In past blog posts, we covered how aggressive Egypt is getting with censorship. So far, they’ve blocked some of the biggest websites like AlJazeera.net, TorProject.org, and Qatar TV, and they’ve even blocked VPNs in the process.
Now, however, it looks like Egypt has gone full throttle and starting blocking VPNs at the source, by restricting the OpenVPN protocol in the region.
The good news is that reports are coming in from our Egyptian users and we can confirm that TorGuard’s OpenConnect and OpenVPN Stealth options are still 100% working within Egypt.
A user by the name of MRizkBV, explains that “Yesterday all of a sudden OpenVPN protocol stopped working on all ISPs in Egypt. It doesn’t matter whether you are using UDP or TCP. Nothing works.”
In the comments, a user suggests that a possible option could be wrapping OpenVPN in a SSL tunnel–which is what TorGuard does with our Stealth VPN and Stealth Proxy feature.
While this could be an effective move in Egypt to limit users in the region from accessing censored content and unblocked media, the move is entirely too aggressive. Businesses in Egypt rely on OpenVPN encryption to protect sensitive information, and this shotgun approach is sure to have various repercussions.
The same user on Reddit drawing attention to problems with his connection also explains that he “actually know someone’s who handles the business sector in the largest ISP here.”
This high profile person told the Reddit user “he got tens of complaints from businesses, and high profile investors in Egypt today complaining and all he did was redirect them to submit a complaint at the Ministry of Investment.”
While we can’t confirm the Reddit user’s friend or relationship, this doesn’t surprise us. Egypt has been super aggressive against VPNs in the past, and we’re seeing more and more anti-encryption policies spring up this year than ever before. But that’s why we’ve created Stealth VPN options for users in Egypt and other countries where VPN censorship is common.