The internet is increasingly putting up virtual walls. Type in “internet freedom” or “censorship” in Google and you will see the spike, all within the last two years. Firewalls have been a part of digital networks for long, but now they could probably become more a part of everyday speak than they used to be.
Well, if you and I are going to cry freedom and hold up the placard of privacy rights, we might take a look at Ultrasurf – a lightweight but efficient software that allows us to bypass internet restrictions. There are a few lines on the homepage which gives the software the grand introduction:
Originally created to help internet users in China find security and freedom online, Ultrasurf has now become one of the world’s most popular anti-censorship, pro-privacy software, with millions of people using it to bypass internet censorship and protect their online privacy.
Ultrasurf is a free proxy-browsing software. It is not the only one of course; some of which we talked about in our hiding IP and anonymous browsing post. Ultrasurf has its own unique features though.
Ultrasurf runs as a Windows executable (and also as a Firefox plugin). You do not need to install it; thus you can also carry it along as portable software. To remove it, simply delete the EXE file.
The tool is very simple to use. When you click the executable, Ultrasurf goes into anonymous browsing mode and displays a yellow lock icon.
By default it opens Internet Explorer, but you can change this in the Options to open your default browser instead. Ultrasurf basically runs as a local proxy server and your browser uses this local proxy over an encrypted connection. As there are large numbers of proxy servers on the web, it is difficult to block each and every one of them.
Ultrasurf automatically connects to a proxy server, though you can choose one yourself too. All connections are encrypted and secure. If you self-check your IP address you will see that it points to one located in the U.S.
1. It enables you to bypass firewalls and browse to any website safely. Think countries like China and North Korea with their heavy censorship…Ultrasurf was designed for going around such severe internet censorship regimes.
2. Even if you are in a censorship free country, there are certain localized sites (U.S. only) like Hulu, Spotify, Pandora etc. which are not usable for most countries. You can use Ultrasurf to access such websites.
3. You can bypass ISP filtering – for instance, recently some torrent sites were blocked by ISPs in India which could be accessed using Ultrasurf.
4. Office firewalls can be circumvented with Ultrasurf and can help you access sites like Facebook which are usually restricted.
5. Ultrasurf makes it possible to use torrents and P2P software anonymously.
6. Ultrasurf helps you maintain your anonymity in public Wi-Fi hotspots like airports and restaurants and protects your privacy.
As your traffic goes through a proxy server, there is small hit on speed. But that is a price you have to pay for anonymity. Try out Ultrasurf and tell us if it can become your preferred tool for maintaining the freedom of the web.