One of the most popular encrypted messaging app will no longer be able to avoid censorship due to the action of two big platforms. The app in question, Signal, announced it would abandon the anti-censorship practice after the main cloud giants Amazon and Google abandoned support for the feature.
Domain fronting is an accurate method to avoid censorship
Signal was well-known for using domain fronting, a method users were quite fond of. Domain fronting could pinpoint those ways of imposing censorship. Unfortunately, on Tuesday, the messaging app said it would abandon this feature. As an explanation, it explained Google and Amazon no longer supported the option on cloud, so they had no other choice.
Once the platforms abandoned support for the feature, domain fronting became almost impossible to use. Domain fronting works by making it impossible for providers to block particular sites. If they wanted to do it, they would have to block the internet as a whole, which was not an option.
Cloud platforms disabled support for domain fronting
Usually, apps can detect traffic and identify the websites where it comes from. Signal did it through cloud providers, which filtered this traffic and made it undetectable. A similar feature is available on Telegram as well, which allowed the service to escape common censorship practices issued by different governments.
While domain fronting has many advantages, it can have some drawbacks. The practice is common among hackers, who can make their malware undetectable. This is why Google abandoned support for the method. When this happened, Signal switched to Amazon CloudFront. However, this cloud platform followed Google’s example.
As an explanation, Amazon said it wanted to grant requests only to those domains with legitimate owners. These changes took Signal by surprise. The company declared it would try to fix the issues and find a solution for the problem, but it might take some time until it found the right thing to do.
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