08 May

Shadowsocks for China’s freedom - does it work?

Is there a way to get around internet censorship in China?

This is one of the most popular searches on the Internet today and an important question for all mainland residents. The Great Firewall needs no introduction - this is the most famous censorship program in the world. According to official statements The main role of The Great Firewall of China (GFW) is to block access to selected foreign websites and to slow down cross-border internet traffic. As a result there are no Twitter, Facebook or any Google services unavailable. Today, in the article we will discuss one of the most popular types of lock bypass - Shadowsocks.

What Is Shadowsocks?

According to Wikipedia Shadowsocks is the combination of legislative actions and technologies enforced by the People's Republic of China to regulate the Internet domestically. This technology based on open-source SOCKS5 proxy project, specially designed around bypassing censorship. It was first released in 2012 by its creator, a Chinese programmer under the pseudonym “clowwindy”.

After Police intervention in the case in 2015 China’s tech-savvy programmers from all over the world continue to develop the project.

Each Shadowsocks user creates his own proxy connection, and so each looks a little different from the outside. As a result, identifying this traffic is more difficult for the Great Firewall—that is to say, through Shadowsocks, it’s very hard for the firewall to distinguish traffic heading to an innocuous music video or a financial news article from traffic heading to Google or some other site blocked in China.

Benefits of Shadowsocks

  • The biggest advantage of Shadowsocks is very difficult to detect and block. The masking of traffic to make it appear as HTTPS is the main reason for that.
  • Another benefit is its selective disguising of traffic. You can choose which part of your traffic is affected by Shadowsocks — this makes it possible to get the access restricted content both inside and outside of your location.
  • It’s easy setup. The technology is a simple and capable proxy that doesn’t take long to setup and is perfect for accessing restricted content.

How is Shadowsocks different from a VPN?

There is one major similarity between VPN and Shadowsocks — their ability to connect you to certain websites that are normally off-limits due to government censorship, geoblocks, or otherwise.

Nowadays, even if you have a proxy server in Australia, the Great Firewall can identify and block traffic it doesn’t like from that server. It still knows you are requesting packets from Google—you’re just using a bit of an odd route for it. That’s where Shadowsocks comes in. It creates an encrypted connection between the Shadowsocks client on your local computer and the one running on your proxy server, using an open-source internet protocol called SOCKS5.

How is this different from a VPN? VPNs also work by rerouting and encrypting data. But most people who use them in China use one of a few large service providers. That makes it easy for the government to identify those providers and then block traffic from them. And VPNs usually rely on one of a few popular internet protocols, which tell how to talk to each other over the web. Chinese censors have been able to use machine learning to find “fingerprints” that identify traffic from VPNs using these protocols. These tactics don’t work so well on Shadowsocks, since it is a less centralized system.

Unlike VPN, Shadowsocks isn’t designed for privacy and anonymity. While VPN encrypts all traffic as long as it is enabled, the packages in Shadowsocks are “blank” — that is, they are unencrypted. The main idea behind this is to make your data look more like HTTPS traffic, so that it can move around unrestricted.

Due to its use of SOCKS5 proxies, Shadowsocks doesn’t send all your traffic through a server, as opposed to VPN. And in contrast to traditional ssh SOCKS5 proxies, Shadowsocks works with multiple TCP connections. The result is much faster speeds compared to the alternatives.

Despite many difference methods to jumping the Great Firewall Shadowsocks is still the most effective, cheap and easy-to-use way to get a free access and stay freedom in Internet!

The RSocks team is share the view on the free internet without restrictions, so we run our own Shadowsocks technology support!

More info about it read in our news!


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