Friday, March 7th, 2014
We’ve had a few users ask us what is xCloak and why a modified version of OpenVPN is required to run it.
Why do you need xCloak?
In certain countries, ISPs or government employ advanced deep packet inspection techniques that will identify VPN traffic and block it. This doesn’t mean they can look inside your VPN traffic but it just means they have identified your traffic as a VPN and lock it down.
xCloak scrambles the packet payload of the VPN connection so that the VPN traffic doesn’t look like VPN traffic anymore! This makes it harder to block and adds another layer of encryption protection over the standard OpenVPN.
Why doesn’t xCloak work in certain countries?
Beyond deep packet inspection, there are other ways to block VPN access. The simplest and possibly the most effective is just identifying our VPN server’s IP and just blacklisting it. There’s not much that can be done in such a case beyond changing the IP of the server. Also such DPI techniques evolve, learn and adapt and if a pattern is detected, then it will be added to their detection lists. Of course we can adapt the xCloak to change its behaviour again but there will be a slight delay between recognizing that the system has been blocked. We therefore have a few choices of xCloak servers that you can use so you have some choice.
What further complicates issues is that different ISPs even within the same country seem to employ different blocking mechanisms so we rely heavily on user feedback to identify problems. Help us help you guys! We do have a test server in some of these restrictive countries to test it out but it seems end users are affected differently than servers within datacenters. So let us know what works (or doesn’t) and we’ll be happy to work together with you and give you account extensions for your help!
New Name for xCloak
The name xCloak isn’t particularly inventive and sounds kinda nerdy. But we’re nerds and haven’t been able to come up with a good name for this. We are open to suggestions on what to rename xCloak to! Let us know in the comments on what you want it to be called!