Dispatches from the Iranian cyberfront

I’ve spent the last seventeen hours living inside a cyberpunk novel. A libertarian cyberpunk novel. It’s been a weird and awesome experience.

Within an hour after I received a plea for help from Iran, a regular commenter on this blog recruited me into a hacker network that has been forming to support the democratic Iranian revolutionaries by providing them with proxy servers, Tor anonymizers, and any other technologies needed
for them to communicate over channels the Iranian regime cannot censor or control.

I know this network has contacts on the ground among the revolutionaries. I don’t know who they
are, and don’t want to know. Most of the other network members are just names on an IRC channel. But we’re putting together a stealth network at amazing speed. Nothing matters as much as the courage and determination of the Iranians on the ground, but we aim to make a difference in our own way and we have the tools to do it.

This disorganization has only been forming for a very short time. It doesn’t really have leaders. It didn’t have even a name when I joined it, though I’ve given it one that looks like it might stick. Until and unless somebody else steps up to the job, I’m our public contact.

This role carries a non-zero risk that I will be targeted for assassination, or interrogation followed by execution, by agents of the Iranian regime – we’ve had more than one death threat against core members already. I take this risk with eyes open because we need somebody to be public, and I know I’ve already been a jihadi target since 2006; at least I can keep some other poor bastard out of the line of fire. I now expect to remain continuously armed for the duration of the Iranian crisis.

Rostam, this is how I’m answering your plea. We’ll do what we can for your people. For freedom.

To learn more about NedaNet and how you can help, go here.

UPDATE: Actual death threat received. I have taken appropriate precautions.

165 thoughts on “Dispatches from the Iranian cyberfront

  1. i like your enthusiasm and your ideals. im right there with ya when it comes to freedom. i read your sex tips for geeks series of essays and thoroughly enjoyed what you had to say, although i disagree with some of your views, but that is irrelevant. reading that led me to your main page, which in turn led me to this page. what you claim to be doing in regard to enabling iranian civilians to break the restrictions imposed on their freedom by their “nation” will, if it works, add to the chaos. following logically from that one can conclude this will turn into a civil war. the protests are originating from an assumed belief that the citizens are a victim of election fraud, which at this point is still debatable, regardless of which opinionated voice you happen to be getting your information from. please think about what you are doing: contributing to the subversion of a sovereign “nation”. i dont like what the iranian government stands for either, but think about the consequences of your actions. if a civil war breaks out, peacekeepers will get sent in, because after all, they have oil we need. iranian civil war = christmas for imperialists. as an anarchist i’m sure you follow what im saying.

  2. Eric,

    As someone’s who has been monitoring and participating in #Irantech for the last couple of days, while I do appreciate you stepping up to be a public face for this, I do have one question to ask.

    Did you really have to make such a bombastic statement?

    “And for any jihadi interested in asking me questions face to face, I’ve got some bullets slathered in pork fat to make you feel extra special welcome.”

    Seriously? Are such statements required here, especially given since such statements are also intrinsically offensive to those we’re trying to help?

    In my opinion, such biased statements fly in the face of the quiet and dedicated organization of those who picked up this effort initially, and were hackers bent on a mission of keeping communications open into Iran. The goodwill this is helping generate between Iran and the rest of the world cannot be understated.

    So I’m asking, is it worth being an Ugly American, just to show how prepared you are to defend yourself? While putting together a resources page on your highly visible website is a great thing, that page should be about resources, not about your willingness to cut down anyone willing to attack you, pork fat or no.

    Please consider that your actions may end up harming efforts, not helping them.

  3. I can set up tor and squid, too. Am I a 1337 h4x0r like ESR, too? May I brag about being a possible assassination target for the Iranian regime, too?

  4. Something needs to be done about the Iranian firewall, their control on net technology. We can set up all the proxies we want, but ultimately, something needs to be done about the technology that Nokia Siemans sold to them.

  5. I’m here to say exactly what JCB did, but I could never phrase it so eloquently… please, stick to the mission, and leave the antagonistic posturing to those incapable of anything better.

  6. Is that reliable information, or disinformation from the Iranian government designed to discredit the effort? I suspect the latter.

  7. >So I’m asking, is it worth being an Ugly American, just to show how prepared you are to defend yourself?

    You know, it’s a funny thing. None of the actual Iranians who have contacted me appear to think I’m being ugly at all.

    You also might want to think about the deterrent and psychological value of looking armed and ready rather than rabbiting, especially when the adversary is from an honor/shame culture. It’s a blind spot in your thinking that you can only interpret this as “bombast”; I’ll do what I think is most likely to keep me alive, thank you.

  8. Farooq Rabbani alleges “CIA/NSA/MOSSAD/MI6 provide finance to setup NedaNet, a network of hackers formed to support the democratic revolution”

    Yeah, sure. If any actual intelligence agency were behind this, we’d have a thousand proxy servers in a bombproof bunker under Fort Meade. That’d sure be nice, but it bears no actual resemblence to what’s really going on.

    Actually, I think if we were offered such help we’d reject it. We don’t really need it, and it wouldn’t be helpful if the Iranian theocrats could use it to smear the really important people, those on the ground in Iran.

  9. >Is that reliable information, or disinformation from the Iranian government designed to discredit the effort? I suspect the latter.

    Jay, I would suspect that it’s a supporter of the current regime more than the government.

    If there were any truth to it, darn it, I want to know where my CIA paycheck is! *grin*

  10. > Yeah, sure. If any actual intelligence agency were behind this, we’d have a thousand proxy servers in a bombproof bunker under Fort Meade.

    Not necessarily. Mossadegh was overthrown by CIA and MI6 agents who talked to the right people at the right time and by handing out about US-$ 400000 in total to poor people on the street in order to have them chant for the Shah. With that little effort, the whole coup d’etat thing started running by itself.

  11. It’s unfortunate that there is a nedanet.com, an IT consulting company using the same name. And of course this is the first result on Google. I mean the guys can be in danger because of the same name which might make some jihadis confuse them with this NedaNet and probably they don’t even know about it. At least someone should warn them to watch out…

  12. >Could you please try to shutdown these sites:

    Sorry, I don’t have the capability to do that. I will spread the word that these sites might be false-flag operations. I suspect the Iranians on the ground already know this.

  13. Yeah, sure. If any actual intelligence agency were behind this, we’d have a thousand proxy servers in a bombproof bunker under Fort Meade. That’d sure be nice, but it bears no actual resemblence to what’s really going on.

    Not only that, but certainly neither you nor anyone else would be posting about it on the public Internet. The CIA really, really doesn’t like it when people talk about their intelligence ops openly in a public forum.

  14. >I can set up tor and squid, too. Am I a 1337 h4×0r like ESR, too? May I brag about being a possible assassination target for the Iranian regime, too?

    Sure — when you actually take the risks I’m accepting, instead of just flapping your mouth.

    What part of “we’ve had more than one death threat against core members already” did you fail to understand?

  15. I have word from the network. It is in fact strongly suspected that gerdab.ir is a regime operation. I have been urged that nobody outside Iran should try to DDOS them,. as there is essentially only one tube in and out of Iran and a clumsy attack might hinder the revolutionaries’ use of the net. I am informed that more carefully targeted attacks are being attempted.

  16. For anyone wondering what I’ve actually been doing, I’m spending most of my time watching our IRC channel and fielding suggestions to improve the squid configuration. Most of the value in it isn’t the squid configuration gorp, it’s in having a clear set of directions to go with that; those need to be maintained as the range of host system types we support expands. The configuration is now at rev level 14.

  17. I’ve decided to summarily delete both flames about my attitude and the responses to them from this thread in future. This isn’t about me, and neither the attackers nor my defenders are helping.

    The lives of freedom fighters in Iran are on the line. Let’s see if we can put petty intramural status games aside while that’s still true, shall we?

  18. If using a Firewall, do I need to set up port forwarding, or will port triggering work as well?

    ESR says: Forwarding only is working for me on an ActionTek router, but your mileage may vary.

  19. Neda, we fight in your name.

    Video of students shot by basij. Wounded. Dying. First comment on that video: And now I hope people realize why in America we have a 2nd Amendment. It’s not so that we can protect ourselves from criminals, but from government. I’d like to think that after this week there won’t be anybody still idiot enough to believe civilian firearms don’t matter, but I know better.

    UPDATE: Dangit, the shooting footage seems to have been removed.

  20. Morally, I don’t see how I could not help out, and to knowingly and willingly assume the same risks. I’m probably a worse shot, but the least I could do.

    “I finally looked at her picture, and she looked familiar somehow. I think we have a statue of her in the harbor at New York. Delacroix caught a glimpse of her once on a barricade in Paris. She carried water to the cannon crews at Monmouth, and drove a chariot at Watling Street. She cut off Holophernes’ head.

    She will be missed, but she will be back. She’s that kind of girl.”

  21. The murdered woman’s full name has come to light. She was Neda Agha Soltani.

    Remember her.

  22. > Well, we’re aboveground now. This blog entry showed up in the New York Times’s morning skim.

    oh shi–


  23. Two hundred protesters, in the capital city of a country with a population of 70 million, peacefully dispersed with no injuries. There might be more rallies on Tuesday, but as it becomes clear there were no major violations in the elections the reformist movement will have to find another, less violent outlet for its energy.

    I wonder how many people, willing to have faith in the announcements of Iran’s Guardian council about ‘election irregularities in 50 districts’ (which they made a press release denying such reports in the media), will suddenly reverse their position and label the Guardian council a pawn of the current regime when the prescribed time is up and they announce their decision of reported violations. Honestly the funniest thing imo is the summoning of ambassadors as a foreign policy tool, and the way the Czech presidency is making such an issue of it, as it plays directly into Iranian hands to talk about ‘insults’.

  24. The directions for Mac OS X are not clear

    # i. Launch SquidMan.

    Is there anything to be downloaded first? If so, how?

    How does one “launch SquidMan”? From the command
    line in a Terminal window? If so, how?

    # Fix the http_port line in /etc/squid.conf.
    # Add more lines as needed.

    Does including the list supplied in the config file work?
    (Barring enemy countermeasures.)

    ISTR submitting this earlier. Is it awaiting moderation? If so I apologize for the double post.

  25. I do not wish to dishonor the woman’s memory as I know nothing about her, other than that she seems to have been killed for sport.

    But, I have a problem…

    Which of these men stands for liberty and democracy? Mousavi, the personal friend of Ayatollah Khomeni who favors torture of dissenters, hates America, was personally involved in the Reagan hostage crisis and a member of the Hizbollah terrorist group’s steering committee?

    Or is it Ahmadinejad, the populist demagogue who parrots the predjudices of the common Iraqi voter in a manner that would make Tiberius and Sempronious Gracchus proud?

    Seriously, which theocratic racist anti-American dickwad are we supporting here? I can’t figure out who we are supposed to be idolising.

  26. >Which of these men stands for liberty and democracy?

    None of them. We’re on the demonstrators’ side.

  27. >The directions for Mac OS X are not clear

    And I cannot make them clearer, alas. I merged in text that was reported to me; I have no way to test on a Mac. If you managed to fix up the procedure, please tell me how so I can incorporate that.

    >Does including the list supplied in the config file work? (Barring enemy countermeasures.)

    Yes, but you need to strip off the trailing comments.

  28. If you’re looking for more gaming ports to masquerade as, here’s some server ports for common modern games.

    1716 (America’s Army)
    14567 (Battlefield 1942)
    16567 (Battlefield 2)
    17567 (Battlefield 2142)
    27015 (Half Life / Half Life 2)
    7777 (Unreal Tournament 3)
    28960 (Call of Duty 2 & 4)
    4000 (Diablo 2)
    6112-6119 (Starcraft/Warcraft 3)
    27733 (Enemy Territory Quake Wars)
    27666 (Doom 3)
    27960 (Quake 3)
    28004 (Quake 4)

    8767 (TeamSpeak. OK not actually a game but if you’re playing WoW you’re also using either TeamSpeak or Ventrilo)
    3784 (Ventrilo)

    Note that most of these (main exception being the blizzard games) have configurable port numbers so these are merely very commonly appearing ports i.e. if you expect to play that game you expect to see that port. Also i’ve only included games that have arbitrary servers (and thus aren’t limited in IP range).

    ESR says: We have a comprehensive list of game ports linked in the directions.

  29. >How does one “launch SquidMan”?

    Here are some MacOSX pre-instructions:
    (1) using Firefox or Safari (I’ll assume Firefox henceforth), go to this page:
    (2) locate the download links for various dmg files at the bottom of the page.
    (3) click the link for version 2.5b; When prompted, pick “load with DiskImageMounter.app”. (Or, alternately, you could save the file somewhere and double-click to launch it.)
    (4) When the disk image shows up in finder. double-click on the big blue “SquidMan” icon. (Or, better yet, drag that icon into your Applications folder and then launch it from there)
    => Click “Open” when asked if you really want to launch this program you’ve just downloaded from the internet.
    => Click “OK” in response to the “Squid Missing. The Squid subsystem needs to be installed…” dialog.

    I think that brings us up to what’s already in the procedure.

    ESR says: Thanks, I’ve merged in these directions.

  30. I’ve been wanting to learn about Squid and now I have a reason to. Would a static IP be helpful? I assume the risk is also higher, but let me know!

  31. I’ve found the following to be true at least for Ubuntu 8.04. You need to use sudo to execute the squid commands, i.e. “sudo squid -z” and “sudo squid -NCd10”. Also, when testing, be sure you’re testing the port(s) you’ve enabled, localhost:3128 will not work.

  32. What part of “we’ve had more than one death threat against core members already” did you fail to understand?

    Let me guess, the core member is you, and the death threat is from 2006? Lame.

  33. >The death threat was made before esr joined up.

    That’s correct. I have not yet been threatened in connection with NedaNet; all of those threats (and I’ve been asked not to be specific about the number) have been directed at other people.

  34. >Would a static IP be helpful?

    A static IP is necessary. Otherwise we can’t keep a stable address in the proxy database.

    Hm, I think I’d better add that to the directions.

  35. Eric, words can’t express my gratitude to you, Daniel Franke and all the great souls who are contributing to this cause. The nedaNet thing is really something. BTW, The Wikipedia Article has added new photos of neda, in case you may want to use one of them in the mini-bio section there.

    As I said before (in that apparently lost) mail, neda is not the first nor the last one. At least 150-200 young people have been martyred, though her case was really heartbreaking.

    Once again you demonstrated that being a hacker is a lot more than just being a savvy programmer:

    “Authoritarians thrive on censorship and secrecy. And they distrust voluntary cooperation and information-sharing — they only like ‘cooperation’ that they control. So to behave like a hacker, you have to develop an instinctive hostility to censorship, secrecy, and the use of force or deception to compel responsible adults. And you have to be willing to act on that belief.” How To Become A Hacker

    Press on the good job!

    ESR says: I’ve linked to the picture, thanks. Perhaps you might add a line or two about NedaNet to the Wikipedia article?

  36. Got an Ubuntu Linux box standing by, firewall/router with port-forwarding already set up and will be setting this up today. Q for you: I’d like to spread the word around for others to do the same, but I’m wondering if it’s wise to do so on Twitter?

  37. Never mind…a Twitter search on nedanet turned up nearly 90 results, so the word’s apparently well out now on Twitter.

  38. >Why not use of VPN ? Proxy and/or special ports are not enough reliable

    ESR says: If you have an actual set of directions and a deployment plan, I’ll publish it.

  39. >A static IP is necessary. Otherwise we can’t keep a stable address in the proxy database.

    Can your proxy database handle FQDNs? If so, dynamic DNS may be a viable solution. There are providers out there (dyndns.com is the one I’m familiar with) who will provide this service for free.

    ESR says: I’m trying to find this out now. The guy who runs the proxies database has been offline for a while, probably getting much-needed sleep. I’ll ask when he gets back.

  40. ESR, fantastic job! DRabeuf’s comments got me thinking: is there some sort of service provider or hosting co that people could buy space or bandwidth or whatever is necessary (sorry, I am not a techie) on to provide proxies? If so, maybe some of the hacker army you are helping create/deploy might lend their time and effort to setting up the infrastructure so the non-techies among us can just enter a credit card to help the cause. I might be totally talking out of my arse on this but figured it can’t hurt to throw it out there.

    Keep up the good work and fighting the fight!

  41. JG: Check Amazon EC2 (http://aws.amazon.com/ec2/) and any “cloud” providers.

    I’d give you a better list, but I’m at the bottom of a very slow link and browsing the net is hella painful.

  42. Check out this:

    Virtual Machines for $35 a month. Load JEOS (a debian/Ubunutu) variant inside it and bob’s yer uncle.

    This isn’t a “virtual host”, this would be a full operating system–you could, in theory, build a “virtual appliance” that does some autoconfiguration on startup and spread it out to a couple of these types of providers.

  43. I’m a big Linode fan. They’re not quite as “elastic” as EC2 (pay by the month, not the hour) but very cost effective. More importantly, they’re run by laid-back geeks and not by lawyers: they gave me explicit permission to run a Tor exit node for NedaNet, and they didn’t flip out a few months ago either when I warned them that I’d be using their network for testing proof-of-concept exploit code.

  44. Hi Eric!

    You probably don’t remember me, or maybe you do – I was working on something called “Voios” back in about 2000 (people vote w/ micro-payments on specific improvements to open source software).

    I’m willing to sponsor a few virtual instances in US and EU (on a well-known but unnamed service), and would very much like to help w/ automating the provisioning and monitoring of these servers (as well as the delivery of their availability notifications to the right people).

    Also, working on something called CloudCache (see http://www.quetzall.com) – CloudCache is like memcached except it’s a service – simple key/value get/set/delete, ttl, flush, etc. If anyone can think of useful ways to leverage an elastic key/value cache for the cause, I’m happy to provide it for free.

    Best Regards,


  45. @BIlly and @DFranke (hi!)

    There already is a virtual appliance of the type you’re looking for. rbox is a live CD that automatically sets up a Tor bridge, Squid proxy on 10 ports, a PPTP VPN, a SSH server, and a low-bandwidth compressing proxy. You can grab it in ISO format at http://www.tsdo.org/rbox/.

    ESR says: Yes, there’s a link to this on the NedaNet page.

  46. “I’ve decided to summarily delete both flames about my attitude and the responses to them from this thread in future. This isn’t about me, and neither the attackers nor my defenders are helping.
    The lives of freedom fighters in Iran are on the line. Let’s see if we can put petty intramural status games aside while that’s still true, shall we?”

    As long as they don’t take over the thread, I’d advocate leaving them on. It’s fascinating to see how some people do engage in these games at the same time as Iranians are dying for their freedom.

  47. I know of several films on successful nonviolent struggles in places like Ukraine, Serbia, Chile, Poland. They are being used as training films by nonviolent opposition and resistance groups. Dubbed and subtitled Farsi versions are available in the PAL system. I would like to find a way to get copies of these films into Iran so that activists and leaders can see what other people have done in similar situations, and the full range of tactics that others have used — much more than street protests. Any suggestions on how to do this?

  48. The squid configuration seems to be stabilized. I haven’t had to modify the actual config stanzas since yersterday; it’s all fixing the setup directions and documenting installation edge cases on different platforms, now.

    Nobody is telling me how many proxies we now have; we haven’t yet decided whether or not we want the Iranian government to know that, and as a matter of basic security I’m not asking to be told anything that shouldn’t go public.

    There have been a couple of attempts to run denial-of-service attacks sites associated with the network, but they’ve been weak and easily fended off with port-blocking and other techniques. So far, whatever geeks and hackers the regime has working for it are looking pretty lame. Nobody is surprised by this.

  49. Is there some reason they decided to link to that blogspam rather then the original page or this thread?

    ESR says: Probably just cluelessness.

  50. “I would like to find a way to get copies of these films into Iran so that activists and leaders can see what other people have done in similar situations, and the full range of tactics that others have used — much more than street protests. Any suggestions on how to do this?”

    I don’t think suggestions about this should be made on an open blog readable by anyone.

  51. @Ivan:
    I can’t understand how someone can be intelligent enough to formulate this sort of question without being able to come to the understanding almost immediately.

    What the Russian Hackers did (from what I remember) was to shut down Georgian computers–they worked to PREVENT the Georgians access to computing resources, either to prevent them from communicating with the outside world, or to prevent their use in the war.

    In 4th Gen. warfare this is a legitimate tactic as long as the attackers are careful to fall inside the spirit of the Geneva Conventions–not attacking hospitals or Civilian infrastructure that is not being used for military purposes etc.

    In this case what ESR and his accomplices are doing is *facilitating communication*. They are primarily providing resources to let individuals (either alone or in aggregate) be heard and tell their stories regardless of, or despite attempts by a government to prevent this.

    Iran is not /yet/ in a civil war, it is not a “real” revolution yet, and as such what ESR is doing is just providing advice to random people on the internet who want their voices heard.

    This is different in EVERY WAY from what the Russian Hackers did. Unless I forgot something.

  52. First, let me say “thanks” for putting together this config and simple instructions. I’ve been out of the hands-on tech thing for a while since going from “IT geek” to “IT wonk” so my *nix skills have atrophied a little, but I still managed to get this going on the first try. But I’m wondering now if it was a wasted effort.

    I successfully tested and submitted my entries at austinheap, but I received no confirmation e-mails, and I’ve seen no traffic on my server, up for nearly 24 hours now. I know it works, because I added an acl entry for an outside network, then tested from a browser on that network and it worked fine.

    Is austinheap simply behind in confirming and distributing working proxies, or is the whole project dead?

  53. “The new Iranian revolution” ? You are so deluded sir. I actually appreciate your arrogant and blind braveness but there’s no revolution in process. If any, it’s a (pseudo-)cultural one. I mean it’s in the path of (so-called)Iranian reform movement initiated by Mohammad Khatami the proposer of Dialogue Among Civilizations (pseudo)Theory and with the new leadership of Mir Hossein Mousavi. The objective of the ongoing protests is solely urging the Guardian Council to acknowledge vote fraud and topples the Ahmadinejad’s government which will never happen. Most of the guys in the streets are so-called moderate muslims who have come to the point of adapting themselves with the modern world (so they say). They don’t want to have a secular govt; they want Mousavi who they have voted for, to change the status of Iran for the better. That’s it. I repeat: Iranians who one way or another come across nedanet won’t like the “revolutionary rhetoric”. Change it to “Green Wave Movement Of Iran” and omit the word “revolution” if you don’t want to be regarded as insensitive about Iran’s Politics.

    Some other minor errors in the nedanet page:
    a- it’s ‘Karegar’ street and not ‘Karekar’.
    b- Basij is an organization. ‘Basiji’ is a member.

    I know these things because:
    a- I am an Iranian who loves the Islamic revolution of 1979, Khumeini, Khamenei , and Shia Islam.
    b- My IQ is a little more than a box of depleted Uranium hammers.

    To sum it up: We will keep track of everyone who uses nedanet and kick their arse later. Indeed, nothing will change in Iran and Ahmadinejad is the true winner. I voted for him if you want to know.

    If you like to act like the ‘attention whore’ that you are with delusional beliefs and hilarious wishful thinking, be ready for real fight. Iran’s govt won’t let a pseudo-hacker corrupt the mnds of it’s young population with this kind of bullshit.

    This is your last warning. watch your back!

    ESR says: How cute. My very own death threat. Again.

  54. >Is austinheap simply behind in confirming and distributing working proxies, or is the whole project dead?

    I actually had a similar question, haven’t received a confirmation e-mail yet after setting up rbox.

  55. If you’re not seeing traffic, it could just mean the traffic is distributed over lots of servers and you just don’t happen to have been used yet.

    I’m trying to reach the guy who’s running the proxy db to ask what its state is.

  56. OK, the word from the crew is that it’s believed the proxy db is working from the Iranian side but the mail notification is buggy. I’m trying to reach the maintainer. Have patience, everybody; we’re working under pressure here with minimal resources.

  57. @kavehdadyar

    While you may or may not be correct about the politics of Iranians taking to the streets, the fact remains that the government in power is accused of rigging an election, and is suppressing free speech. I don’t care what religion you are, or what faction of the government you support, that’s not the point. All people have the right to speak there minds, and esr and others have the right to defend that right. Furthermore, the actions of those supporting nedanet.org are *non-violent*; all they are trying to do is facilitate free speech, a right that is for everyone, not just those who hold opinions you agree with.

  58. I’ve setup a proxy following your squid.conf file. Am I right in guessing that it is only accepting connections from ip’s in Iran? If so how do I test it to make sure it works correctly? I used the check proxy page at proxyheap so if that is sufficient then I’m good to go. Thanks.

    ESR says: That’s correct, it only accepts connections from inside Iran. If the validation test worked, you’re good to go.

  59. Alex: You can also temporarily add an acl entry like I did and test it from a browser on another network if you want the extra assurance. Just don’t forget to to remove the acl when you’re done!

  60. OK, security update for those of you who have been concerned.

    I’ve talked with the FBI and with a buddy of mine who has field experience in security and counterrorism. There are two possible threat levels here. One is amateur night – bunch of hotheads from the local Islamic “social club”, the other is an Iranian professional team.

    My buddy says that if there’s any indication the Iranians have pros in the area I should bug the fuck out, and has given me escape and evasion advice. (I have a laptop, so I can keep operating anywhere there’s wifi.) He’s offered to come out here and cover my back if I think the shit is getting heavy, which is reassuring since he’s the most dangerous human being I know.

    However, neither he nor the FBI thinks pros are even remotely likely. The FBI agrees with his threat assessment and has promised to call me if they have any indication of pros on the ground, but agrees that the scenario to plan against is amateur night. And about that, my friend is very reassuring.

    He says Cathy and I are better hand-to-hand fighters and shooters than anybody the amateur-night scenario is likely to throw at us – and having been among those who trained us, he’s in a good position to know. They’d be lousy shots with poor tactical coordination; if we respond correctly in the first 15 seconds and don’t let the get the drop on us, he thinks we’ll probably be OK. Awareness is key.

    The FBI is alert. The local cops have my house on elevated watch. I’m armed and maintaining Condition Yellow. I think this is about as good a defense in depth as is possible given our resources, and it should be adequate against the plausible threat.

    Thank you, everyone, for your concern.

    UPDATE: And thank Goddess that open carry is legal in Pennsylvania.

  61. Be careful that the lard you used to coat your hollowpoints doesn’t degrade your primers.

    ESR says: Heh. Now *that’s* what I call helpful advice. No, the trick is to smear bacon-grease on the front of the bullet only and hope you don’t get too much carbon deposition in your barrel.

  62. The guy running the proxy database thinks the notification issues may be due to spam filters or SPF records. We’re investigating.

  63. What is the thinking behind the decision to set up access control lists to block access from Iranian government allocated IP address ranges in the NedaNet squid proxy configuration ?

    The people at the state telecoms company subsidiary, Data Communication Company, tasked with doing the actual censorship, or with helping to track down internet users on behalf of the secret police etc., will not be inconvenienced by this, as they can use any of the Iranian IP blocks they wish.

    The NedaNet squid configuration file is blocking access from University and Hospital IP address netblocks, e.g. Tehran University Medical School, precisely the sort of places which are likely to have resourceful people sneaking around their local censors, with some news or video footage to get out to the rest of the world.

    Even within the core Iranian government bureaucracy, there must be many people who want to be able to access otherwise blocked international news websites etc., whose only internet access is at work. Surely these are exactly the people who need to be influenced the most, by a more balanced picture of what is happening in Iran, rather than just having to rely on the state controlled mass media ?

    There is a case for blocking the use of these proxy servers from outside Iran to the Iranian government webs servers etc., due to the counterproductive activities of misguided innocents and of malicious agent provocateurs, who are attempting, various denial of service attacks against them.

    ESR says: I inherited that blocklist from the person who wrote the prototype, and assumed it was intended to be a measure against DOS attacks from in-country. But you may be right that it’s counterproductive. I’ll discuss this with our key people.

  64. I’m inclined to agree with WTWU. I don’t see any more risk in allowing a regime dirtbag use the proxy from a gov’t network than from a private or commercial one, and if they really want to use one of our proxies, they’ll just use a non-gov’t network, anyway. I’m opening up iran-gov on my proxy.

  65. What is the thinking behind the decision to set up access control lists to block access from Iranian government allocated IP address ranges in the NedaNet squid proxy configuration ?

    I don’t speak for ESR or NedaNet, but as a systems and network engineer, I can tell you that the reason is to keep them from getting flooded from hordes of other Internet users who likely have nothing at all to do with the situation in Iran. There are folks out there who scan the Net for open proxies and when then find them, they abuse the hell out of them. This is done for practical reasons, not necessarily to block the Iranian state, as you seem to sort-of get in your last paragraph. Open HTTP proxies can be abused for lots and lots of reasons, some of them criminal.

    As far has blocking access from University or Hospital IP netblocks, perhaps it is in everyone’s best intererest to either add those to the allowed section of the Squid configuration file, or at least add IP addresses of known public-use machines?

    Anyway, @ESR: Squid is pretty good, but have you considered also deploying Tinyproxy? Tinyproxy is nice because it has a small memory footprint (2mb per thread on a Linux/glibc machine):

    me@myhost:~$ ps aux | grep tinyproxy
    nobody 7555 0.0 0.0 2296 424 ? S Jun17 0:00 /usr/sbin/tinyproxy

    This makes it nice because you can run the thing on, say a Linksys WRT54GL or WRT54G <= v4 or an old PC. The CPU load is minimal and scales linearly with the number of simultaneous connections.

    ESR says: Deployment speed was more important than resource economy in this situation; squid wins because it’s prepackaged on essentially all Linux systems and dirt-simple to configure.

  66. Hi Eric,
    I love what you guys are doing. I want to help. I’m not the most computer-savvy person, but I’m a quick learner. What can I do? If its needed, I’d be willing to volunteer to be a public contact. I’m not worried about haji a-holes coming after me. Did 2 tours in Iraq with an airborne infantry unit. Our battalion made sure alah ran out of virgins.

    ESR says: Email me and we’ll discuss it.

  67. So what did you think of the piece? On another note, I wonder if the threat is creditable, seems like resources might be stretched thin on the current regime’s side. Beside that, divisions in the regime are already pulling it apart. Rasthanjani is making the rounds to oust Khamenei, who has just about burned his political capitol. Just keeping the lines of communication open is applying a good amount of pressure. You guys are doing a great job.

    ESR says: I still don’t know where you published. URL, please?

    And here it is.

  68. Well, Tinyproxy is prepackaged on RHEL/CentOS, Fedora, Debian and Ubuntu. That covers all the majors aside from those traitorous SuSE users ;). Seriously, the RPMs and DEBs are trivial so they will install almost anywhere. Tinyproxy is also IMHO easier to configure than squid. Why not offer configs for both?

    ESR says: OK, write up a config and setup instructions and ship it to me. We’ll evaluate.

  69. Things that bother me about what you are doing…

    Central meeting point, co-ordinated via an irc chat. Last I paid attention, freenode was no longer accepting connections via tor, which means that much information about each contributor can leak via irc command. This information is of interest by your opponents and anyone else that might be concerned by radical activities.

    Assuming your present or future opponents are not competent is not a particularly wise way to proceed.

    For both of your group and those in Iran, it would be good to document how to do p2p encrypted messaging using the otr plugin (which hasn’t been fully vetted, but seems like a good start) – see http://www.cypherpunks.ca/otr/ which works with multiple protocols (not particularly well with irc)

    It would be cool if there was some encrypted chatroom protocol, so multiple participants could interact with relative anonymity and security. I’m not aware of one that would suit (?), but something like: multiple SSL secured jabber servers, accepting connections solely over SSL, directing messages to otr’d bots which would mangle the incoming and outgoing names consistently and forward them to the chat – would be something closer to a safer cell system.

    Similarly, encouraging correspondents to use tor for web access, pgp for mail, starttls for smtp, imaps, etc might be useful unless you have reservations about using such techiques that haven’t made the literature. I note that your pgp key, published on the mit keyserver, appears to be quite old.

    ESR says: You go to war with the technical infrastructure you have, not the technical infrastructure you wish you had. Sure, we could have run a development project to build such things – but it couldn’t have shipped in time for the Iranians. If that means increased risk for some of us – well, we knew the job was dangerous when we took it.

  70. After discussion, I’ve removed the block on Iranian government sites from the squid configuration.

  71. @winstonsmith: You know…by painting these demonstrations as a revolutionary attempt to topple the regime you actually give the Iranian govt good reason to increase the pressure on the protestants. I actually appreciate what you said about freedom, as long as the protests remains ‘legal’ and ‘peaceful’.

    Any government will not tolerate vandalizing and insanity as way of protesting. In Persia we have laws like any other country. as the supreme leader Grand Ayatullah Khamenei said ‘any of the candidates should follow the legal channels to pursue their requests’

    check out the LA Times and see the pics about Iran and feel the hooliganism and overreacting. this is what I object to and not the freedom.

    @ESR: glad that you correctec those minor errors. what about changing the revolution word to green wave movement? labelling the protests as a revolution is a good way of putting them under sever pressure. We are [us and the protestants] are all Muslims and I don’t want to see them persecuted because of an arrogant ass who just sees himself and not the others.

    Indeed. that was not a death threat. I reminded you the natural consequence of raging shia muslims and the Islamic republic. This is interference in Iranian politics. If there is any problem, the people are wise enough to solve it themselves.

    By the way… when there are softwares like ‘ultrasurf’ and ‘freegate’ what’s the point of all tis?

    ESR says: I’m leaving this comment up because I want others to see what the face of evil looks like and how subtle it can be. After the unprovoked murder of Neda Soltan and the horrific massacre in Baharestan square, talk that what we are seeing is “hooliganism and overreacting” is beneath contempt, apologism worth of a Nazi or Communist. And thinly-veiled threats followed by weasel-worded non-retraction retractions are standard tactics for such apologists; their goal is to create fear without being held to account for it.

  72. >@winstonsmith: You know…by painting these demonstrations as a revolutionary attempt to topple the regime you actually give the Iranian govt good reason to increase the pressure on the protestants. I actually appreciate what you said about freedom, as long as the protests remains ‘legal’ and ‘peaceful’.

    I’m not so sure my post made it seem as if the demonstrations were “revolutionary” or making an attempt to “topple the regime.”
    Has every demonstration been violent? Not that I know of. How much of the violence is the state’s forces attacking unarmed protestors? Seems like a great deal of it is.

    Remember, the goal of something like NedaNet is to provide an outlet for those whose voices are being suppressed because they are in opposition to the current regime. I have no desire to see violence, nor do I have desire to tell people from another country what to do. However, the government is suppressing free speech, and I cannot think of a justification for any state telling its citizens what opinions are/are not acceptable and which media outlets are/are not acceptable. This needs to change. I cannot stress how little I care about what religious faith you subscribe to or what your politics are, I just believe that people have the right to have their voices heard. Surely you can agree about that?

  73. ESR says: OK, write up a config and setup instructions and ship it to me. We’ll evaluate.

    Sent via e-mail to your personal domain.

  74. >@Kave Daydar: Indeed. that was not a death threat. I reminded you the natural consequence of raging shia muslims and the Islamic republic. This is interference in Iranian politics. If there is any problem, the people are wise enough to solve it themselves.

    Are you implying that your government is not above visiting violence on foreigners in other countries who support political dissidents or are you implying that some Iranian living in America will go crazy with rage and try to take out his fury on Eric? Either way, if you’ve read much of esr’s post, you can’t possibly believe that your direct (or indirect) threat can do anything but encourage him. There are probably a whole bunch of us who comment on this blog who would gladly accept a dose of real danger if it meant we make could a difference. Threaten me that my knees will go bad in a year. That’s honestly more frightening then the thought of Ahmadinejad’s thugs will try to hunt down and punish every one that uses nadanet. Give me a break.

  75. >That’s honestly more frightening then the thought of Ahmadinejad’s thugs will try to hunt down and punish every one that uses nadanet.

    I think that part of his threat was directed at Iranian dissidents, not at the NedaNet crew.

  76. Yea, it looks like Eric was the only one he threatened directly. Too bad. Otherwise I would say, BRING IT ON! I know that is kind of juvinile to say that, but I don’t care. I wasn’t going to get involved, mostly becuase I didn’t feel like I had the technical expertise to install everything and get it working. However, now that there is a “threat” involved, I can’t resist at least trying, even if the threat is not directed at me.

  77. hi…im a university student in iran. thanks for your support please let me know how can i help u i know little about networks but i can help…i have a request: recently they blocked our sms service in iran and i was wondering is there any way to send sms to iran (in bulk) to have communication with others. because they send signals so we cant use satellite and our phones and cellphones are being listened. please inform me my causin was shot on her leg 3 days ago…we have not agood situation here please help

  78. there is another request. how can we help u to breakdown iranian regime websites from here someone sent me a web site and told me to go there and just stay but i scared to do that because recently i informed that they established a website to gather IPs and then attach their place that site is: http://fd10.150m.com/
    and i use a TOR network software (vidalia) is it safe here?!
    please answer me thanks we owe u

  79. >Are you implying that your government is not above visiting violence on foreigners in other countries who support political dissidents or are you implying that some Iranian living in America will go crazy with rage and try to take out his fury on Eric?

    Be it a Basiji, Sepahi, Ansar-e-Hezbollahi, a medical trainee, a university professor at UCLA or just a resident in your place. I’m asserting that the concept of Jihad need not be done by state-sponsored paramilitary groups. A devoted Shia Muslim, a brother/sister who may not even be an Iranian. ah, and let me tell you guys something. the self-employed jihadi I’m talking about may or may not harm Eric Freaking Raymond. Actually, our govt has not even filtered nedanet.org because your project hasn’t been so momentous yet and the majority of internet freaks frequenting on dissident news agencies and blogs don’t use your petty project’s tools. There are numerous better opportunities in store for a random guy wishing to bypass the filters (e.g ‘freegate’, ‘ultrasurf’, ‘tor’, et al). So Eric is not worth the attempt except that some devoted hacker [someone who a dumbass feeble pseudo-hacker like esr-hole may call a cracker and wish he would be one] may get the easy mission of taking down the project’s website and throw it into the dustbin of history.

    Jihad is not necessarily killing the Kaffir. You are considering a sniper or something, I know. It can merely be ‘stopping the abuser by the use of negotiation, warning, and ultimately force’. But I repeat, the target should worth the trouble. and in this case, we wait and see.

    >Has every demonstration been violent? Not that I know of. How much of the violence is the state’s forces attacking unarmed protestors? Seems like a great deal of it is.

    The bloodshed you and the happy-go-lucky boobs of cnn are talking about is merely an illusion. Of course I regretted Neda’s death. The type of bullet used to kill her wasn’t the normal one used in the basij. It means the inspectors are studying conspiracy theories associated with that incident.

    But since you asked, let me just tell you that every public gathering in Iran should be authorized by the Interior Ministry in Tehran. like any other country there are certain kinds of regularities imposed by the law. Iran is not the US of the sixties filled with bunches of dickhead scummy hippies who want just anarchy and LSD.

    The gatherings which were approved by the authority were dealt with smoothly. and take into consideration the number of basijis martyred in the so-called boisterous uproar of clueless Gucci blondes who never let their brain surpass emotions.

    >I cannot stress how little I care about what religious faith you subscribe to or what your politics are

    This is your problem, not mine. Talking on behalf of a group of people who have a completely different mindset to yours and reminding me about your cultural insensitivity? It makes no sense to me. To make a conversation with a Muslim and to meddle in their affairs at least do your homework of groking the chief beliefs. You have this ‘know your enemy’ principle, don’t you?

    >, I just believe that people have the right to have their voices heard. Surely you can agree about that?

    yes I do. You know [literally] nothing about Iran. Tehran is actually quite calm and the normal traffic is on. the situation is quite like 3 weaks ago and there’s no tumult, except some vague shouts of ‘alla-hu-akbar’ from a handful of those pathetic psychopaths at 10.5 pm that disturb the neighbors for 15 minutes and that’s all.

    We have free speech here in Iran. Newspapers related to Mousavi and Karroubi are in calculation and they [the ex-candidates] are frequently invited to TV talks to express themselves. The supreme leader ordered probe into the election results and the Guardian Council is still doing it’s best to discover possible vote fraud. You shouldn’t be spoon-fed by fox like a retard.

  80. hi mr eric…dont want to bother but why didnt u answer me? and u deleted my post why enform me

    ESR says: I have deleted no posts by you. Try reposting; I’ll watch my spam queue and approve it by hand if it gets stuck there.

  81. @ESR:

    apologism worth of a Nazi or Communist? I’ve been informed that you have had some formal education in advance level mathematics. You are even called yourself an ex-mathematician. anyhow. You may have heard the word ‘knot’ in your studies, haven’t you? Do you know what’s a ‘0,1 knot’? It’s shape is something like ‘O’. a head buried deep into a you-know-what. Don’t make us make a 0,1 knot out of you Mr. Raymond!

  82. im answering kaveh dadyar post: eric be careful i guess this person might be one of jihad members and hackers i guess. because in consider with my knowledge about iranian people this person is a clever and dangerous one and his english is really good.
    and he lies yesterday they arrested all of mousavis newspaper members and they blocked the newspaper.and about karoubi’s newspaper they dont allow them to write everything in their publishes.
    and iran tv just says a small group of riots fired some public places and it was them that killed neda dont listen to him he just lies.
    iran tv didnt allow anyone except ahmadinejad’s people to say he is right.and nobody can express anything in iran last week i was going home from protest and somewhere basijis people attacked me and brought me to police station just because i have green wrest in my hand.(sorry i have problems in english) the Guardian Council etheir 3 days ago announced that it might be 3million votes in fraud but still ahmadinejad is president u have to be here to see how they kill our people and at that time they collect their bodies to hide them and their families have to sign some paper in order to accept they dont have any problems with iranian regime and mr mousavies is the person to blame on.
    its really abvious a coup d’eta is happened in iran because in ellection they sms service failed until know , they control people by listening to their conversation in phones and net and cellphones by new Nokia Siemens devices they bought last year (2008 version)
    and even u cant wear black clothes they will arrest u in streets.
    they are just like TALEBAN group and they are their supporters i saw some pictures of HEZBOLLAH members in tehran in recent days.
    and the shouts of ALLAH-O-AKBAR is all over the city in 10 pm in nights in order to support our NEDA and our majority people who voted for mousavi but the COUP D’ETA didnt let him to lead our country.
    yesterday they cut whole of internet lines in country for 2 hours and cellphones are blocked nearly 9 hours per day.

    we are very limitted here , this guy is just a lier

    another thing my blog is:http://irankudeta88.blogspot.com/ i guest i wrote it incorrecly prevously sorry.

    ESR says: Don’t worry, I don’t think Dadyar is fooling anyone. His repeated threats and obvious lies mark him for what he is. And I find his attempts to intimidate me entertaining.

  83. The NedaNet resource page now has directions for setting up Tor relays. This will help the dissidents maintain untraceable communications.

  84. Good news. I’m told we had about 24 hours there around the Baharestan Square massacre during which our contacts in Iran went silent – I think many of us were fearing they were jailed or dead. But they’re starting to come back on the air now. The dissidents are bloodied but not broken.

  85. i used squidman and i did the right instructions : (i pasted the conf page in template tab and uncommented cache_dir line but it still errors:
    WARNING: Cannot write log file: /usr/local/squid/var/logs/cache.log
    /usr/local/squid/var/logs/cache.log: Permission denied
    messages will be sent to ‘stderr’.
    and :
    Squid failed to start (perhaps the network is down, or another copy of squid is already running.) Check the logs for possible causes.

    what i have to do??!!!

    ESR says: Sounds like a file permissions error. Launch it as root.

  86. Does squid run as the user squid? if so, does the user squid have write access to the logs and/or log directory?

    ESR: Hmmm…it does. Perhapps the person having difficulties compiled from source forgot to create the squid user. account

  87. ESR, could you convince tor@freenode to hand out access to gpg-tor a bit faster? It’s hard being on #irantech and operating a tor node.

    Despite switching to a bridged relay, and not being listed on torstatus.kgprog.com, freenode still refuses me. Seems that they cache this information for some time.

    Sent a request for an authenticated nick (http://freenode.net/irc_servers.shtml#tor) yesterday and still waiting. Can’t /join #irantech ’cause of that.

    ESR says: I have pointed the Tor project lead at this request.

  88. ESR, there are no Tor directions on the NedaNet resource page (I assume you’re referring to http://www.catb.org/esr/nedanet/).

    It’s not a cache problem on my side, as I’ve verified that I have the freshest version by HTTP GET-ting it using telnet. No mention of Tor.

    I have already set up a Tor node, but I’ve read a page somewhere (that I cannot find in my history now) that stated that the count of bridge relays and ordinary relays needs to be balanced and they had a survey to count them and specify which types are needed most.

    Do you know that page, whether it’s legitimate? Could you link to it on NedaNet resource page?

  89. Important update: We have information suggesting that the Iranian regime is now doing deep-packet inspection on all traffic, not just standard ports. This means that plain-text proxies are no longer a good idea. We’re shifting to Tor more, as traffic over it is much harder to trace. and encrypted so that deep packet inspection fails.

  90. Glad I added a Tor relay to my arsenal today. So in the context of helping people in Iran, is it more advisable to stand up a public relay, or a bridge relay? My gut told me bridge, and that’s what I’m running now, but I’m not knowledgeable enough about this stuff to know for sure.

  91. ESR:


    Despoite DAYS of informing of it the site: http://www.gerdab.ir is still one. the attack from http://warriors-attack.blogspot.com/ does not work on it !

    for information: http://www.gerdab.ir lists photos of iranian people marching in protests and asks the public to identify them and inform the authorities: http://www.gerdab.ir/fa/pages/?cid=407


    ESR says: I’d love to, but I don’t have those kinds of skillz. Others are working on it.

  92. ESR –

    Just wanted to say : Hats off to you. You are giving hope to hundreds, thousands of Iranian that are at the mercy of the iranian regime and the technology they have acquired with their petro-dollars to prevent the free flow of information.

    There is only one method to stand up to this regime. Answering force with force.

    Great job – keep up the great work.

  93. Dear Eric:

    Two things:

    (1) Hope you have some Black Talons (is that the name? AP shells, because these people may be wearing body armor, and it’s not smart (even though your buddy seems to have a different opinion) to underestimate your enemies;

    (2) Secondly (and I am not sure if this is even feasible), since the regime is claiming the demonstrators/protestors are terrorists, “hooligans” (thanks, Dadyar), tools of the CIA, and running dogs of capitalism (oops, sorry, wrong evil empire), maybe, if it’s possible, turn the screws more. For example, if the infrastructure (waterworks, gas works, traffic lights, etc.) of Tehran, Isfahan, Qum, etc. are operated/controlled by computers, do some constructive sabotage to let the “Powers-That-Be” know that they are not invulnerable… because right now they must be feeling pretty good, with their bully-boys doing their dirty work several steps removed (deniability).

    Some of the imams (the one calling for death penalties for the protestors especially) seem to think that an attack on them is an attack on God. Methinks they require an instructive lesson in humility (or the Classics Illustrated version of Icarus?).

    I know that this line of reasoning is risky to the people on the ground, and it’s easy for me to suggest. AND, it might turn the people against the protesters. However, if a national vote in the U.S. had been stolen this fragrantly and clumsily, I WOULD HOPE that the electorate would be cleaning their weapons and looking for appropriate tree limbs, while gathering sufficient ropes. AND, if done to sufficient degree, the anger of the populace might turn against the regime for not being able to provide them security and bread/circuses.

    Until the Revolutionary Guard and/or the Army is suborned and weaned away from the imams, or all the classes in Iran unite, the only way to fight back is what the Vietnamese, and the Algerians, and the Cubans (in Bastista’s time), and the Afghans (during the Soviet Occupation) did… guerrilla war. Since it seems to be apparent that the current regime has no intention of giving up any of its power to the Iranian people. God and Allah both help them.

    I have no dog in this hunt, other than to hope that when someone votes in a supposedly free election, that person’s vote is counted correctly. And I challenge Dadyar to present a rational explanation as to (a) why Mousavi was told to prepare his acceptance speech, and (2) how all the millions of paper votes were hand-counted in the time available before the results were pronounced. [If his posts are still allowed on this site.]

    Thanks for listening… I would be very interested in hearing any comments (if this makes it past your spam filter.) And, Eric, please be careful/cautious. There are some insane fanatics out there.

  94. Free people have an interest in the freedom of others, particularly the freedom of people in the Middle East. This idea is great however the members are after all computer hackers. How can one be sure that the computing power we offer this revolutionary group won’t be used by one or more of your hackers against the computing assets of the US or other western states? I initially offered the NedaNet Resource link to my network but have had second thoughts because of this uncertain threat against my own people. Its difficult to imagine what assurances could be offered while the appeal of helping an oppressed people against tyranny is a calling of the just. Convince me.

  95. Dear Eric,

    Thanks a lot for your efforts. What you do means a lot to Iranians. I know you might receive lots of threats, so I am just sending this to show our love and appreciation for what you are doing, and please do not take those threats seriously.

  96. Interestingly, a comment from someone purporting to be Kaveh Dadyar (the person whose threat I reported to the FBI) just appeared in my spam queue. The IP address was different. The unimpressive mixture of threats, weaseling, and insults was the same, but the writing style seemed different.

    I deleted it, because I think it was probably a copycat troll. Now I’m not sure I should have. Noted for the record.

  97. Brandon, I’m not sure if your comment is addressed to Eric, or to my idea re computer infrastructure sabotage. Probably Eric’s project, but I will mention that your hypothesis of danger to the West is valid.

    However, it’s my understanding that many (most? some?) programmers do add “back doors” to their programs. If true (my knowledge of the possible effects of programming is limited to fiction), then this might (should?) have a salutary effect upon any attempts to turn the hacking programs against us. Not fool-proof (and I use that term advisedly), of course.

    But I think this corollary is applicable. If someone gives a cause the weapons to fight for that cause, whether the weapons donated are clubs, muskets, or Stinger missiles, there is always the risk that those weapons might be used against the donors. Technology is non-political… it’s the motivation of both the donor and the donee that counts.

    And it’s easy to me to say, I know, but democracy is not a static nor a safe concept; it occasionally takes blood to feed the tree of liberty, since inside the human beast/breast there often lies the idea that he/she knows better than his neighbors what is right, and what should be done, and how it should be done. Witness the mullahs and imams of Islam, the Pope of Catholicism, the ministers of Protestantism, the leaders of cults throughout the world.

    And it seems that many/most people in the world are content to adopt and abide by a structure of morality and behavior handed down from above, if it isn’t too outrageous, and gives them the chance to survive and/or prosper. Witness the Germans under Hitler (at least initially).

    Now I will descend from my soapbox, and simply say…
    Take care, and be well.

  98. > However, it’s my understanding that many (most? some?) programmers do add “back doors” to their programs. If
    > true (my knowledge of the possible effects of programming is limited to fiction), then this might (should?) have a
    > salutary effect upon any attempts to turn the hacking programs against us. Not fool-proof (and I use that term
    > advisedly), of course.

    Your understanding is incorrect. As a professional programmer, the only reason i’d have to specifically add a back door to any program is because I was coding on someone elses dollar and they specifically directed me to. And i’d probably object. And i’d certainly tell people that product “XYZ” is unreliable because it has a back door. In the open source community, specifically submitting a patch that is believed to knowingly have introduced a back door into the software would probably be one of the few deadly sins. Trust and reputation are all we have and such an act would destroy both.

    If they’re using open source tools then the closest i’d expect is that those that know the code may be able to suggest avenues of attack. They would know where the security flaws in their design have been especially if the version in question has had specific problems.

  99. Eric, Know of any organization that would be willing to issue nedanet.org or nedanet.net a legitimate cert? I am thinking that if all the proxies offered up a cert for users that want to use the proxy to encrypt their traffic between them and the proxy, then one name/valid cert issued to a designated person(s), would verify at least a real site. Not sure how you would vet the proxy owners though.

  100. I need contact with others researching gerdab.ir. I think i might have smth.

    Please contact me using 617261747562656140747a6e76792e70627a (decode this using hex, then rot).

  101. squid.conf typos:

    “ys” should be “us” (line 4)
    “step 4” should be “step 5” (in 12.)
    “ruter” should be “router” (in 16.)

  102. Why don’t we take down their firewall, or make the technology usless. We should create as much bogus traffic as we can using hping. have information coming from and too random ip’s within their subnet and out. send random information with each bits so it can’t be filtered out. This way people surfing can get away with more. We will make sure they know the attack is happening. We should also run below script on as many of their government sites as possible. If anyone would like me to orcistrate this give me an email: staxjp\ \[at]\ gmail.com

    if [ “$1” != “” ]; then
    while true; do
    printf “GET / HTTP/1.0\n”|nc $1 80 &
    printf “You must enter a hostname\n”

  103. SighK, do not do this. All traffic in and out of Iran goes through a single pipe. When you do brute-force DoS like this against a server inside Iran, you damage the whole country’s internet access.

    ESR says: Correct. I warned that this was a bad idea in an earlier comment.

  104. Do you know Hadopi ?
    French ministery of censoring system specification and requirement
    Who can help them ?
    Please dont laugh !

  105. Jon, thanks for sorting me out. It was just an idea (sort of). But I am curious; would a computer attack on their infrastructure be semi-feasible, do you think? It sounds like it would have to be from inside Iran, if it was… right?

    Take care…

  106. Impressive growing number of TOR nodes in FR and DE.
    While UK DowningStreet invites Tim Bernesr-Lee as consultant for making government data accessible to UK poeple.
    FR and DE try to enforce power of censors.
    We are ready for the third WorldWide war: DE while hack FR censor system and conversely.
    Thank for your support.
    You are invited to participate to next European Carnage (Third Time) without travel overseas, just with a mouse and a keyboard.
    May be someone will develop a funny game, sure I will really buy it with a real CB.
    We allways pay for good services

  107. The FBI’s visiting me tomorrow to do a followup on the death threats. It’s clear that they’re taking the pressure against NedaNet seriously.

  108. Some NedaNet people have identified the American ISP hosting cetrain sites that the Iranian government is using to crowssource the identfication iof demonstrators in news photos. I have emailed contact persons at each explaining the situation and asking them to take those sites down.

  109. To ESR. The only poeple than can put at risk yourself is christian & evangelist located in US or anti-aborption activists. Your problem is to burn all bibles but OBAMA does not agree. The main worldwide global target is monotheism. Are you really ready ? IN USA you have the power of nuclear, in Europe we have the power to destroy Vatican, Islam and so on

  110. In addition if you are unable to vaporize scientology you are just ridiculous children. Can we have pictures of tortured scientologists ?

  111. FBI has been and gone. Very friendly visit.

    They’re not in the least concerned that NedaNet might be violating U.S. law, in fact Agent Chesson, who interviewed me looked startled when I raised the issue in order to dispel it. No; what they’re after is (a) a better handle on what’s happening in Iran, and (b) non-hostile contact with some of our gray-hat allies, not to bust them but to get better intel on what the black hats are up to.

    Agent Chesson is a former MechE who runs a Linux machine at home – told me he’d angled to be in the cybercrime unit as soon as it was formed. I was careful to check with my NedaNet contacts before giving him names, and he was cool with that.

    He was also reassuring – and frank – about the threat issue. He says they track Iranian visitors to the U.S. fairly closely and I’ve no real need to worry there, but also says they can’t exclude the possibility of sleeper cells tied to Hezbollah or some other terrorist organization. Their belief that none of those (assuming they exist) would be activated for a target as low in value as myself matches my own evaluation.

  112. Hi, I’m an Iranian-American with some technical background and would love setup a proxy on my Linux box. Can you tell me what is the benefit of setting up a proxy when tools like freegate exists? Are we just adding bandwidth and available proxy’s so tools like freegate have more servers to connect to?


    ESR says: We’re no longer recommending squid proxies, because we think the Iranians are doing deep packet inspection on all ports now. We suggest joining the Tor network.

  113. Warning to Iranians: One of our contacts on the ground says the regime is monitoring and logging all IM traffic. His exact words are: “regime do log entire IM messages, friend of mine was in charge of some websites, they had every single thing that he said over IM in last 4 years”

  114. Conversely Cathedral attitude is needed
    wikileaks is not reachable (nobody can shut down but bad admin practice can)
    Great work for end users in TOR doc (I read French part, félicitations)
    FOR ESR: TOR YES but VPN is required
    But anyway when I put shit on my own GOV in France I dont virtual condom : ILS SONT TROP CONS
    The World Wide Top of CONNASSES are in France
    You also compete but it will be very hard :))))))

  115. WikiLeaks is overloaded by global interest
    Lack of skill
    Lack of strategy
    Lack of knowledge
    Lack of think
    Dummy administration

  116. What about creating a live CD? like ubuntu live cd, ready with all configuration?

    ESR says: It’s been done. That’s what the rbox image linked on the NedaNet page is about.

  117. To admin. Destroy My message july 3rd concerning Wikileaks.
    I was wrong, in fact they where overloaded
    but security issues remain about wikileaks access
    (1) https access
    (2) authentication for child access control (eg black lists contain very bad URL)
    IWF and Wikileaks MUST be the only worldwide organisations allowed to censor
    But criminal documents must be hidden to children

  118. Maybe we could target netranges of iran government sites with fake im’s, fake emails from random addresses. Nothing to overload there networks. Just packets aimed at making there detection of real items harder. Make them read though make stuff. Less chance of someone getting cought.

    We could make this knowledge public that this is happening. So the iranians would know the information seen can’t be trusted. We could even though in some fake packets to look like proxy servers. I would say mabey as few as 100,000 packets over 24 hour period. Put fake routing information in the packets.

  119. The World Mind Network recently announced the Neda Soltan Award for Creative Solutions to the Iran Crisis. The program gives global citizens an opportunity to honor her memory by offering creative solutions to the problems that are happening in Iran. They are offering a one million Rial award (about 1000 euros, or 1100 dollars). Deadline is July 15 2009 with all entries sent to letshelpiran@gmail.com.

    Press Release:

  120. Eric, thanks for doing all this work. Would like to know more about the underlying stuff as I’m talking about this very subject with an open source group here in London. And let’s see about getting some of this stuff translated into Farsi.

  121. Word from Iran:

    The oil workers at Tabriz have gone on strike. The Army has been called in.

    The internet connection to Iran has been shut down hard. No packets are getting in or out. I think that means we were effective…

  122. Too bad that the Internet connection is shut down. I guess the Iranians could try and build their own infrastructure with wifi and optical network devices like Twibright’s Ronja.


    Maybe they Ronja devices are too easy to spot, though…

  123. Correction to previous: I misunderstood my source. Internet was only cut off in Tabriz, not the entirety of Iran, and has since been restored.

  124. Hi,

    Thanks very much for you help.

    As an Iranian, I would like to know if it is safe to use VOIP services such as Skype.

    I would appreciated any recommendations.

    ESR says: Skype voice is safe, though it may be blocked. Skype text chat isn’t.

  125. nedanet team needs to look at “gerdab.ir”. Site owned by Basijis in Tehran. Posting pictures and lists of people participating in protests. Using scare tactics and voice of Basijis.
    thanks for your help in advance.

  126. Hey, hope you’re well. couldn’t find your email so i’m writing a note here. i think it’s really cool how you guys are helping. at least we don’t feel alone in this fight. I am an expat living in canada. one of the biggest issues is getting video and pictures and articles INTO iran. stuff that the leaders announce and demonstration details and other vital info that state media has a tight control on. My question is: I want to build a social net site just for this movement and want to know if there Can there be a social net site that the Government filters could not block? youtube, facebook is being blocked so many people do not have access to these sites. please email me with any suggestions. thank you.

  127. Hello, I hope an experienced hacker can give some thoughts on this:

    I’ve read that it’s fairly easy to detect if someone is using Tor. Although the Iranian government may not be able to determine specifically what they’re using it for, the mere fact that they’re using it may be considered grounds for retaliation.

    Is this a legitimate concern? Is there anything that we can do about it? Many thanks!

  128. Dear Eric,

    First of all. YOU ARE A HERO MY FRIEND (and that goes to everyone involved with this)!
    What you are doing for the Iranian people is beyond words.
    When victory over these terrorist eventually comes you will be my personal guest in Iran. I promise you that!

    I have a question, but maybe I can´t ask you on this site. Would you mind emailing me?

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