Friday

Access restricted sites safely in Banned Countries


blocked websites

We have been receiving a lot of queries regarding some on-going problems with some Google services, especially by those residing in Pakistan, and some other countries where sites like YouTube have been banned. Besides YouTube, the PTA has even blocked Google services such as Chrome web store, and Picasa web albums. As a result, many bloggers, and internet users can't access many sites, and are experiencing issues with some blogger-based websites, and websites that have a lot of content that has been blocked (such as YouTube videos). Some people also have redirection issues. If you are experiencing these issues, here is a way you can safely access these websites, so you might want to give this a read.

In response to the provocative anti-Islamic video  posted on YouTube, PTA in Pakistan, and respective organizations in other Muslim countries blocked YouTube, along with many other Google Services such as Google App Store, Google Reader, Google images, etc. Tonnes of Blogger users were having difficulties opening their blogs and posting on it, since images weren't showing-up after uploading. 

These problems are faced especially by PTCL broadband and DSL users. Sometimes, the blogs simply won't load. And sometimes, the blog URL redirects to Google homepage. Hence, a load of problems caused by the blockage of these services.

The mistake made by many

Now to avoid these problems, many people are using proxy websites to log into, and access their websites. This is, by far, the worst approach adopted by such people. A proxy website works like this. You send them your login information, and they log into the site for you, and return the data back to you. Who knows, during this process, all your sensitive data is being screened, and noted down for future usage? Indeed, that's one of the most popular ways people get hacked, and the easiest too!

So what should you do? Here's a solution

Ultra-Surf

Some of you might already know about this, but for those that don't, this is a useful little tool that lets you surf banned websites. It is a proxy-based tool too, but it doesn't store and send your information to third-parties like so many other parties. It also makes use of strong-encryption schemes to ensure security. And it makes use of a dynamic IP, and hides your real IP from websites, hence protecting your privacy as well.

To use ultra-surf, simply visit their website, and click the download button on the top-right. A .zip file will be downloaded to your computer. Extract it, and you'll see a file named 'ultrasurf 10.08.exe' in there. This is Ultra-Surf. It doesn't need to be installed. You can simply run it by opening the .exe file.

UltraSurf
You will see a window as shown above. It looks kinds complicated, but it isn't. And anyhow, you don't need to interact with it, unless you're trying to check it out and default to a custom proxy. All you need to do is, keep it running in the background. Weirdly (and annoyingly), it will open up Internet Explorer, with the Ultra Surf homepage loaded. You don't need to keep this open. It is just for your convenience  If you're using Chrome or Firefox, you can simply close IE and continue with your work. It will make all the blocked websites, including YouTube, run normally, although a little bit slow.

Redirection issues

Some people are also getting the issue of Blogger blog URLs redirecting to the Google homepage. For this issue, you can try downloading and installing Tor. It's an online anonymity software designed to protect your privacy, and to defend yourself against network surveillance and traffic monitoring. It kind of works like Ultra-Surf, You just need to download and install it, and it'll do the rest for you.

Hopefully, these tools will solve your browsing problems, and you surely won't have to resort to cheap proxy sites that'll sell your user data to third parties, or use it themselves for malicious use. If you have additional questions regarding such problems, then this is the place to ask them. Cheers :)
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