GFW Fail: Visitors to Blocked Sites Redirected to Porn

Greatfire.org reports that changes to China’s DNS cache poisoning technique, an Internet method that once diverted Internet traffic away from legitimate servers to fake or nonexistent ones, is now redirecting users trying to access blocked websites to real IP addresses that host accessible websites, including porn sites.

However, with the new DNS poisoning system, in addition to those IP addresses used before, the Chinese authorities are using real IP addresses that actually host websites and are accessible in China. For example, https://support.dnspod.cn/Tools/tools/ shows that if a user tries to access Facebook from China, they might instead land on a random web page, e.g. http://178.62.75.99

One Chinese Internet user reported to us that when he tried to access Facebook in China, he was sent to a Russian website, unrelated to Facebook. Another user tweeted that he was redirected to an German adult site when he tried to access a website for a VPN.

[…] The redirection to adult content is especially ironic. The authorities often cite the “protection of minors” as one reason to justify . But in this example, users who are trying to access perfectly legal but blocked content instead are sent to illegal (in China) adult content websites. Perhaps this is a mistake but it may not be. Does this signal that the censorship authorities are beyond the rule of law in China? [Source]

Last January, China’s Internet suffered a massive failure that is believed to have resulted from an unusual error by those in charge of China’s .

Internet pornography sweeps and anti-vulgarity operations are common in China. A recently launched Internet porn crackdown came last year amid other regulations on online speech, leading some to believe that it was aimed more at stifling free expression than eradicating vulgar content.