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[liberationtech] New report on Internet Censorship and Surveillance in Turkmenistan

Jacob Appelbaum jacob at
Mon Jan 7 17:02:32 PST 2013

Rafal Rohozinski:
> John,
> With respect to SORM-II,  the "signatures"  are based upon the
> technical characteristics of the system rather than something that's
> detectable by protocol scanning. 

What are the technical characteristics of SORM-II?

> In a nutshell, SORM-II  boxes
> located on remote network segments (i.e. ISP's or other providers)
> require a separate command channel for tasking and data backhaul.

Detectable by what means? Is this the Kim Dot Com extra latency issue?
Is this just another box found on a related network?

> In some installations, this is a separate physical channel, and
> others it is virtualized through the ISPs connection their upstream
> provider or IXP  (usually at the the central telephone switch).
> Consequently,  while the device itself does not have a detectable
> signature,  the control channel  is a defining feature.  The
> challenge is in detecting the control channel.  We have report
> pending on SORM  that should be released sometime during the late
> spring of 2013.

Can you give us a simple example?

>  We are trying to decide how  and what to publish  so
> as to share usable knowledge without  revealing tradecraft that would
> allow the developers of SORM (II and III)  to  reduce detectability.

This is a rather difficult thing to do - it seems not worth doing. These
guys are already working on reducing detectability, aren't they?

> BTW -  SORM II is  commercially available  in the  European, US and
> Canadian  under  the brand name "NetBeholder"  so those of you with
> deep pockets should buy a set up and reverse engineer it
> …  the company even has a
> street address in Toronto,  for those of you that want to visit. :-)

Has it been found on Canadian networks? Who uses it?

All the best,

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