Look out for exciting new options in the near future.
Millions of people in over 200 countries around the planet are already connecting to the Internet using Psiphon, the most robust circumvention tool on the web. Psiphon facilitates access to websites and services which are censored, blocked, or otherwise unavailable, no matter where you are in the world. Whether you can’t access your favourite news broadcast today, or want to provide an extra layer of protection when using public Wi-Fi services, Psiphon is the best tool for accessing the open Internet.
• Automatic selection of protocols to provide effective, reliable circumvention every time.
• View how much traffic you have used with in-app stats tracking.
How it works:
Psiphon Inc. runs a number of servers, which the client connects to via VPN or secure SSH connection. Each client has a list of these servers, which are added to over time so that as older servers become blocked there is a backup list of new servers to connect to. System integrity is maintained through each client being digitally signed to certify its authenticity, and each server having embedded certificates to ensure it is the authentic server for that client.
The website and user support
The website is a fairly simply affair, although we love the fact that it is available in a wide range of languages, many of which are from country’s which suffer from extensive censorship issues.
Privacy and security
Psiphon provides ‘confidentiality’ by hiding your internet activity from your ISP, as the connection between the client and the Psiphon server is encrypted. It does not however provide anonymity.
‘Psiphon is designed to provide you with open access to online content. Psiphon does not increase your online privacy, and should not be considered or used as an online security tool.’
User’s IP addresses and email addresses are not collected, but although the software is open source, Psiphon Inc. is a commercial company that shares metadata information about which sites are visited by its users, and from which counties, with its business partners.
‘Event logs include timestamps, region codes (GeoIP country code) and non-identifying attributes including sponsor ID (determined by which Psiphon client is used), client version, and protocol type. Page views are aggregated by time and/or session before being logged… All statistics shared with sponsors are further aggregated by date, sponsor, and region.’
Psiphon Inc. warns users that it may occasionally need to turn on system logging in order troubleshoot problems, but this is a transparent process, and any such events are published online.
Users should also be aware that although Psiphon is good for evading censorship blocks, observers will know that anti-censorship technology is being used (the obfuscation technologies used for SSH+ may help to hide this, but we have no way of knowing for sure).
The VPN setting uses the L2TP/IPSec client built into Windows, which is generally considered secure, although OpenVPN is generally preferred these days. As Psiphon is not intended to provide security or anonymity, however, this is not much of an issue.
Psiphon Inc. contacted us, wishing to clarify how the business-side of the operation works, and offering the following reasoning of how and why it can run for free for daily customers:
Users do not need to sign-up or provide Psiphon Inc. with any personal details. All you need do is download the software, and assuming everything works correctly, you are good to go.
Psiphon for Windows
The Windows client is a small (2.7MB) self-contained .exe file that does not require installation to run. A rather funky feature is that you can request the app (Windows or Android versions) be sent by email if the Psiphon website or download links are blocked or censored.