Global Internet Censorship Observatory: Iran has applied several technical strategies to restrict the Internet

OONI website as The global observation and monitoring base of internet censorship in the world He wrote his latest report about the blackout of the Internet in Iran from September 25 to Mehr 25 (September 16 to October 17) and the time intervals of interruptions or disruptions in the Internet of the first mobile operators, Irancell and Rightel, as well as the filtering of some platforms during the people’s protests. has reported

OONI has mentioned at the beginning of this report that the purpose of conducting this investigation and publishing its results is to shed light on what is becoming a widespread and complex practice by some governments around the world, and by this practice, they mean cutting off the Internet during The occurrence of special events in some countries.

This monitoring base of censorship and restrictions on the Internet in the world has concluded by examining the Internet situation that over the past years, the institutions and authorities related to the Internet in Iran have used a similar pattern to restrict the Internet, which is blocking social networks and various websites, completely closing It includes platforms and implementations of pervasive Internet control levels. A model that was implemented in the period from late September to late October 1401; Of course, according to this report, in recent Internet restrictions in Iran, “a wider range of technical strategies have been implemented to avoid bypassing the blocking and restrictions imposed on the Internet”.

OONI report It has reported a different model of disruption in the country’s internet between September and October 2022; Mobile internet network outages (especially at certain times of the night), regional internet outages (especially in Kurdistan and Khuzestan provinces), blocking traffic HTTP/3 and QUIC, IPv6 disruption, increased blocking of encrypted DNS, increased throughput for mobile networks, blocking of social networks and messengers, blocking of online stores to download and install software and applications, blocking of browser add-on references are all disruptions that occur in Reviews of this database have been viewed.

The important thing about the increase in encrypted DNS blocking mentioned in this report is that during this time frame, many ISPs in Iran are blocking secure servers with domain names (DNS over HTTPS). Or DoH) with several technical methods (interfering with DNS and TLS). DoH hides the names of the websites the user is about to visit, in order to bypass filtering. The change that has occurred in the recent period is that this DoH activity has been blocked and thus, it has become more difficult for users to bypass the filtering.

All that happened from Shahrivar to Mehr

In this report, a time line has also been drawn that shows what disruptions and restrictions have occurred on Iran’s Internet on different days from 25 September to 25 October. According to this timeline, on 25 September, the first regional internet outage occurred in Iran, and Khuzestan was the first province to experience this outage. Internet outage will reach Kurdistan on September 28.

Since September 29, the blocking of encrypted DNS has intensified in the country. Daily internet outages in Mobile First, Irancell and Rightel operators have also started since September 30. Instagram and then WhatsApp were also filtered from this date.

From September 31, the first disruption in IPv6 It happened in Irancell operator. IPv6 is the newest and most up-to-date version of the Internet Protocol (IP), which is used to establish communication between interconnected systems to send packets over a network and to identify devices. On September 15th, the traffic of this internet protocol decreased in Irancell operator, which led to the blocking of the protocol and disruptions for users. On the same date, Google Play Store and App Store were also filtered.

OONI Timeline on Internet Disruptions

According to OONI’s report, filtering has increased since the first of October, and first Skype and LinkedIn, and three days later, the repositories of add-ons related to browsers have been filtered and unavailable. On October 11th and 12th, some of the created restrictions have been removed. 11th Mehr, IPv6 connection In Irancell operator, the situation is back to normal and on the 12th of Mehr, the daily internet outages that started on the 30th of September have finally ended after two weeks.

After this date, internet outages did not occur every day and on certain days the internet of mobile phone operators Irancell, First Mobile and Rightel was interrupted. Saturday, October 16, Wednesday, October 20, and Saturday, October 23 were the days when, according to OONI surveys, the Internet was down in Iran; The days when protests and gatherings took place in different cities of the country.

OONI has shown all of these outages and disruptions in telemetry prepared and mapped by the Internet Outage Detection and Analysis (IODA) project:

OONI report on Internet disruptions

These outages have been drawn in two operators, Rightel and Irancell. The red vertical lines in these graphs indicate the interruption of the Internet in the time frame of this report.

OONI Report on Internet Disruptions - Rightel

OONI report on Internet disruptions - Irancell

Referring to the economic indicators collected by ISOC, this website has announced that Iran’s economy has been damaged during the internet outage. According to this report, during this period, Iran’s import and export decreased and the country’s stock market was in a continuous downward trend.

Comparison of Internet disorders in 1401 with 2018

This report compares the state of outages and recent internet disruptions with the nationwide outage of the internet in 2019 and writes: In the midst of the protests in November 2019, Iran implemented a nationwide shutdown of the internet. During the shutdown, most Iranians were blocked from connecting to the global Internet, but still had access to Iran’s national intranet (the internal network hosting Iranian websites and services).

According to OONI findings Internet disruptions in the recent era have two main differences with the internet outage in 2018. The first difference is that in the recent restrictions, the country’s three mobile operators (First Hamrah, Irancell and Rightel) have accepted the greatest impact from the restrictions, while in 2018, more networks were restricted in Iran.

However, in terms of the duration of restrictions in disruptions in 1401, a record was recorded that cannot be compared to the state of the Internet in 2018. The nationwide outage of the international Internet in 2018 lasted only five days, but this outage in access to the global Internet network occurred for several weeks in the last two months and continued every day from 4 pm to midnight.

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