Russia vs. Telegram: technical notes on the battle

Leonid Evdokimov (darkk)

Playlists: '35c3' videos starting here / audio / related events

It's time to highlight facts and epic fails that were observed on the wire during attempts to block Telegram in Russia.

Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, IT and Mass Media started the process to ban Telegram on April the 16th. Roskomnadzor press-office claimed that the process will take a few hours. Telegram mostly worked in Russia during the incident beginning and still works half a year later.

Russia banned Amazon, Google, Microsoft, DigitalOcean, Hetzner and other networks covering almost 0.5% of Internet Protocol address space, presumably, to put pressure on international businesses to make Telegram persona non-grata on those networks.

Russia also banned IP addresses of major local businesses (VKontakte, Yandex and others), presumably, by mistake. A flaw in the filter was exploited to bring one of the major ISPs down for a while. Moscow Internet exchange point announced that alike flaw of the filter could be used to disrupt peering. Proxy-hunting experiments were observed sniffing live network traffic, both for obfuscated MTProto proxy and good old Socks5.

This talk will not cover legal aspects of the lawyers fighting for Telegram in court. Also, it will not show any "insider" information from Telegram team.


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