Iran blocks Internet access

Iran blocks Internet access

Summary: But cyber-sophisticated Iranians are still able to circumvent the government by using proxy servers over VPN connections.


Iran has cut off access to the Internet, leaving millions of people without access to email and social networks.

A source inside the country confirmed this morning that Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo email are no longer available. Ditto for Facebook. So far, the government has not made any announcement about the service interruption.

But cyber-sophisticated Iranians are still able to circumvent the government by using proxy servers over VPN connections.

"The interesting thing is that when asked, they deny the fact that all these services are all blocked," an Iranian contacted by CNET said. This individual asked to remain unidentified.

However, the Iranian noted that the regime has cut off the Internet during protests and that the buzz on the streets is that anti-government protests are planned for Saturday.

Last month the country's information minister told the Islamic Republic News Agency that a firewalled national Internet would soon become operational. There was no word on when the government might plan to throw the switch on what essentially would be a vast "intranet," but it could happen any day. And that prospect has cyber activists in Iran concerned. It would give the government a hand up in its cyber cat-and-mouse battle with opponents.

Right now, if Iran now blocks proxy servers and VPN connections for more than a few days, companies with branches or headquarters in the country are cut off from communicating with fellow employees around the world other than by telephone. That forces the government to open the spigot for everyone. Once the new network goes into effect, ordinary Iranians would wake up to a more censored Internet.

"I don't know the the infrastructure that they will use but I don't think we have a way out of that one," said the Iranian source. "We are getting closer and closer to North Korea."

This article was originally posted on CNET News as Iran cuts off Internet access

About Charles Cooper
Charles Cooper is an executive editor at CNET News. He has covered technology and business for more than 25 years, working at, the Associated Press, Computer & Software News, Computer Shopper, PC Week, and ZDNet.

Topics: Social Enterprise, Browser, Google, Microsoft

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Iran blocks Internet access

    Damn, so much for
    • RE: Iran blocks Internet access

      @Mirrage <br><br>Damn, so much for any pretense of freedom.<br><br>And by the way, many Persian women are absolutely incredibly beautiful when they are treated as a human, not clad in a Burqa, and able to express themselves as any western woman may choose to.
      • RE: Iran blocks Internet access

        @Raid6 They are also beautiful behind their burqas, should they *freely* choose to wear them. That is assuming that they can *freely* choose to wear them:
        Rabid Howler Monkey
  • RE: Iran blocks Internet access

    The Iranian people live under oppression.
  • Iran blocks access to certain Internet sites (ftfy)

    Par for the course linkbaiting headline.<br><br>If people are able to VPN via proxy, etc then access to the internet is not blocked.<br><br>Please tell me ZDNet is not like my bunch of clueless users who, when they can't get to a certain website, email me and say "The Internet is down"<br><br>I expect more from a tech news site, yet I'm consistently disappointed.
    • RE: Iran blocks Internet access

      @wendellgee@... Seriously? That's like saying abortion hasn't been banned because you can still use a coat hanger in a back alley. I suppose SOPA and PIPA were a perfectly rational response to the problem of software piracy and knock-off product sales too.
    • RE: Iran blocks Internet access

      @wendellgee@... - So, based on my experience in good old USA, the headline should have been, "Iran blocks Internet access for 99% of its citizens."
    • RE: Iran blocks Internet access

      @wendellgee@... second to that. The title should read, Iran blocks access to FB, GMail, and Hotmail. Obviously, Iranians can still access other web-site.
    • RE: Iran blocks Internet access

      @wendellgee@... You miss the point, maybe intentionally. The point is that Iran fully intended to block the free exchange of information. I bet you support SOPA/PIPA as welll
  • RE: Iran blocks Internet access

    Another North Korea. It's an inevitable trend when those in power know what's best.
  • RE: Iran blocks Internet access

    If you think the U.S. is that far behind, just wait a bit. Iran is simply not bothering to maintain the illusion, so much as others. In America, freedom is like insurance. It works perfectly, until you try to use it. Then you find out how much you really have.
    • RE: Iran blocks Internet access

      @cafetomo I agree. Americans are blind to the truth and facts about freedom. The US has more laws than any other country and more prisoners than any other country (25% of the worlds prison population is right here in the US). People don't realize how much the media points them in the wrong direction, diverting them from the real truth. Freedom to choose? Sure, as long as it is ok with the US Government. The US Constitution has become an invalid document. The 2nd Amendment right has been obliterated. Why? To take away power from the people. That amendment guarantees the right of the people to own and bear arms, NO MATTER WHAT!, yet they have taken such rights away using felonies and other means. The many pointless laws we have were developed to make most people a felon in order to remove such rights, which is still against the Right itself as written. SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.
  • RE: Iran blocks Internet access

    Wow! The Iranian's have implemented the ultimate vision of SOPA. Don't think it can't happen here (but only in the name of national security, of course.)
  • Iran Blocks Access To Internet

    This is a huge setback for the moderate element of Iranian society. If we don't get a new administration at the next election we will be joining the people in Iran and North Korea ! Could any of the nasty bills concerning the net here have even been considered by any constitutional government here ?