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Hoàng Nguyên Phong

Fellow

Information Controls Fellow

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Phong will work with the Citizen Lab at University of Toronto over the next year to investigate the Great Firewall (GFW) with a focus on its abusive design of abusing IP addresses of non-Chinese entities in forged DNS responses.

During his previous OTF fellowship in 2018, Phong discovered the prevalence of this abusive DNS poisoning design in which IP addresses owned by many U.S. companies, including Facebook, Twitter, and SoftLayer are heavily used in forged DNS responses. A preliminary report for this line of work was recently presented at USENIX FOCI '20. Throughout this project, Phong will build a dashboard that is expected to provide useful data for other researchers and insights about censored domains as well as the forged IP addresses being abused. Ultimately, these findings will hopefully be able to assist in the development of potential solutions to bypass and reduce the impact of the GFW's DNS-based blocking.

The focus of the 2018 fellowship was on The Invisible Internet Project (I2P), a well-known and widely used anonymity network. I2P can be used by privacy-conscious Internet users to protect their online privacy, or by censored users to bypass censorship. Phong first built a metrics portal for I2P that provides useful data for other researchers. Following this, he published numerous papers identifying where and how access to I2P is blocked around the globe. Finally, he investigated and implemented solutions to make I2P more resistant to blockage. As a result of this work, I2P is now more accessible to end users who need the tool to circumvent Internet censorship and online surveillance. A blog post summarizing all the work completed over the course of this fellowship can be found here.

Funding to date

2018 $55,400 12 months
Information Controls Fellowship
2020 $65,000 12 months
Information Controls Fellowship

Total Funding: $120,400

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