Why DDoS Is a Bad Idea For Iran

In the days since the elections in Iran, protests have been widespread.  The opposition has been united against the Government of Iran for its fraudulant handling of the elections.  One of the ways in which the government of Ahmedinejad is attempting to quash the resistance movement is by restricting their ability to pass information back and forth amongst themselves as well as out of the country to the rest of the world.  The government killed cell service and SMS networks until they realized they could track dissidents using this technology.  They’re blocking sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube so that information can’t be easily shared.

Sources around the world are trying to turn the tables on the government of Iran by interfering with the technologies that allow them to hunt protestors.  One of the methods being used is referred to as a DDoS attack. DDoS is Distributed Denial of Service.  Scripts and other means are employed to drive so much bogus traffic (usually just millions of random page requests) into their networks, that they actually cause the networks to fail because of the saturation.

DDoS Attack Diagram

This technique works, but it tends to degrade the entire system, hurting the resistance as well.  The Iranian government has so effectively throttled all Internet communications, that it’s very difficult for the protestors to have enough bandwidth to transmit news to the outside world.  Those who engage in DDoS attacks are crippling what little bandwidth is left, thus hurting our cause. A friend posted a very well-written blog post about some of the specific reasons that DDoS dosn’t help our cause. Quite the contrary, it hurts us.  The article is called “DDoS attacks against targets inside Iran damage the opposition.”

Someone in Europe innocently created an auto-pagereboot script so that he could watch sports scores without having to refresh manually. Others learned of this and began using this for the same purpose.  This is a form of DDoS and, again, it hurts the opposition as much as the government and should NOT be used.

Anyone who really wants to help the Iranian opposition should consider setting up a Tor relay or bridge.  These are effective ways of allowing opposition folks get the message out without fear of being tracked.  If you’re interested and aren’t sure how to do it, follow the link below for the program and instructions on how to use it.

http://anonygreen.wordpress.com/2009/06/18/how-to-setup-a-tor-relay-or-tor-bridge/

If you set up a relay, you’re essentially making the entire Tor network more robust and difficult to track or break.  Once set up, there’s nothing more you need to do.  If you set up a bridge, you’re essentially creating an entrance point to the network for resistence people.  Once your bridge is set up, you’ll have to share the IP address and bridge address with the people who will use it.  If you’re not sure where to send this information, please contact me and I can get your information into the hands of those who need it.

Please, help us be a positive force in this movement and not inadvertently shoot ourselves in the foot.

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