A number of popular VPN services are the latest target of China’s Great Firewall, including Astrill, StrongVPN and Golden Frog’s VyprVPN.
Virtual Private Networks are very popular with Chinese users who are trying to get around the government’s Internet censorship efforts, which include blocking certain websites and filtering key words out of Internet searches requested from computers located in (mainland) China.
This latest “upgrade” is apparently due to the government’s attempt to prevent users from reading the latest string of reports about corrupt top government officials.
“China is in the middle of a very ferocious power struggle or political cleansing under the name of an anti-corruption campaign,” Xiao Qiang, an adjunct professor at UC Berkeley’s School of Information, commented for AP.
“That to me is a very clearly related fact with the amount of political rumours and information related to China’s high politics showing up in websites outside of China.”
StrongVPN is one of the services affected. The company has notified users that they are “working diligently to find a resolution with certain servers not working in China.”
“For those users in China, we do recommend coming to our Live Chat during non-peak hours which would be considered 5pm – 12am local time,” they advised. “Further, we have noticed both our New York and Miami server locations are still very accessible from China.”
Golden Frog’s VyprVPN also acknowledged the recent network issues Chinese users have been having, and recommended them to try to connect to the company’s servers in the Netherlands and Hong Kong.
While there is still no concrete information about the means used to effect this block, Golden Frog President Sunday Yokubaitis noted that this attack on VPNs is more sophisticated than what they have seen in the past.
This attack apparently didn’t affect VPN services in use in larger corporations.