridge line to us: frontdesk@torproject.org
BridgeDistribution none

Thank you,
Gus

Notes

[1]
Turkmenistan's Authoritarian President Sacks Several Top Officials
Turkmenistan opens futuristic city dedicated to leader | Reuters
[2]
Blocking of Snowflake in Turkmenistan, 2021-10-24 (#40024) · Issues · The Tor Project / Anti-censorship / censorship-analysis · GitLab
[3]
Relay Search
[4]
🔍 Call for Testers: Help the Tor Project to test Conjure on Tor Browser Alpha!
[5]
[tor-relays] (Announcement) WebTunnel, a new pluggable transport for bridges, now available for deployment

On Tue, Apr 04, 2023 at 12:46:47AM -0300, gus wrote:

Hello,

Another update:

As it's very hard to get a vantage point in the country[1], we've asked
feedback from users to understand what works there. But, if by any chance
you have access to a machine hosted there, do let me know! You can
contact me in private. :slight_smile:

Based on user feedback, we learned that obfs4 bridges running on
residential connections + port 80, 443 or 8080 works in Turkmenistan.
Last week I asked some operators to change their bridge obfs4 port and
it worked!

Unfortunately, users reported that censors blocked some bridges. You can
even see that on Tor Metrics graph. For example:
- Relay Search
- Relay Search

If you're operating these bridges and can easily rotate the IP address, please
do!

Finally, if you want to learn more about censorship in Turkmenistan, you
can check this great presentation[2] from last year.

Thanks for running bridges!
Gus

[1] VPS в Туркменистане - #9 by s11 - Turkmenistan - NTC
[2] Censorship in Turkmenistan Slides.pdf - Google Drive

On Thu, Mar 23, 2023 at 01:00:17PM -0300, gus wrote:

Hello, just a quick update:

Some friends from Turkmenistan told me that they don't think this new
round of online censorship is related to the upcoming elections,
because it's just a "formal" event. In general, they said, shutdowns and
internet disruptions are motivated by other events like:
  - when Russian Duma speaker arrived in TM
  - the wedding day of the president's grandson

Anyway, today we tested some of bridges that you shared with us and I replied
back saying which ones worked and which ones didn't.

Thank you for running a bridge!,
Gus

On Wed, Mar 22, 2023 at 04:25:05PM -0300, gus wrote:

Dear Relay operators community,

The parliamentary elections in Turkmenistan are coming up very soon on
March 26th[1], and the Turkmen government has tightened internet censorship
and restrictions even more. In the last few months, the Anti-censorship
community has learned that different pluggable transports, like
Snowflake, and entire IP ranges, have been blocked in the country.
Therefore, running a bridge on popular hosting providers like Hetzner,
Digital Ocean, Linode, and AWS won't help as these providers' IP ranges
are completely blocked in Turkmenistan.

Recently, we learned from the Anti-censorship community[2] and via Tor user
support channels that Tor bridges running on residential connections
were working fine. Although they were blocked after some days or a week,
these bridges received a lot of users and were very important to keep
Turkmens connected.

How to help Turkmens to access the Internet

You can help Turkmens to access the free and open internet by running an
obfs4 Tor bridge! But here's the trick: you need to run it on a
residential connection -- you won't need a static IPv4 --, and it would
ideally be run on more robust hardware than just a Raspberry Pi
(although that can help, we have found they can get overloaded).

You can set up an obfs4 bridge by following our official guide:
     Tor Project | Bridge

After you setup a new bridge, you can share your bridge line with the
Tor support team at frontdesk@torproject.org, and we will share it with
users.

A complete bridge line is composed of:

     IP:OBFS4_PORT FINGERPRINT cert=obfs4-certificate iat-mode=0

Check this documentation to learn how to share your bridge line:
Tor Project | Post-install

Just sharing your bridge fingerprint is not the best, but it's fine.

You can read more about censorship against Tor in Turkmenistan here:
   - [Turkmenistan] Number of directly connecting users is going down (#40029) · Issues · The Tor Project / Anti-censorship / censorship-analysis · GitLab
   - Snowflake blocked:
     Blocking of Snowflake in Turkmenistan, 2021-10-24 (#40024) · Issues · The Tor Project / Anti-censorship / censorship-analysis · GitLab

Thank you for your support in helping to keep the internet free and open
for everyone.

Gus

[1] 2023 Turkmen parliamentary election - Wikipedia
[2] Turkmenistan - NTC
Bidirectional DNS, HTTPS, HTTP injection in Turkmenistan · Issue #80 · net4people/bbs · GitHub

--
The Tor Project
Community Team Lead

_______________________________________________
tor-relays mailing list
tor-relays@lists.torproject.org
tor-relays Info Page

--
The Tor Project
Community Team Lead

--
The Tor Project
Community Team Lead

_______________________________________________
tor-relays mailing list
tor-relays@lists.torproject.org
tor-relays Info Page

_______________________________________________
tor-relays mailing list
tor-relays@lists.torproject.org
https://lists.torproject.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/tor-relays

Hi,

Great question. First, it is important to highlight that sometimes
censorship is not implemented uniformly across all ISPs in a country.
For example, see Tor Metrics in Russia:
- Users – Tor Metrics
- Users – Tor Metrics

And sometimes you'll find some interesting metrics anomalies, e.g., in
China:
- Vanilla Tor connections spikes:
  Users – Tor Metrics
- Bridge users:
  Users – Tor Metrics

Second, in Turkmenistan case, it appears that one ISP (AGTS) had different
censorship rules compared to their main ISP, Turkmentelecom. As a result,
AGTS clients were able to use tools like tor-relay-scanner[1] to find
unblocked Tor relays and use them as Tor "vanilla OR bridges" to bypass
the block.

But, this workaround was blocked in AGTS/Turkmenistan last week and it
is no longer effective.

Gus

[1] GitHub - ValdikSS/tor-relay-scanner: Tor Relay availability checker, for using it as a bridge in countries with censorship

···

On Sat, Jul 22, 2023 at 03:47:18PM +0200, telekobold wrote:

Hi,

just a question out of interest: If there is such a massive blocking of Tor
in Turkmenistan, how can it be that there seem to have been measured between
1500 and 10000 direct connections with Tor from Turkmenistan this year [1]?
The curve has had a very sharp drop to almost zero recently, but I would
have expected it to be close to zero all along given the reports.

The number of clients directly connected to Tor seems to be even comparable
to the number of clients connected via bridges for the last months [2].

Kind regards
telekobold

[1] Users – Tor Metrics
[2] Users – Tor Metrics

On 21.07.23 18:07, gus wrote:
> Hi,
>
> New update: In the last few weeks, internal political conflicts and
> other events[1] in Turkmenistan have led to another wave of censorship
> on Tor and anti-censorship tools. Tor bridges have been one of the few
> free alternatives for people in Turkmenistan to connect with the world
> and access the open Internet.
>
> If you have access to an IP range that has never seen the light of day,
> a stable residential connection, or access to your university network,
> you can help thousands of people connect to the internet in
> Turkmenistan.
>
> Tor bridges running on residential connections, on dynamic IPv4 address,
> or on unblocked IP ranges are effective, but are regularly discovered
> and blocked by censors, thus making us to call for new bridges. These
> bridges must run on specific obfs4 ports: 80, 8080, or 443. See below
> the example of torrc for your bridge. If it's your first time running a
> bridge, please follow our official guide:
> <https://community.torproject.org/relay/setup/bridge/&gt;\.
>
> Finding an IP range that is unblocked-in the country is not easy.
> However, bridges in universities and IP ranges in US have been of great
> help to people in Turkmenistan.
> Please note that it's not possible to run IPv6-only bridges and
> Turkmenistan has a very small adoption of IPv6.
>
> If you run a bridge to help people in Turkmenistan, send your bridge
> line to frontdesk@torproject.org. We will share your bridge with people
> that really need it!
>
> A bridge line is composed of:
>
> IP:OBFS4_PORT FINGERPRINT cert=obfs4-certificate iat-mode=0
>
> If you need help to build your bridge line, please check the official
> guide: Tor Project | Post-install
>
> ## Other Pluggable Transports
>
> - Snowflake has been blocked in the country since 2021:
> - STUN servers are running on blocked IP ranges
> - When we found an available STUN server, it didn't find a proxy to
> match (probably because of the TM's IP range rules). For more
> information, see this ticket[2].
>
> - Meek[3] (domain fronting) is one of the few techniques that
> consistently works, but with reduced speed. While there is a dedicated
> bridge for TM, its cost is high.
>
> - Conjure[4] was successfully tested, but more development hours are
> still needed for its maintenance and stabilization. Currently it is
> only available on Tor Browser Alpha and some other Tor powered apps.
>
> - WebTunnel[5] could potentially work, but like obfs4 bridges, it
> depends on whether the website is hosted on an IP range that is not
> blocked in Turkmenistan.
>
> ## Research and other resources
>
> If you would like to learn more about censorship in Turkmenistan,
> ntc.party is a great resource (posts in Russian):
> Turkmenistan - NTC
>
> And this paper (2023) about measuring Internet censorship in TM:
>
> "Measuring and Evading Turkmenistan's Internet Censorship: A Case Study
> in Large-Scale Measurements of a Low-Penetration Country" (Sadia Nourin,
> Van Tran, Xi Jiang, Kevin Bock, Nick Feamster, Nguyen Phong Hoang, Dave
> Levin) 2023-04-17
> [2304.04835] Measuring and Evading Turkmenistan's Internet Censorship: A Case Study in Large-Scale Measurements of a Low-Penetration Country
> https://tmc.np-tokumei.net/
>
> ## Tor metrics
>
> You can follow a rough estimate of Tor usage in Turkmenistan here:
> - Users – Tor Metrics
> - Users – Tor Metrics
>
> ## torrc example
>
> BridgeRelay 1
> ORPort 127.0.0.1:auto
> AssumeReachable 1
> ServerTransportPlugin obfs4 exec /usr/bin/obfs4proxy
> ServerTransportListenAddr obfs4 0.0.0.0:8080
> ExtORPort auto
> Nickname helptm
> ContactInfo <please-add-your-email-here>
> Log notice file /var/log/tor/notices.log
> # If you set BridgeDistribution none, please remember to email
> # your bridge line to us: frontdesk@torproject.org
> BridgeDistribution none
>
> Thank you,
> Gus
>
> Notes
>
> [1]
> Turkmenistan's Authoritarian President Sacks Several Top Officials
> Turkmenistan opens futuristic city dedicated to leader | Reuters
> [2]
> Blocking of Snowflake in Turkmenistan, 2021-10-24 (#40024) · Issues · The Tor Project / Anti-censorship / censorship-analysis · GitLab
> [3]
> Relay Search
> [4]
> 🔍 Call for Testers: Help the Tor Project to test Conjure on Tor Browser Alpha!
> [5]
> [tor-relays] (Announcement) WebTunnel, a new pluggable transport for bridges, now available for deployment
>
>
> On Tue, Apr 04, 2023 at 12:46:47AM -0300, gus wrote:
> > Hello,
> >
> > Another update:
> >
> > As it's very hard to get a vantage point in the country[1], we've asked
> > feedback from users to understand what works there. But, if by any chance
> > you have access to a machine hosted there, do let me know! You can
> > contact me in private. :slight_smile:
> >
> > Based on user feedback, we learned that obfs4 bridges running on
> > residential connections + port 80, 443 or 8080 works in Turkmenistan.
> > Last week I asked some operators to change their bridge obfs4 port and
> > it worked!
> >
> > Unfortunately, users reported that censors blocked some bridges. You can
> > even see that on Tor Metrics graph. For example:
> > - Relay Search
> > - Relay Search
> >
> > If you're operating these bridges and can easily rotate the IP address, please
> > do!
> >
> > Finally, if you want to learn more about censorship in Turkmenistan, you
> > can check this great presentation[2] from last year.
> >
> > Thanks for running bridges!
> > Gus
> >
> > [1] VPS в Туркменистане - #9 by s11 - Turkmenistan - NTC
> > [2] Censorship in Turkmenistan Slides.pdf - Google Drive
> >
> > On Thu, Mar 23, 2023 at 01:00:17PM -0300, gus wrote:
> > > Hello, just a quick update:
> > >
> > > Some friends from Turkmenistan told me that they don't think this new
> > > round of online censorship is related to the upcoming elections,
> > > because it's just a "formal" event. In general, they said, shutdowns and
> > > internet disruptions are motivated by other events like:
> > > - when Russian Duma speaker arrived in TM
> > > - the wedding day of the president's grandson
> > >
> > > Anyway, today we tested some of bridges that you shared with us and I replied
> > > back saying which ones worked and which ones didn't.
> > >
> > > Thank you for running a bridge!,
> > > Gus
> > >
> > > On Wed, Mar 22, 2023 at 04:25:05PM -0300, gus wrote:
> > > > Dear Relay operators community,
> > > >
> > > > The parliamentary elections in Turkmenistan are coming up very soon on
> > > > March 26th[1], and the Turkmen government has tightened internet censorship
> > > > and restrictions even more. In the last few months, the Anti-censorship
> > > > community has learned that different pluggable transports, like
> > > > Snowflake, and entire IP ranges, have been blocked in the country.
> > > > Therefore, running a bridge on popular hosting providers like Hetzner,
> > > > Digital Ocean, Linode, and AWS won't help as these providers' IP ranges
> > > > are completely blocked in Turkmenistan.
> > > >
> > > > Recently, we learned from the Anti-censorship community[2] and via Tor user
> > > > support channels that Tor bridges running on residential connections
> > > > were working fine. Although they were blocked after some days or a week,
> > > > these bridges received a lot of users and were very important to keep
> > > > Turkmens connected.
> > > >
> > > > How to help Turkmens to access the Internet
> > > > ===========================================
> > > >
> > > > You can help Turkmens to access the free and open internet by running an
> > > > obfs4 Tor bridge! But here's the trick: you need to run it on a
> > > > residential connection -- you won't need a static IPv4 --, and it would
> > > > ideally be run on more robust hardware than just a Raspberry Pi
> > > > (although that can help, we have found they can get overloaded).
> > > >
> > > > You can set up an obfs4 bridge by following our official guide:
> > > > Tor Project | Bridge
> > > >
> > > > After you setup a new bridge, you can share your bridge line with the
> > > > Tor support team at frontdesk@torproject.org, and we will share it with
> > > > users.
> > > >
> > > > A complete bridge line is composed of:
> > > >
> > > > IP:OBFS4_PORT FINGERPRINT cert=obfs4-certificate iat-mode=0
> > > >
> > > > Check this documentation to learn how to share your bridge line:
> > > > Tor Project | Post-install
> > > >
> > > > Just sharing your bridge fingerprint is not the best, but it's fine.
> > > >
> > > > You can read more about censorship against Tor in Turkmenistan here:
> > > > - [Turkmenistan] Number of directly connecting users is going down (#40029) · Issues · The Tor Project / Anti-censorship / censorship-analysis · GitLab
> > > > - Snowflake blocked:
> > > > Blocking of Snowflake in Turkmenistan, 2021-10-24 (#40024) · Issues · The Tor Project / Anti-censorship / censorship-analysis · GitLab
> > > >
> > > > Thank you for your support in helping to keep the internet free and open
> > > > for everyone.
> > > >
> > > > Gus
> > > >
> > > > [1] 2023 Turkmen parliamentary election - Wikipedia
> > > > [2] Turkmenistan - NTC
> > > > Bidirectional DNS, HTTPS, HTTP injection in Turkmenistan · Issue #80 · net4people/bbs · GitHub
> > > >
> > > > --
> > > > The Tor Project
> > > > Community Team Lead
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > > _______________________________________________
> > > > tor-relays mailing list
> > > > tor-relays@lists.torproject.org
> > > > tor-relays Info Page
> > >
> > >
> > > --
> > > The Tor Project
> > > Community Team Lead
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > The Tor Project
> > Community Team Lead
>
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> tor-relays mailing list
> tor-relays@lists.torproject.org
> tor-relays Info Page
_______________________________________________
tor-relays mailing list
tor-relays@lists.torproject.org
tor-relays Info Page

--
The Tor Project
Community Team Lead

Hi Gus,

thank you for the clarification.

Kind regards
telekobold

···

On 22.07.23 17:12, gus wrote:

Hi,

Great question. First, it is important to highlight that sometimes
censorship is not implemented uniformly across all ISPs in a country.
For example, see Tor Metrics in Russia:
- Users – Tor Metrics
- Users – Tor Metrics

And sometimes you'll find some interesting metrics anomalies, e.g., in
China:
- Vanilla Tor connections spikes:
   Users – Tor Metrics
- Bridge users:
   Users – Tor Metrics

Second, in Turkmenistan case, it appears that one ISP (AGTS) had different
censorship rules compared to their main ISP, Turkmentelecom. As a result,
AGTS clients were able to use tools like tor-relay-scanner[1] to find
unblocked Tor relays and use them as Tor "vanilla OR bridges" to bypass
the block.

But, this workaround was blocked in AGTS/Turkmenistan last week and it
is no longer effective.

Gus

[1] GitHub - ValdikSS/tor-relay-scanner: Tor Relay availability checker, for using it as a bridge in countries with censorship

On Sat, Jul 22, 2023 at 03:47:18PM +0200, telekobold wrote:

Hi,

just a question out of interest: If there is such a massive blocking of Tor
in Turkmenistan, how can it be that there seem to have been measured between
1500 and 10000 direct connections with Tor from Turkmenistan this year [1]?
The curve has had a very sharp drop to almost zero recently, but I would
have expected it to be close to zero all along given the reports.

The number of clients directly connected to Tor seems to be even comparable
to the number of clients connected via bridges for the last months [2].

Kind regards
telekobold

[1] Users – Tor Metrics
[2] Users – Tor Metrics

On 21.07.23 18:07, gus wrote:

Hi,

New update: In the last few weeks, internal political conflicts and
other events[1] in Turkmenistan have led to another wave of censorship
on Tor and anti-censorship tools. Tor bridges have been one of the few
free alternatives for people in Turkmenistan to connect with the world
and access the open Internet.

If you have access to an IP range that has never seen the light of day,
a stable residential connection, or access to your university network,
you can help thousands of people connect to the internet in
Turkmenistan.

Tor bridges running on residential connections, on dynamic IPv4 address,
or on unblocked IP ranges are effective, but are regularly discovered
and blocked by censors, thus making us to call for new bridges. These
bridges must run on specific obfs4 ports: 80, 8080, or 443. See below
the example of torrc for your bridge. If it's your first time running a
bridge, please follow our official guide:
<https://community.torproject.org/relay/setup/bridge/&gt;\.

Finding an IP range that is unblocked-in the country is not easy.
However, bridges in universities and IP ranges in US have been of great
help to people in Turkmenistan.
Please note that it's not possible to run IPv6-only bridges and
Turkmenistan has a very small adoption of IPv6.

If you run a bridge to help people in Turkmenistan, send your bridge
line to frontdesk@torproject.org. We will share your bridge with people
that really need it!

A bridge line is composed of:

IP:OBFS4_PORT FINGERPRINT cert=obfs4-certificate iat-mode=0

If you need help to build your bridge line, please check the official
guide: Tor Project | Post-install

## Other Pluggable Transports

- Snowflake has been blocked in the country since 2021:
      - STUN servers are running on blocked IP ranges
      - When we found an available STUN server, it didn't find a proxy to
        match (probably because of the TM's IP range rules). For more
information, see this ticket[2].

- Meek[3] (domain fronting) is one of the few techniques that
    consistently works, but with reduced speed. While there is a dedicated
bridge for TM, its cost is high.

- Conjure[4] was successfully tested, but more development hours are
    still needed for its maintenance and stabilization. Currently it is
only available on Tor Browser Alpha and some other Tor powered apps.

- WebTunnel[5] could potentially work, but like obfs4 bridges, it
    depends on whether the website is hosted on an IP range that is not
blocked in Turkmenistan.

## Research and other resources

If you would like to learn more about censorship in Turkmenistan,
ntc.party is a great resource (posts in Russian):
Turkmenistan - NTC

And this paper (2023) about measuring Internet censorship in TM:

"Measuring and Evading Turkmenistan's Internet Censorship: A Case Study
in Large-Scale Measurements of a Low-Penetration Country" (Sadia Nourin,
Van Tran, Xi Jiang, Kevin Bock, Nick Feamster, Nguyen Phong Hoang, Dave
Levin) 2023-04-17
[2304.04835] Measuring and Evading Turkmenistan's Internet Censorship: A Case Study in Large-Scale Measurements of a Low-Penetration Country
https://tmc.np-tokumei.net/

## Tor metrics

You can follow a rough estimate of Tor usage in Turkmenistan here:
- Users – Tor Metrics
- Users – Tor Metrics

## torrc example

BridgeRelay 1
ORPort 127.0.0.1:auto
AssumeReachable 1
ServerTransportPlugin obfs4 exec /usr/bin/obfs4proxy
ServerTransportListenAddr obfs4 0.0.0.0:8080
ExtORPort auto
Nickname helptm
ContactInfo <please-add-your-email-here>
Log notice file /var/log/tor/notices.log
# If you set BridgeDistribution none, please remember to email
# your bridge line to us: frontdesk@torproject.org
BridgeDistribution none

Thank you,
Gus

Notes

[1]
Turkmenistan's Authoritarian President Sacks Several Top Officials
Turkmenistan opens futuristic city dedicated to leader | Reuters
[2]
Blocking of Snowflake in Turkmenistan, 2021-10-24 (#40024) · Issues · The Tor Project / Anti-censorship / censorship-analysis · GitLab
[3]
Relay Search
[4]
🔍 Call for Testers: Help the Tor Project to test Conjure on Tor Browser Alpha!
[5]
[tor-relays] (Announcement) WebTunnel, a new pluggable transport for bridges, now available for deployment

On Tue, Apr 04, 2023 at 12:46:47AM -0300, gus wrote:

Hello,

Another update:

As it's very hard to get a vantage point in the country[1], we've asked
feedback from users to understand what works there. But, if by any chance
you have access to a machine hosted there, do let me know! You can
contact me in private. :slight_smile:

Based on user feedback, we learned that obfs4 bridges running on
residential connections + port 80, 443 or 8080 works in Turkmenistan.
Last week I asked some operators to change their bridge obfs4 port and
it worked!

Unfortunately, users reported that censors blocked some bridges. You can
even see that on Tor Metrics graph. For example:
- Relay Search
- Relay Search

If you're operating these bridges and can easily rotate the IP address, please
do!

Finally, if you want to learn more about censorship in Turkmenistan, you
can check this great presentation[2] from last year.

Thanks for running bridges!
Gus

[1] VPS в Туркменистане - #9 by s11 - Turkmenistan - NTC
[2] Censorship in Turkmenistan Slides.pdf - Google Drive

On Thu, Mar 23, 2023 at 01:00:17PM -0300, gus wrote:

Hello, just a quick update:

Some friends from Turkmenistan told me that they don't think this new
round of online censorship is related to the upcoming elections,
because it's just a "formal" event. In general, they said, shutdowns and
internet disruptions are motivated by other events like:
   - when Russian Duma speaker arrived in TM
   - the wedding day of the president's grandson

Anyway, today we tested some of bridges that you shared with us and I replied
back saying which ones worked and which ones didn't.

Thank you for running a bridge!,
Gus

On Wed, Mar 22, 2023 at 04:25:05PM -0300, gus wrote:

Dear Relay operators community,

The parliamentary elections in Turkmenistan are coming up very soon on
March 26th[1], and the Turkmen government has tightened internet censorship
and restrictions even more. In the last few months, the Anti-censorship
community has learned that different pluggable transports, like
Snowflake, and entire IP ranges, have been blocked in the country.
Therefore, running a bridge on popular hosting providers like Hetzner,
Digital Ocean, Linode, and AWS won't help as these providers' IP ranges
are completely blocked in Turkmenistan.

Recently, we learned from the Anti-censorship community[2] and via Tor user
support channels that Tor bridges running on residential connections
were working fine. Although they were blocked after some days or a week,
these bridges received a lot of users and were very important to keep
Turkmens connected.

How to help Turkmens to access the Internet

You can help Turkmens to access the free and open internet by running an
obfs4 Tor bridge! But here's the trick: you need to run it on a
residential connection -- you won't need a static IPv4 --, and it would
ideally be run on more robust hardware than just a Raspberry Pi
(although that can help, we have found they can get overloaded).

You can set up an obfs4 bridge by following our official guide:
      Tor Project | Bridge

After you setup a new bridge, you can share your bridge line with the
Tor support team at frontdesk@torproject.org, and we will share it with
users.

A complete bridge line is composed of:

      IP:OBFS4_PORT FINGERPRINT cert=obfs4-certificate iat-mode=0

Check this documentation to learn how to share your bridge line:
Tor Project | Post-install

Just sharing your bridge fingerprint is not the best, but it's fine.

You can read more about censorship against Tor in Turkmenistan here:
    - [Turkmenistan] Number of directly connecting users is going down (#40029) · Issues · The Tor Project / Anti-censorship / censorship-analysis · GitLab
    - Snowflake blocked:
      Blocking of Snowflake in Turkmenistan, 2021-10-24 (#40024) · Issues · The Tor Project / Anti-censorship / censorship-analysis · GitLab

Thank you for your support in helping to keep the internet free and open
for everyone.

Gus

[1] 2023 Turkmen parliamentary election - Wikipedia
[2] Turkmenistan - NTC
Bidirectional DNS, HTTPS, HTTP injection in Turkmenistan · Issue #80 · net4people/bbs · GitHub

--
The Tor Project
Community Team Lead

_______________________________________________
tor-relays mailing list
tor-relays@lists.torproject.org
tor-relays Info Page

--
The Tor Project
Community Team Lead

--
The Tor Project
Community Team Lead

_______________________________________________
tor-relays mailing list
tor-relays@lists.torproject.org
tor-relays Info Page

_______________________________________________
tor-relays mailing list
tor-relays@lists.torproject.org
tor-relays Info Page

_______________________________________________
tor-relays mailing list
tor-relays@lists.torproject.org
tor-relays Info Page

_______________________________________________
tor-relays mailing list
tor-relays@lists.torproject.org
https://lists.torproject.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/tor-relays

1 Like

That's not possible because AGTS is entirely hosted by TurkmenTelecom.
This is different from PRC China where they have 3 operators with
different networks thus having each their censorship.

It also cannot be compared with Russia, because until 10 years ago, the
Internet in Russia was totally free, this enabled decentralization and
rapid deployment. Thanks to this, the government still does not have a
single button to press to shut everything down, and censorship is
implemented differently by each operator. In Turkmenistan, such
development was never possible.

Sometimes, the filtering seems lighter in Turkmeninstan, and the
reason is that TurkmenTelecom sucks at censorship. Turkmenistan does
not even maintain a blacklist, they maintain a whitelist, that is,
everything is blocked but what's on the list.
The result is that people can't even update software, things start to
break and then they are forced to lift the filtering up a little bit
which sometimes result in making bootstrapping Tor possible.

Also, when there is an event such as an election, they simply disconnect
everything. Therefore, running bridges and relays won't help,
sadly.

···

gus <gus@torproject.org> wrote:

Second, in Turkmenistan case, it appears that one ISP (AGTS) had
different censorship rules compared to their main ISP,
Turkmentelecom.

_______________________________________________
tor-relays mailing list
tor-relays@lists.torproject.org
https://lists.torproject.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/tor-relays

New update: In the last few weeks, internal political conflicts and
other events[1] in Turkmenistan have led to another wave of censorship
on Tor and anti-censorship tools. Tor bridges have been one of the few
free alternatives for people in Turkmenistan to connect with the world
and access the open Internet.

I stopped snowflake and now a bridge is running on my dynIP.

## torrc example

BridgeRelay 1
ORPort 127.0.0.1:auto
AssumeReachable 1
ServerTransportPlugin obfs4 exec /usr/bin/obfs4proxy
ServerTransportListenAddr obfs4 0.0.0.0:8080
ExtORPort auto
Nickname helptm
ContactInfo <please-add-your-email-here>
Log notice file /var/log/tor/notices.log
# If you set BridgeDistribution none, please remember to email
# your bridge line to us: frontdesk@torproject.org
BridgeDistribution none

But I have that in the log :frowning:
Jul 30 16:48:29 t520 Tor-01[93466]: The IPv4 ORPort address 127.0.0.1 does not match the descriptor address 203.0.113.18. If you have a static public IPv4 address, use 'Address <IPv4>' and 'OutboundBindAddress <IPv4>'. If you are behind a NAT, use two ORPort lines: 'ORPort <PublicPort> NoListen' and 'ORPort <InternalPort> NoAdvertise'.
Jul 30 16:48:29 t520 Tor-01[93466]: The IPv6 ORPort address ::1 does not match the descriptor address 2001:db8:1234:1:bbbb:eeee:eeee:ffff. If you have a static public IPv4 address, use 'Address <IPv6>' and 'OutboundBindAddress <IPv6>'. If you are behind a NAT, use two ORPort lines: 'ORPort <PublicPort> NoListen' and 'ORPort <InternalPort> NoAdvertise'.

I don't know if I should ignore that or better configure it that way:
ORPort 127.0.0.1:8443 NoListen
ORPort 8443 NoAdvertise
ORPort [::1]:8443 NoListen
ORPort 8443 NoAdvertise

I'm aware of

I hope to get it done with scipting on my Mikrotik, or switch to ipv4 only.

frontdesk@torproject.org has no PGP key, can I send you or meskio the bridgeline?

Bridgeline must be:
Bridge obfs4 <IP ADDRESS>:<PORT> <FINGERPRINT> cert=abra+kadabra iat-mode=0
But DynIP changes every few days. Do you also give the bridge users myrouter.example.net?

Because of your post in the forum:

should we do this with all running bridges, or only the hidden ones?

···

On Freitag, 21. Juli 2023 18:07:35 CEST gus wrote:

--
Ciao Marco!

Uh thanks, Gus replied me PM 'I can just ignore the logs' and bridge is
running with:
ORPort 127.0.0.1:8443
AssumeReachable 1

But I want to test the new obfsbridges future 'only expose obfsports and not
ORPort' next days with different configs. You saved me from a stupid pitfall :wink:

···

On Montag, 31. Juli 2023 00:55:15 CEST Gary C. New via tor-relays wrote:

On Sunday, July 30, 2023, 3:30:55 PM MDT, lists@for-privacy.net <lists@for- privacy.net> wrote:
> I don't know if I should ignore that or better configure it that >way:
> ORPort 127.0.0.1:8443 NoListen
> ORPort 8443 NoAdvertise
> ORPort [::1]:8443 NoListen
> ORPort 8443 NoAdvertise

Other way around:
ORPort 8443 NoListen
ORPort 127.0.0.1:8443 NoAdvertise

--
╰_╯ Ciao Marco!

Debian GNU/Linux

It's free software and it gives you freedom!

Yes, that's working

All Info about this new feature:
Anti-censorship team meeting notes, 2023-06-29

https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-project/2023-June/003642.html

== Announcements ==
rdsys is ignoring the running flag now :slight_smile:
* To hide your bridge's ORPort:
ORPort 127.0.0.1:auto
AssumeReachable 1

The previously mentioned logs and the Tor metrics showing the bridge as offline can be ignored.
https://metrics.torproject.org/rs.html#details/E6709F6130C61638400F27FAC6358E3412790F72

···

On Montag, 31. Juli 2023 23:06:54 CEST Gary C. New via tor-relays wrote:

Please let me know, if you are able to get the OBFS4
bridge working without exposing the ORPort. Respectfully,

--
╰_╯ Ciao Marco!

Debian GNU/Linux

It's free software and it gives you freedom!

I do assume I can ignore this log message ? :

  "Aug 01 17:18:19.000 [warn] The IPv4 ORPort address 127.0.0.1 does not match the descriptor address <snip>. If you have a static public IPv4 address, use 'Address <IPv4>' and 'OutboundBindAddress <IPv4>'. If you are behind a NAT, use two ORPort lines: 'ORPort <PublicPort> NoListen' and 'ORPort <InternalPort> NoAdvertise'.",

···

On 8/1/23 18:54, lists@for-privacy.net wrote:

== Announcements ==
rdsys is ignoring the running flag now :slight_smile:
* To hide your bridge's ORPort:
ORPort 127.0.0.1:auto
AssumeReachable 1

--
Toralf

> == Announcements ==
> rdsys is ignoring the running flag now :slight_smile:
> * To hide your bridge's ORPort:
> ORPort 127.0.0.1:auto
> AssumeReachable 1

I do assume I can ignore this log message ? :

Yes :wink:
Unfortunately, they come every 1-2 hours

···

On Dienstag, 1. August 2023 19:21:08 CEST Toralf Förster wrote:

On 8/1/23 18:54, lists@for-privacy.net wrote:

  "Aug 01 17:18:19.000 [warn] The IPv4 ORPort address 127.0.0.1 does not
match the descriptor address <snip>. If you have a static public IPv4
address, use 'Address <IPv4>' and 'OutboundBindAddress <IPv4>'. If you
are behind a NAT, use two ORPort lines: 'ORPort <PublicPort> NoListen'
and 'ORPort <InternalPort> NoAdvertise'.",

--
╰_╯ Ciao Marco!

Debian GNU/Linux

It's free software and it gives you freedom!

Yes :wink:

cool - this simplifies my Ansible role (I randomly choosed an ORPort
between 30K and 62K)

Unfortunately, they come every 1-2 hours

np - I'll ignore that

Thx !

···

On 8/1/23 19:38, lists@for-privacy.net wrote:
--
Toralf

_______________________________________________
tor-relays mailing list
tor-relays@lists.torproject.org
https://lists.torproject.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/tor-relays

>> Please let me know, if you are able to get the OBFS4
>> bridge working without exposing the ORPort. Respectfully,
>
> Yes, that's working

Great News!

> == Announcements ==
> rdsys is ignoring the running flag now :slight_smile:
> * To hide your bridge's ORPort:
> ORPort 127.0.0.1:auto>
> AssumeReachable 1

Per Roger's comment in the Issue, it sounds like I can simply firewall
incoming connections to the ORPort and add the AssumeReachable 1 directive
to the torrc? Is that correct?

I am currently forwarding OBFS4 port and ORPort on my router. At the moment it
is more important that I find an IP with Gus that can be reached from
Turkmenistan. At the weekend I will test with unused bridges whether the
ORPort is needed or not.

> The previously mentioned logs and the Tor metrics showing the bridge as
>offline can be ignored.

The failure logs and metrics are going to be confusing to new obfsbridge
operators. I suppose documenting this on the obfsbridge setup page will
have to be sufficient in the interim; along, with pointing them to the
bridgedb metrics page.

We should note that this is a new feature which has yet to be tested.

Gus wrote to me:
"But, it's still a new feature and I don't know if it will break something.
Can you check if the number of connections/users drops and if bridgeDB
assign your bridge to a new distribution method? Let me know if
something breaks!"

···

On Dienstag, 1. August 2023 23:22:12 CEST Gary C. New via tor-relays wrote:

On Tuesday, August 1, 2023, 10:54:40 AM MDT, <lists@for-privacy.net> wrote:
On Montag, 31. Juli 2023 23:06:54 CEST Gary C. New via tor-relays wrote:

--
╰_╯ Ciao Marco!

Debian GNU/Linux

It's free software and it gives you freedom!

regarding this, Meskio just created an isue

···

On Dienstag, 1. August 2023 23:22:12 CEST Gary C. New via tor-relays wrote:

The failure logs and metrics are going to be confusing to new obfsbridge
operators. I suppose documenting this on the obfsbridge setup page will
have to be sufficient in the interim; along, with pointing them to the
bridgedb metrics page.

--
╰_╯ Ciao Marco!

Debian GNU/Linux

It's free software and it gives you freedom!