An update on the censorship in Ethiopia

by Runa | June 3, 2012

A few days ago, we published a blog post exposing the use of Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) to filter all Internet traffic in Ethiopia, including connections to the Tor network. We concluded that they are doing some sort of TLS fingerprinting, but had not been able to figure out exactly what they are fingerprinting on. Since then, we have managed to determine exactly how Ethiopia blocks Tor and we have developed a workaround. We will publish a full technical analysis very soon.

The long-term solution for Tor users in Ethiopia is to use the Obfsproxy Tor Browser Bundle. The bundles are, unfortunately, not up to date at the moment, but this is something we are working on (see #5937 for details). In the meantime, try using one of the following three bridges:

If the bridges are not working, or you have questions, send an email to


Please note that the comment area below has been archived.

June 03, 2012



June 26, 2012

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)


oh.. lucky those who can make a connections on other
country, bad luck here on thousands filipino's here in the philippines
who's relying on tor...
recently 2 of the biggest ISP's blocked Tor
If I;m not mistaken through port 443.. .
even vpn are all blocked.. .
status now here is in back to zero.. .
we' in our community join together in the fights against censorship..
net cost here are so expensive &
I guess in your country the speed that gives to us by the ISP's is just a free..
but in a long run .. failure!

June 03, 2012


I'm running a bridge node. Should I run an obfsproxy endpoint, too, when the tests have run smoothly?

June 03, 2012


Would it be a good guess that this is not home-grown Ethiopian blocking technology, and that they're paying some outside firm to do it for them? If so, any chance of identifying and shaming said firm?

It's probably a European firm, Erricson setup the initial network, ZTE is rolling out new networks, and Orange/France Telecom seem to be running the telecom part of it.…

BTW, blocking sites in Ethiopia is pretty old, net2phone (VoIP) when introduced was already being blocked. It's gotten political, used to be a net neutrality issue.

Currently the parliament has approved a bill that leads to 15 years of imprisonment and 150K ETB (Birr) fine if some one is found using illegal ( As to the law of the government) sites and services. So guys, be serious to what you are using and let others use.

It's Chinese. The ethiopian government is very close with the chinese government. This relationship has translated into the chinese building infrastructure for the ethiopians while getting certain concessions for their work.

June 04, 2012


To all of you TOR developers, thank you. You're building up massive karma points squinting into your monitor screens, scratching your heads, and alternatively staring out the window as you figure out all these solutions time and time again. Your work has aided so many people who rely on TOR -- Internet access and participation in social networking activities can have a very profound effect in countries where oppressive governments (their numbers are sadly increasing) want to keep their own citizens in seclusion by restricting the sharing of ideas, information, and community involvement. Facebook loves to bask in the news media glory for things like the 'Arab Spring' social upheavals but most of us know that TOR was the real infrastructure and backbone for Internet access.

>It's "Tor", not "TOR".

I am aware that "Tor" is the official form, but why? It is an acronym for The Onion Router and acronyms are properly all-caps.

Clearly, it is for this reason that so few people use the official but idiosyncratic "Tor" over the intuitive "TOR".

June 06, 2012


It would be nice eventually if you pushed an update to ALL of the servers so that they would be Obfsproxy relays, once most of the relays/bridges have been updated then push an update to the desktop clients. If Obfsproxy works so much better to circumvent censorship why not just put it everywhere?

June 10, 2012


The evil goverment is doing every thing to keep people in dark rule of his own. It arreset journalst, blogggers and any opposition. The evil Meles is doing censorship since he can not detain every citizen. Any how he is financed and supported by White House.

June 11, 2012


I hope the Skype obscure proxy comes out soon. It sounded hard to block. Makes Tor traffic look like Skype traffic.

June 13, 2012


That would be extremely easy... block all trafic that looks like skype traffic...

June 16, 2012


Couldn't figure whether to laugh my ass off or sympathize with Ethiopian internet users. I mean how can the government control internet infrastructure as if owned by an individual. If Tor doesnt work anybody in a fic can email me at i have a VPN solution that works well its free but don't share too much it will clog up!

June 22, 2012


Yeah... the Tor bunch rock fo sho.

Are the IP addresses mentioned for bridges long term ?

Many thanks in advance...

Go Tor team ... you rock !

July 01, 2012

In reply to Runa


I use Tor over a years and I find it almost perfectly,
but suddenly,
after ISP upgrades or doing some activities/maintenance
on their system.. .
it stuck on 10% handshakes mybe some on 25%..

July 08, 2012


We need an official Tor discussion forum.

I didn't see this issue mentioned in Roger's *latest* notes post, so for now, mature adults should visit and post at one or both of these unofficial tor discussion forums, these tinyurl's will take you to:

** HackBB:

** Onion Forum 2.0

Each tinyurl link will take you to a hidden service discussion forum. Tor is required to visit these links, even though they appear to be on the open web, they will lead you to .onion sites.

I know the Tor developers can do better, but how many years are we to wait?

Caution: some topics may be disturbing. You should be eighteen years or older. I recommend you disable images in your browser when viewing these two forums[1] and only enabling them if you are posting a message, but still be careful! Disable javascript and cookies, too.

If you prefer to visit the hidden services directly, bypassing the tinyurl service:

HackBB: (directly)

Onion Forum 2.0: (directly)

The tinyurl links are provided as a simple means of memorizing the hidden services via a link shortening service (

[1]: Because any content can be posted! Think 4chan, for example. onionforum2 doesn't appear to be heavily moderated so be aware and take precautions.

September 12, 2012


It's not just Ethiopia. There is an American pet forum, itchmoforums, linked to a blog that launched a legendary Internet empire. Here is the the blog ownership data. The owner is well-known:

In spite of this web potentate's proclamations of opposition to 'censorship' and drama queen antics condemning SOPA, his pet forum instituted the most oppressive brand of censorship I have ever seen on the Internet. His mostly middle-aged female forum members were censored for the mildest jokes and any posting deemed 'political' by his moderators. If they followed the site's many conduct rules and yet expressed opinions out of lockstep with the site owner's moderators, subtly cruel forms of social engineering were used to make participation noxious.

Anyone with a glimmering of personality and sense of justice eventually left the forum, though their sincere efforts to communicate there must have driven up site stats and superficial popularity for awhile, allowing the site owner to prosper and launch his cheesy little LOL empire.

The forum somehow now blocks Tor IP's, in spite of seeming to allow naive Internet users to to post there anonymously. I have my own suspicions about the agenda involved, but that is not relevant to the hypocrisy of the site owner in toting the free speech line yet blocking anonymous opinions from being expressed freely. The only real goal seems to be making money in these cases of Tor-blocking.

October 01, 2012


Hmm, there appears to be some difficulties with all the 1st link, because it returns a 404 error