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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

SOPA Opponents Created Emergency IP Lists

Legislation known as SOPA is getting closer and closer towards final passage, which makes a lot of users very nervous. Today it looks like a very predictable development is taking place – Internet users are generating the lists of IP addresses to bypass DNS filtering.

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The expectations are that DNS censorship could soon become a reality in the United States. If a company or government entity decides to make an online service disappear, it would be just the one complaint away from reality. From the very start, experts saw groups sending IP lists over networks like IRC in order to make sure that the web remains relatively unfiltered. Today the concept of sharing unfiltered domain names became a reality.

A lot of users seeing the list in question might not necessarily know what to do with the addresses. That’s why people also publish different guides on how to maintain a HOSTS file, attaching screenshots. Such instructions show what to do with an IP address you get from the list. If you are looking for an IP address to a site not found in the emergency SOPA list, you can obtain it by different ways. First of all, you are able to obtain the IP address of your favorite site via web hosting instruments or even using command prompt. Best of all is if you obtain the IP address before the domain is filtered.

In fact, many industry observers believe that this would become a new norm after SOPA passes. However, there is a problem with this way – the matter is that you are putting your Internet security in the hands of people generating those lists of IP addresses. For example, if one of the users were to add an IP address to the list in question which actually points to a malicious site instead of the real online service, then the troubles start for other users. That’s something that should be manually fixed on the end-users part. Another solution is to remove the entry entirely. In fact, that’s the part that makes a lot of insecurity experts freak out over this suggested bill – because it would make the web less secure. Indeed, if the government wasn’t considering DNS filtering in the SOPA legislation at all and left the automatic DNS system alone, this issue wouldn’t be causing security problems in the first place. However, the authorities seem to pay little attention to such issues.

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