Jul. 17, 2021

Security for Missionaries on the Internet

An idea just came to me that will help missionaries in countries closed to the gospel to keep safe from government monitoring of internet access- it is below, you might want to send this out to missionaries that you know.

I have a Bachelor's degree and Master's degree in the Information Technology field and just recently a good idea came to me- this will help Christians in closed countries where there is persecution to them and also government monitoring and censorship of internet access. The idea is here: most websites out there now offer encrypted communication to the website. You can access this in the URL text bar up at the top of the web browser screen. a normal website will have a web address starting with http:// . However if you change this to https:// this will tell it to encrypt all communication with the website to a degree that it is unbreakable. This will help if the government of the country you are in is monitoring your internet activity. They will still be able to see the name of the website you are looking at but not what specifically you are accessing, it is highly encrypted.

Another idea- the country Iran and probably other countries hostile to the gospel censor the internet access in the country and hundreds if not thousands of websites outside the country are banned. There are several ways to get around this but it is not foolproof. Someone in such a country could use something called a proxy server or also a VPN (Virtual Private Network). A proxy server will allow you to bypass the government restrictions. It works by receiving web requests from you in the hostile nation and then the proxy goes on the internet and gets the website content that you want and sends it back to you. Since your computer is accessing the proxy and not the banned website directly you can avoid the government restrictions. You can also use an encrypted proxy server and that will help even more. However I have heard that the government in Iran is pretty crafty and they are on to this trick, they will ban access to the proxy and then the proxy will have to switch IP addresses until the government also finds that one and bans it too, it is a chess match with the government. Another thing that is better is using a VPN (virtual private network). A VPN establishes a totally encrypted link with an external web server and it can also fool any eavesdropper into thinking you are accessing a different server that is legal and inside the country so it is even safer than a proxy. However I have heard that the government in Iran is also on to this and they are trying to stop VPNs but it may still work from a random internet cafe inside the country.

The government authorities in Iran are trying their best to keep the gospel out of the country and many christian websites are banned, however a proxy or VPN could help people get around these restrictions and would open the door for the gospel into the country! People could go to an internet cafe and download the bible!