There has been an increasing amount of government censorship appearing on the internet over the last few months. Countries like China, Iran, Egypt, and Syria have been increasingly clamping down on internet sites and comments critical of the government. Marionette, an open source project, intends to level the playing field for activists.
New tools from oppressive regimes allow them to block access to just about any site on the internet, including those hidden on TOR or through VPN. This is particularly true of the Great Firewall of China, which is capable of monitoring all internet activity at an ISP level.
Marionette circumvents these blocks by disguising traffic as something more harmless. The software can be configured to emulate the kinds of activity that looks more like the user is having a Skype call or is online gaming. Marionette can also be configured to respond the right way if actively probed; all to maintain its cover against attempts to discover its true nature.
“It sort of levels the playing field,” says Scott Coull, a security researcher who helped develop Marionette. “If China is updating its censorship, you can adapt, too.”
Right now, Marionette is fully available for download; with open source code that allows anyone to adapt it to their own needs. There is talk that TOR will implement the code into its own network to better allow it to protect the anonymity of users. That being said, using Marionette in its current state requires quite a bit of programming knowledge, but that will likely change as more activists get on board and begin adapting it into a more complete package.
[Source: MIT Technology Review]