On Monday, the Internal Security Agency blocked the website poufnarozmowa.com, which regularly publishes the content of e-mails that were supposed to leak from Michał Dworczyk’s private mailbox a year ago. The news is reportedly shared by the leading politicians of the ruling camp, headed by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
However, information quickly appeared on the web that bypassing the blockade is a piece of cake and the average Internet user will only take a moment to gain access to the website. Is it really? We explain how the Internal Security Agency blocked an uncomfortable website and whether it was actually so easy to get around.
The Internal Security Agency did not block the website, but ordered it to be blocked
The Internal Security Agency explains that the blockade on the website publishing politicians’ e-mails was imposed on the basis of Art. 180 sec. 1 of the telecommunications law, which allows for the imposition of a blockade when a website may “pose a threat to the defense, security of the state as well as public safety and order”.
The same article also reveals that the Internal Security Agency simply ordered Polish telecommunications operators to block the connection to the website. “A telecommunications undertaking is obliged to immediately block telecommunications connections or information transfers, at the request of authorized entities …” – we read.
It is therefore irrelevant whether we use mobile internet or optical fiber, smartphone or computer, and whether we connect to the network via Wi-Fi, LTE or 5G. The site for most (or all) Polish operators should be blocked. And it really is. Attempting to enter poufnarozmowa.com from a telephone and computer (we checked in Plus, Orange and UPC networks) gives the expected effect – on the screen we see the information: “This site is unavailable”.
Confidential call blocked by the Internal Security Agency photo: screenshot
The technical details of the blockade are revealed by the industry service. As he explains, the blockade was imposed at the level of operators’ DNS servers, i.e. a system that “translates” the verbal address of a website to the appropriate IP address. Only this allows us to connect to the servers on which the website is located.
For example, in the case of gazeta.pl it is 22.214.171.124. By entering these numbers in the address bar, we will go to the main page of Gazeta.pl. For the website poufnarozmowa.com the IP address is not found (due to a blockade), which can be easily checked from the command line on the computer.
The Internal Security Agency blocked a website with stolen e-mails photo: screenshot
How to bypass the government blockade? One Google password is enough
The problem is that such a blockade is ineffective and the average Internet user – as long as he knows how – will display the page in half a minute. Anyway, he has at least several ways to do this. What’s more, the blockade does not work if we use the Internet outside Poland.
Being in the country, however, we have at least two very simple (and legal) methods to display an uncomfortable website. The first is to use any online proxy that is plentiful on the web. A proxy is an intermediary server in contact with the website.
The efforts are basically limited to entering one password in Google. The whole operation of “bypassing the blockade” took about 20 seconds. You just need to make sure that the proxy is outside of Poland.
The Internal Security Agency has imposed a blockade that can be bypassed in half a minute photo: screenshot from hide.me
The second is to use a VPN, which is something like a virtual “tunnel” that hides us from other network users (including our internet provider). It is enough to install even a free VPN (e.g. as a separate application or browser plug-in) and connect via any server outside Poland. Many people use the Internet in this way on a daily basis.
Of course, there are more methods, but the others require a bit of technological knowledge or are a bit more difficult. What is surprising, however, is that the Internal Security Agency decided to block the site that clearly (or at least this is suggested by Article 180 quoted at the beginning) “a threat to defense, state security and public safety and order” in a way that the average Internet user can circumvent. And that with just a few clicks.