Your iOS Astrill VPN won't work for a few days and here's why

By Betty Richardson, August 26, 2015

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Tough luck Instagrammers, you're in for a fun few days of fruitlessly trying to connect to VPN servers on your mobile device, thanks to extra tough crackdowns during the run-up to Beijing's forthcoming military parade

According to Astrill, who issued an alert to iOS users of the popular VPN (Virtual Private Network) app, Internet regulators are "cracking down on IPSec VPNs using the GFW (Great Firewall) auto-learning technique."

Unfortunately, this outage of service is likely to continue until the parade finishes on September 3. Until then, expect it to be more difficult – at times impossible – to connect to your VPN service if you're an iPhone user. Hopefully, Astrill will continue to work on desktops and Android phones.

So just what "<a href="http://www.thatsmags.com/china/post/9731/getting-redirected-to-wpkgorg-heres-how-to-fix-it" target="_self" textvalue="techniques" does the GFW use to block VPN connection in China">techniques" does the GFW use to block VPN connection in China? According to Astrill's website, in response to increased control over VPN use in China, the GFW has been updated so it can 'detect and block VPN protocols in real-time and automatically,' meaning that all standard protocols the app formerly relied upon are blocked.

According to Astrill, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) use "DPI (deep packet inspection) to detect IP addresses running VPN protocols." It then apparently "takes them a few hours or in best case 1 day to block these IPs," which might explain the need for users of the app and program to switch between servers before finding a successful connection. 

Yes, it seems we are being taken back to the dark days of January this year, when China announced an "upgrade for cyberspace sovereignty," and those behind the Great Firewall were forced to use Bing for weeks on end.

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