Iran recently blocked PPTP and L2TP VPN Protocols and In a another recent declaration, the Telecommunications Minister of Iran, Reza Taghipour has deemed the use of VPNs and anti-filtering tools as illegal. Such an announcement has not been greeted by any surprise from Iranians as the country has a history of censorship on anything it finds to be threatening to the interest of the nation. So far it has blocked millions of blogs, websites and forums that it suspects to have furnished immoral content, which is detrimental to Islam or to the government.
Of late, the citizens there used to seek the assistance of VPNs, along with several other filter bypassing tools to challenge such internet censorship. However, with the declaration of use of all such tools as criminal, Iranians are left with no substantial option. Amidst such darkness, SSH could be cited as the much coveted respite.
SSH-Really an alternate to Iran VPN?
SSH Tunnel (Secure Shell) provides a secure communication for the transfer of digital data through a non-secure network, like internet. Though, both the Iran VPN and SSH serve similar purpose, i.e. to make way for secure communication between remote locations, still there are difference in their mode of operation, such as:
- Same as Iran VPN, a SSH network is hard to be detected by any third party
- While Iran VPN is used to connect networks, SSH is best suited to log into a remote system or individual host.
- VPN works at transport layer where as SSH works at application layer. This simply means that a VPN encrypts all the communication on the end points of a network whether required or not. SSH, on the other hand works on a definite port (port 22) and offers end-to-end solution that encrypts only a terminal session from the host computer to the other computer with which it is SSH’d.
- Considering the TCP/IP stack, the VPN operates at a lower level (network level) and hence can be used to secure the entire network traffic. SSH is different as it functions at the port level and hence is the best to secure individual connections.
- Since a VPN encrypts the entire traffic irrespective of the demand, it may lead to bottlenecks, as useless data encryption would do nothing good except enhancing the network overhead. SSH is a welcome improvement over such a feature since it encrypts only the selected applications for a stipulated duration of a session.
Considering all these points, it won’t be any tough decision to use SSH as a suitable replacement and access the sites while being in Iran. To add to its benefits, so far, there has been hardly any mode devised that could keep a check on the users that are connected to the internet with its help. Though, occasional cases have been observed where SSH encrypted connections are throttled to make them dead slow, still it is yet to be blocked completely like the other filtering tools.
Best SSH Tunnel
To use SSH for bypassing filtering, you will have to opt for paid services of certain VPN providers. At present, only few vendors are offering its services such as IAPS VPN and TuVPN since most of the users prefer to use VPN. However, considering the increasing level of censorship that has not spared even the VPNs, as in Iran, the day for an uncontrollable demand of SSH is not far away.
How to pay?
As far as payment is concerned, it would be better for the users to ask any of their friends located in US, UK or in any other location outside Iran to make the payment. This is because a bulk of VPN providers and payment processors cease to accept payments from Iran since it is a US sanctioned country.
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