Follow Us

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

Pakistan ISPs told to block VPNs used by militants

Clampdown on proxy services

Article comments

Pakistan’s notoriously censorious telecoms authority has reportedly asked the country’s ISPs to block commercial VPN connections as a way of stopping militants from communicating in secret.

According to a memo sent by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to an ISP that leaked it to journalists, said that a previous directive to block “Encrypted Virtual Private Networks” was not being enforced.

“In line with Regulations 2010 and national security, Authority prohibited usage of all such mechanisms including encrypted virtual private networks (EVPNs) which conceal communication to the extent that prohibits monitoring,” said the communication.

“It is observed that the aforementioned directive has not been followed in true letter and spirit as EVPNs are heavily being used on the Licensees Network,” it continued.

Some commentators have taken this as a blanket ban on VPNs, but it is more likely aimed at proxy services that allow encrypted connections to be set up in a way that hides the IP address of the two ends of a link.  These can fairly straightforwardly be blocked using domain filtering at ISP level although such an action is indiscriminate.

Informal VPNs – those between two or more PCs – can’t easily be detected let alone blocked without somehow looking for the ports opened by specific programs, an almost needle-in-a-haystack job. The packets themselves offer no clues as they are encrypted.

There are also encrypted services such as Skype that use local PCs as supernodes and can’t be blocked at ISP level.

The PTA has an established history of trying to block websites that infringe its sometimes opaque rules on content. YouTube, Facebook and Rolling Stone magazine have all fallen foul of this regime.  


More from Techworld

More relevant IT news


Khizar said: Hey Talibans kidnap all workers of PTA and punish them your own way because they do not know that you people are using much high technology even they have not heard its name

Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:

PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.

Techworld White Papers

Choose – and Choose Wisely – the Right MSP for Your SMB

End users need a technology partner that provides transparency, enables productivity, delivers...

Download Whitepaper

10 Effective Habits of Indispensable IT Departments

It’s no secret that responsibilities are growing while budgets continue to shrink. Download this...

Download Whitepaper

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving

Enterprise information archiving is contributing to organisational needs for e-discovery and...

Download Whitepaper

Advancing the state of virtualised backups

Dell Software’s vRanger is a veteran of the virtualisation specific backup market. It was the...

Download Whitepaper

Techworld UK - Technology - Business

Innovation, productivity, agility and profit

Watch this on demand webinar which explores IT innovation, managed print services and business agility.

Techworld Mobile Site

Access Techworld's content on the move

Get the latest news, product reviews and downloads on your mobile device with Techworld's mobile site.

Find out more...

From Wow to How : Making mobile and cloud work for you

On demand Biztech Briefing - Learn how to effectively deliver mobile work styles and cloud services together.

Watch now...

Site Map

* *