SAFACT has reportedly issued ISPs with a request to block numerous piracy sites, sparking fears that certain domains will be blocked in South Africa.
The sites are thought to be torrent indexers, which are popular among online pirates for downloading media and software.
Internet censorship is common in various countries across the world, and usually consists of ISPs blocking access to specific domains or certain types of traffic.
The Great Firewall of China prevents Chinese citizens from accessing the unrestricted Internet, even disrupting many VPN services.
The UK also has a form of Internet censorship, with many major ISPs blocking websites linked to gambling, pornography, and piracy.
It is relatively easy to circumvent an ISP blocking access to certain domains, however, as detailed below.
There are many ways ISPs can block Internet traffic, with one of the most simple methods the blocking of domains at the DNS level.
This is simple to circumvent and requires users to change their clients preferred DNS server.
If you are using a Windows PC, you can do this by following the steps below.
This bypasses the ISPs filtered DNS and uses a service called Google Public DNS.
Another option is to use a proxy website or browser extension to route web traffic through a different domain, circumventing your ISPs domain name blocking.
Proxy websites redirect traffic through their own domain, allowing users to access any site as long as the proxy website is not blocked by the ISP.
If the above is not sufficient and you require greater anonymity online, the Tor network may be the next step.
Tor is a network of distributed relays around the world through which your traffic is routed.
This prevents your connection and online activity from being easily tracked, as it is routed through relays which anonymise web traffic.
It should be noted that operators of exit nodes on the Tor network could eavesdrop on unencrypted communications over the network, though.
Users can download the Tor Browser from the the Tor Project page.
While the Tor network is great for anonymity and general Internet activity, it increases latency and your maximum download speed may degrade if the relays are on slow connections.
It is therefore not suitable for file sharing, and by default, your non-web traffic will not be routed through Tor.
The Tor browser functions like a normal web browser and can be used to access any website on the Internet, including .onion websites on the dark web.
If your ISP is still able to block traffic to certain sites using methods like packet filtering you may have to invest in a VPN service.
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) allows you to browse and access the Internet without your ISP examining your traffic.
An encrypted connection between your computer and the VPN prevents your ISP from accessing data traffic which your VPN sends on your behalf.
While certain services have a free trial offer, VPNs usually require a subscription fee. This gives youmore control over your online security.
The latest Opera browser features a built-in VPN, which can be turned on and off. VPN extensions for Chrome and Firefox are also an option for users.
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