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Change IP Address to Russia Using a Proxy

Ever wanted to change your virtual location when browsing the web?  Perhaps for security reasons, or just to access some content that is restricted in your location.  Your IP address is effectively your virtual location when you’re online, so a UK IP address will get you access to any online UK content like the BBC but you’ll be blocked from other countries.

Would anyone ever want the option to change IP Address to Russia though?  After all are there a host of Russian only movie sites that blow Hulu out of the water, or perhaps a news channel that gives the BBC a run for it’s money?

Change IP Address to Russia

Well in truth probably not, but there actually quite a few reasons for switching to a Russian IP address range.  One of the important ones is privacy, if you want to keep your data safe from prying eyes then routing it through a Russian proxy server is a serious option.   Tracking down someones location and getting access to their server logs can be quite a trivial action in western democracies however accessing them in Russia is usually considerably more difficult.

However that is not to say that it’s a smart idea to piggy back on some free Russian proxy server you find listed on the web.  There are a lot of them for sure, however there is a reason why you should avoid them like the plague.  Because of it’s general inaccessibility to Western authorities, Russia is also home to a significant number of the internet’s cyber criminals, spammers, hackers and identity thieves.  There are a lot of very clever Russian hackers who make huge profits from internet based crimes.

One of the easiest ways to steal from people online is to use their greed against them.  Set up a free proxy and let it filter into the proxy lists, then wait for people to start funneling their connections through these servers.  All one needs to do is log all the traffic and filter out email accounts, usernames and passwords to build up an easy hit list waiting to target. Whether it’s theft,  spamming or in some cases blackmail, trusting the owner of an free Russian proxy with your internet data is truly a very stupid thing to do.

However using a well run, trusted commercial proxy or VPN server based in Russia is actually a highly secure options.  The minimal laws regarding data retention and access, keep data safe and of course pretty inaccessible, if the server’s owner ensures that logs and data are not stored it makes it a highly secure option for surfing under the radar.  There’s no surprise that they are in demand, in fact having access to a Russian IP VPN is increasingly common for privacy concerned surfers.

The lack of regulation in Russia can be an issue though and you should make sure you choose a company you can trust for the best Russian VPN.   Unfortunately the best Russian proxy sites are all run by commercial companies, you can really trust the the free proxy server sites with sensitive data.

Lots of people use these, but remember that you may find when you change IP address to Russian one, it can be a bit of a nuisance in some cases.  When you browse with Russian IP address you may increase your anonymity but at the cost of some functionality.  Many service providers routinely block Russian IP ranges simply because of the criminal and spam threat that comes from these.  My own servers are frequently targeted through Russian IP addresses and I have blocked many ranges myself.  Most are from servers used by email spammers and hackers but there’s a possibility that a few legitimate Russian VPN server are included too.

 

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Hack Attack From Thailand

My server (it’s not the one this site is stored on by the way!) has been very, very busy this week being attacked by bots and crazed hackers from all over the world. One of the most persistent was from a Thailand IP address, the address was allocated from a Thai ISP and the reverse DNS is node-or5.pool-1-10.dynamic.totbb.net. The ISP responsible for this naughty Thai attacker is TOT Public Company Limited who are based in Bangkok.

It’s target was the EXIM service which is a message transfer agent, so our friend was looking for ways for relaying his Spam messages I would guess. I have the latest version of Exim which I think is 4.85, there were some security problems with earlier versions so make sure you’re up to date. At the very least make sure you’re running version 4.

bangkok-175745_640
Nice Picture of Bangkok

The attack was automated and pretty dumb – consistently attacking the same service with the same username.   Obviously this triggered an automatic IP address ban and it’s been added to CPhulk brute force protection.  This is a service (available and configurable through WHM) which is designed to block Brute force attacks from troublesome IP addresses.   This basically maintains two lists regarding logins to the server – a black list and a whitelist.  When you add an IP address to the blacklist it won’t be able to ever logon to that server at all.  This covers every service so it’s useful to automated penetration or hacking tools which try to brute force every service in turn.  You have to be careful using it though as it’s perfectly possible to blacklist your own address, which I nearly did when I had a British IP address enabled through a VON which I didn;t recognise.

 

 

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How to get a British IP Address

It’s hard to believe, but many of the world’s biggest web sites actively discriminate between people depending on their location. Of course, it’s not called discrimination, they use fancy terms like geo-targeting or geo location instead.  The reality is that accessing the internet from Africa, is very different than that if you’re based in the UK from a British IP address.

It really is a form of discrimination. Ever tried to watch the BBC News from Spain online, or buy from a store in Canada using the internet because it’s half the price? If you have there’s a chance you’ll be blocked, because of where you happen to be.

British IP Address

It’s getting worse every year, more and more sites will look at your location and either restrict or block access. We’re not talking about a few, but thousands of the biggest sites on the web. So much so that every time I travel away from the UK, I’m thinking how I can get a UK address to  watch my favorite shows, access my online banking and stream from the many UK only sites.

How to get a British IP Address

Well here’s one solution – use a British proxy.

This method allows you to change your IP address when you need to, which effectively gives you control of what you see and not the web sites you visit. It’s basically very simple instead of connecting directly with a website you merely route your connection through a server which relays your request called a proxy or VPN server.

In the example illustrated here, the software allows you to choose which server to relay your connection through so you can effectively choose your virtual location. So if you’re wanting to watch something on a British media site like the BBC, ITV or Channel 4 you just pick a UK based server. Then when you connect to the web site it will see a British IP address irrespective or where you are.

Then if you need another country, simply click on the location you need. So if you want to watch Hulu or HBO then choose a US server and everything will work.   It’s important to remember that you’re not actually changing your IP address, just relaying through an intermediate server.    The best of the VPN services like Identity Cloaker will have a large selection of UK IP address list all assigned to different servers distributed throughout the UK.

This large number of servers is important because it enables a large UK IP address range list.   Although purely for security reasons this is not essential, but for connecting to media sites like the BBC  it is important.   The VPN connection is not detectable directly, however in order to restrict these connections they look for multiple concurrent connections on the same IP addresses.  If you have a thousand connections originating for  a specific British IP address then it will be blocked.

There are many companies selling user configurable VPNs, proxies and other methods for getting access to UK TV online. But if you just want a simple, reliable and straight forward way to watch BBC Iplayer, ITV and Channel 4 from anywhere in the world then Identity Cloaker is the software you need.

Try the 10 day trial to see how it works.

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How to Get an American IP Address

Do you remember the early days of the internet?  Sure it was sometimes difficult to navigate and often you’d find yourself on weird websites, but it was very unlikely you’d ever get blocked or redirected while you surfed.  However those times have changed and now your surfing is increasingly controlled not by you but the websites you visit and the search engines you use.

Ever tried to order from the French site of Amazon to buy something cheaper, watch ‘The Simpsons’ on Hulu or perhaps access the American version of Netflix because they’ve got loads more films than the UK or Canadian version? It’s not so simple anymore, you’ll find yourself blocked at every turn and redirected to the version that the site want’s you to visit.

how to get an American IP Address
No US IP Address = No Hulu

If you travel abroad it will get even more annoying, because you’ll find yourself getting blocked from sites or services that you normally use at home simply because of your location.  Many people even find themselves unable to access their online banking because they happen to be in a different country!  It’s getting pretty bad, and it’s only going to get worse as the best web sites try and maximize their profits and limit broadcasting rights.

Here’s a very small selection of sites which currently restrict access based on location –

  • BBC iPlayer
  • Hulu
  • ABC
  • NBC
  • Netflix
  • HBO GO
  • Amazon Prime
  • Spotify
  • Al Jazeera
  • Pandora

There’s literally thousands more, and worse they tend to be the very best sites particularly if you’re looking for movies, TV, music and video.

How to Get an American IP Address

Each one looks up your location based on your IP address when you connect initially, they then decide whether you can access or not.  Fortunately there is a solution, it is possible to fool these sites and hide your real location.   Although it is not actually possible to change your real IP address (apart from your local internal address which doesn’t matter anyway), it is possible to hide it and present a different IP address instead.

It is done by routing your connection through a server based in the country you need, these are commonly called proxy or VPN servers.   So if you want to access a US site from outside the USA, you could connect via a US based server to give you an American IP address.

The video demonstrates how you can switch locations at will, simply by clicking on the appropriate country, hey you can even have a Russian IP address if you want.  Remember your real IP address isn’t really changing,that is assigned by the device your connecting through – it’s merely being hidden from the web site you’re visiting. This also has additional benefits, such as keeping your connection and privacy secure when you’re online. People all over the world now routinely use these programs to bypass all sorts of blocks and filters.

It is possible to access some of the blocked sites by using free proxy servers that you can find online, however these should be used with some caution. Many are hacked or compromised servers which have been left open accidentally, whilst others install adware on your computer to cover the costs.

Update 2018:

It’s mentioned above that all you need is learn how to get an American IP address in order to access the US version on Netflix.  Unfortunately in 2018 that’s simply not enough as the media giant has put in some filters that will block most simple US IP address VPN services.   It’s still possible to access the US but you’ll need a service that supports US IP address but also ones that are classified as residential too.  Most VPNs use IP address ranges assigned to datacentres which are classified as commercial and won’t work any longer with Netflix.

So if you want to learn how to access the US version from anywhere (and it’s well worth it) then read the following post – How to Change IP address to USA for Netflix.

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Who’s Tried to Hack Me Today – South Korea

Quiet day today for hackers throughout the net who are desperate to get onto to my poor little web server.  Nothing as interesting as Laos unfortunately but  I’ve been having repeated attacks today from a single IP address in South Korea – 175.205.213.68, who have been targeting me today.

The IP address is registered with Korea Telecom who’s headquarters I think are in Seoul.

koreantelecom

Incidentally, if you’re interested in North Korea and the lives people lead there, I can thoroughly recommend this book by Blaine Harden, a Newspaper reporter – Escape from Camp 14: One man’s remarkable odyssey from North Korea to freedom in the West.   IT tells the tale of a North Korean who escaped from a prisoner camp in North Korea, it’s incredible stuff.

Anyway hopefully he hasn’t become a computer hacker based out of Seoul, but there are plenty of them there. My firewall logs are filled with these messages all directed at my server, from the South Korean IP address

*UDP_IN Blocked*
*TCP_IN Blocked*

This is not an actual hack attempt, but what’s called Port Scanning. Basically using tools (or by hand if you’re hard core!) you scan the target computer looking for options to attack. So the scanner will look for things like an FTP server running on port 21, or perhaps for the existent of a vulnerable server like Telnet which actually passes logon credentials in clear text. It could be thousands of other things though, some commercial scanners will look for all sorts of opportunities from an Operating System which is not patched properly or some vulnerable service.

It’s quite an amateur attempt immediately picked up by my firewall and IDS system, although to be fair he hasn’t triggered an automatic permanent block on my firewall, just temporary bans. The best scanners work very slowly, checking each port and service slowly so not to trigger defenses. Anyway doesn’t matter much to me, as I’m going to block him manually. Bye 175.205.213.68.

Posted – 24-10-14

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Who’s Tried to Hack Me Today – LAOS

Well it’s an interesting set of IP addresses in my logs today, so here’s the most interesting one..  Remember though, the majority of these IP addresses will be allocated automatically through ISPs and as such will change frequently, so don’t go and try and hack them back!  In fact it’s just as likely that the originator of the attack could very well be in a completely different country anyway using the address as a proxy or similar.

We start off with the IP address – 202.137.147.107 which is assigned by the Lao Telecom Company – here they are –

laotelecom

They are based in the country of Laos, which a country in South East Asia officially known as Lao People’s Democratic Republic.  It is a land locked country right next to Burma, Thailand and China.  Appears to be very poor place, with a third of the people there living under the International poverty line.

Map of Laos

What were they trying to do, to my poor besieged web server?  Well they were trying to brute force their way into my mail server, which suggests that they were spammers wanting to flood their emails through my system.

The address is now blocked from my system, but I learnt a little about a country I wasn’t too familiar with!!  They’re looks like there are some stunning temples and ruins there, definitely worth a visit.

 

laos_buddha_statue
Laos Buddha Statue

This page is getting a lot of visits from people looking for information on Laos, so I thought I add a link to the Laos Tourism Information Site.  Really want to go there now, perhaps I can go and catch my hacker!    I should add that the same attacker targeted several of my servers, but seemed to have distinct preference for US based ones, I’m guess he’s read some tutorial about how to get an American IP address, perhaps in order to get a HBO or Hulu account.

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What’s a Proxy Server?

When I first started working in IT a few decades ago, a proxy server was known as an application gateway.  That definition still is fairly accurate in some contexts, but in the world of the internet it sounds a little dated.   In technical terms a proxy server is an application that sits between and mediates traffic between two or more network segments.

The proxy is a middle man, it sits between source and destination systems, in fact it ensures both never actually directly communicate with each other.    In this description your computer/laptop/smartphone is the source system requesting information from the web servers which are the destination systems.

proxy-server

The concept is easier to understand from the above illustration which shows how a proxy sits in between various computers and their destinations, receiving and forwarding data as required.    It’s important to know that a proxy doesn’t actually intelligently route information – it simply forwards it, there are no decisions on routing made at all other than a basic send and receive.  One of the best analogies of a proxy is to think of a discussion between two people speaking through an interpreter. All communication passes through  the interpreter, their job is to pass data back towards the two people in a format they can both understand.

The language analogy is particularly apt because in some senses the proxy is speaking to completely different systems.  For example the computers might be running different versions of windows, Linux or OSx and the web servers will likely be based on Unix, Linux or Windows server systems – the proxy must communicate and forward data between all these different systems.

So why are proxies so important and widely used now?

Well for the ordinary web surfer there are several distinct properties of proxies that make them incredibly useful – here’s the main ones:

Proxies Hide Your Identity

If a proxy server is properly configured, which is not necessarily the case, then both the sending and receiving computers will have actually no knowledge of each other.   In fact if set up completely securely then the web server will be completely unaware of the existence of the proxy.  In any case, the web site will have no record of the client PC,  it also isolates the computer from any potential security problems such as viruses or malware.

Proxies Also Hide Your IP Address

All over the internet, there are many thousands of sites which restrict access based on your physical location.  This is determined by where your IP address is registered.  Unfortunately many of these sites are the biggest and most popular on the internet – sites like the BBC iPlayer, ITV player, Netflix, Hulu, HBO and NBC to name but a few.  Add to these thousands of forums and social media sites like YouTube, your address can end up restricting you greatly depending on your location.  Using a proxy can solve all this, because the site doesn’t see your address but merely the proxy’s IP address. People use proxies to watch the BBC online from outside the UK, or to watch Hulu beyond the US.

Many services are now available to access these sites, in fact a whole industry has arisen.  Most even have the facility for addresses from smaller countries – fancy watching the hurling on RTE, just pick one that provides an Ireland IP address.

Bypassing Filters

There are many countries in the world, where the internet is heavily censored – in some countries many thousands of sites are inaccessible.  Places like China, Iran and Thailand block access to many sites determined by their leaders.  Even places like Turkey have been known to block popular social sites like Twitter and Facebook from being accessed.

There are a variety of ways that these filters are enforced but most involving blocking access to the web sites or their specific IP addresses. However when you use a proxy as we have learnt you don’t request direct access to the web server, it goes through the proxy server first.  Which means as long as your proxy address isn’t blocked the site will still be accessible.  It is why hundreds of thousands of people use proxies in places like China to access web sites that are normally blocked.  Although if you are concerned about your privacy, using a VPN server which is provides an encrypted tunnel is probably safer.

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What is a VPN Server

Throughout the world of networking technologies, there is a lot of confusion about different terms and a VPN is one of those definitions. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, which is actually quite a wide definition. The main reason for the confusion though is that the technology has developed over the years, so that today’s VPN is very different from the definition used 20 years ago.

For clarity a VPN was traditionally defined as a private network usually provided by a private service to carry voice and data. The more recent definition though has largely superseded this and it is now used commonly to describe a private, encrypted tunnel through the internet, an Internet VPN if you like and this is the definition we will focus on in this post.

What is a VPN used for ?

Well primarily security, a VPN provides a secure way to move packets of data across the internet. This data could be your web browsing, an email you sent, a post to your favorite forum – pretty much anything that leaves your tablet, desktop or PC. The vast majority of this data is normally sent in what’s known as ‘clear text’ meaning that the majority is readable by anyone between you and the recipient. This causes huge concerns obviously, especially if you’re sending passwords, usernames or other pieces of sensitive data. Some security has been bolted on to websites – by using the technology called HTTPS, the secure version of the common web protocol – HTTP. However this is largely only implemented in specific situations like logging on to secure web sites, for the vast majority of the time everything we do online is readable by anyone in between.

So the VPN supplies a method to protect all your data, not simply when you log on to something like a secure banking site. It actually creates a secure tunnel by taking all your data, encrypting it and then packaging (encapsulating in Geek talk!) it into new packets to be distributed securely using a VPN server.

using a VPN

 

Here’s a simple illustration, which demonstrates how your data is pushed down an encrypted tunnel across the internet.

Practical Uses of a VPN

  • A VPN effectively changes your IP address by masking your real address, any web site or intermediary will only see the location and address of the VPN provider.
  • VPN ensures that there is not a complete log of all your online activity at your ISP.  Normally everything you do online is logged here, but a VPN means it’s all encrypted.
  • You can hide your location with a VPN to access web sites that are normally restricted to specific locations.  You do need to ensure that the VPN server you connect to is in that location – so to watch the BBC online you’d need a UK based VPN server.
  • To circumvent internet filters and blocks instigated by countries like China, Turkey and even Australia

Ultimately a VPN provides privacy and security that simply doesn’t exist in the online world.  Initially it was primarily used by companies and Governments to ensure that all there communication was kept secure.  However now millions of private individuals use them or proxy servers routinely whether to watch Dr Who from the US or to bypass the Chinese filters on thousands of web sites.  Want to use Facebook or Twitter in Iran, try using a VPN.

This video is worth watching for a brief introduction of how to use VPN Tunnel software

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