Psiphon is a powerful tool if you're in a nation state that censors your Internet connection. It serves a great purpose for freedom when you need it. Unfortunately, it also can be a tool by bad actors to exfiltrate data and hide in plain sight by circumventing traditional internet security gateway protection. To block Psiphon, follow these simple steps:
- Confirm you're on a Business or Enterprise subscription as the necessary features are not available on Essentials and Professional plans. You can do this on your dashboard -> Billing Settings -> Change Networks and select the Business plan.
- Enable your DTTS (Don't Talk To Strangers) feature on your dashboard -> Advanced section.
- Send us a support request to firstname.lastname@example.org to provision a special-case Rule to block Psiphon. It will appear like this on all of your blacklisting and whitelisting Rule Sets on your dashboard (make sure you turn it ON for all of your Rule Sets where you want this protection):
- If you're on the pfSense platform, make sure you either disable the "Default allow LAN to any rule" in Firewall -> Rules menu. On most implementation, we recommend having the firewall rules managed by our service with this setting:
- Make sure you do not have "Bypass DTTS" enabled on the Rule Set you want to have Psiphon blocked.
- To verify it is working, observe two separate logs, in two separate browser windows, at http://mytools.management/log which are accessible only from within your network and only for authorized devices in your Dashboard's Manage Rule Sets -> Devices listing:
- Shows Psiphon itself reporting it is unable to connect, but this will take a few minutes to appear
- When viewing the Domain Log, you see every domain that is being attempted to connect to and being blocked as a "BL - Block Psiphon" on the Rule Applied column
- When viewing the Traffic Log from the drop-down menu, shows IP connections, most of which will be IPs that did not use DNS first
- Shows the destination ports where Psiphon would normally connect as a proxy but is unable to do so now
To see this in a video form:
- What is the difference between Rule Sets based on Whitelisting vs Blacklisting?
- Answer: If you follow the above steps, Psiphon itself will be blocked on either type Rule Set. However, we strongly recommend whitelisting Rule Sets in order to block yet-unknown proxies and VPN providers
- How do you handle domains that have CNAMEs of commonly used Psiphon proxy hosts such as, www.dictionary.com which has e2374.g.akamaiedge.net as a CNAME?
- On whitelisting Rule Sets, CNAME flattening occurs, which allows the former to resolve, if whitelisted, and the latter to be blocked.
- On blacklisting Rule Sets, simply create a Rainbow List/Rule for domains for which to create an exemption (note that Rainbow Rules take precedence over Blacklists, so it is the best method for exemptions)