Users in the country started reporting connectivity issues around the same time, a circumstance that suggests the adoption of new measures to control the access to the Internet.
Tor popularity in Turkey is increasing due to the censorship applied by the local authorities.
The Turkish Government has applied new sophisticated “blocking measures” that will not allow circumventing social media shutdowns in Turkey. The Government is blocking Tor and any other VPN service as part of the Turkey’s internet censorship of the central government.
The Government of Ankara recently ordered ISPs to block access to the Tor and many other VPN services. Earlier in December, the Turk Internet that represents the ISPs in the country reported the high pressure on the Government to complete the ban. The Government ordered ISPs a weekly status update on the applied restrictions.
In the recent years, the Turkish Government as applied several times the block of the social media networks during national emergencies and political unrest and street demonstrations.
In the following graph, it is reported the number of direct connected Tor users (Source Tor Metrics), it is easy to verify the increased popularity of the tool in the country since last year.
The experts from the Turkey Blocks also noticed Tor usage via bridges is being downgraded due to the restrictions applied by the Turkish Government.
“Turkey Blocks finds that the Tor direct access mode is now restricted for most internet users throughout the country; Tor usage via bridges including obfs3 and obfs4 remains viable, although we see indications that obfs3 is being downgraded by some service providers with scope for similar on restrictions obfs4. The restrictions are being implemented in tandem with apparent degradation of commercial VPN service traffic.” continues the analysis published by the Turkey Blocks.
The study conducted by the organizations corroborates user reports that Tor access with the default configuration is now widely restricted. At the time I was writing, the ban isn’t total and the Turkish government is not covering corporate or custom VPN solutions.
Pierluigi Paganini is member of the ENISA (European Union Agency for Network and Information Security) Threat Landscape Stakeholder Group and Cyber G7 Group, he is also a Security Evangelist, Security Analyst and Freelance Writer.
Editor-in-Chief at "Cyber Defense Magazine", Pierluigi is a cyber security expert with over 20 years experience in the field, he is Certified Ethical Hacker at EC Council in London. The passion for writing and a strong belief that security is founded on sharing and awareness led Pierluigi to find the security blog "Security Affairs" recently named a Top National Security Resource for US.
Pierluigi is a member of the "The Hacker News" team and he is a writer for some major publications in the field such as Cyber War Zone, ICTTF, Infosec Island, Infosec Institute, The Hacker News Magazine and for many other Security magazines.
Author of the Books "The Deep Dark Web" and “Digital Virtual Currency and Bitcoin”.