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Google confirms Turkey intercepted web traffic to monitor users

Many Turkish citizens used Google’s public DNS service to bypass their government’s decision to block popular websites, but now many Turkish ISPs are masquerading as Google’s DNS service.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressing supporters from the balcony of his ruling party headquarters in Ankara, Turkey earlier today.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressing supporters from the balcony of his ruling party headquarters in Ankara, Turkey earlier today.
Image: AP photo

AS TURKEY’S BAN on popular websites continues, Google has confirmed the majority of Turkish Internet Service Providers (ISP) are pretending to be Google’s Domain Name System (DNS) service, meaning users web traffic could be monitored.

“We have received several credible reports and confirmed with our own research that Google’s DNS service has been intercepted by most Turkish ISPs,” Google said in a blog post.

A DNS server tells your computer the address of a server it’s looking for, in the same way that you might look up a phone number in a phone book.

But imagine if someone had changed out your phone book with another one, which looks pretty much the same as before, except that the listings for a few people showed the wrong phone number. That’s essentially what’s happened: Turkish ISPs have set up servers that masquerade as Google’s DNS service.

When the ban started, Turkish citizens were able to restore their access to Twitter and YouTube by routing their traffic through Google’s DNS. Now Turkish ISPs have set up servers which appear to be Google’s, meaning their traffic could be monitored.

While the ban on Twitter was reversed last Wednesday, the Turkish government blocked YouTube the next day after audio files from a state security meeting discussing possible military action in Syria were leaked.  The actions were taken ahead of Turkey’s national election which took place on Sunday.

Early polls place the current government, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) ahead as partial ballot returns suggest it will reach its declared goal of more than 40 per cent of overall votes.

Read: Now Turkey’s banned Youtube >

Read: What do Irish people watch most on YouTube? Music videos and comedy >

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About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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