To block the website of a massage parlor providing “illicit” massage services, the Kazakhstan government ended up taking down 93,000 websites, resulting in massive collateral damage to all the website owners.
For a long time now, several governments all over the world have been resorting to blocking when they come across illegal websites. Several of these website blocking attempts make use of a method in which a website is blocked by its IP address, an outdated practice that does more harm than good, as clearly demonstrated by the attempts of the Kazakh government.
To block an erotic massage parlor that goes by the name of “Rainbow Spa,” the Kazakh government blocked the website by its IP address, which ultimately resulted in blocking the domestic access to nearly 93,000 other websites that shared the same cloud infrastructure with the aforementioned massage parlor’s website.
The IP addresses 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124 were the ones to get blocked in which the former IP address hosted over 9,500 domains whereas the latter hosted 84,000 domains.
All the users subscribing to the country’s top ISP’s such as Kazakhtelecom, Kcell, Altel, and Activ could no longer access the 93,000 websites. Despite mounting criticism, the service provider Kazakhtelecom told a local news channel that the outage was a result of a “budget and not quite full-fledged service to customers.”
Several of the blocked websites were hosted on the publishing program known as Tilda Publishing, which is much similar to WordPress. Disgruntled by the country’s attempts at blocking a website and disrupting the service of thousands of others in the process, Tilda Publishing said, “Blocking a resource by IP address is an outdated and barbaric practice that has long been inconsistent with modern cloud-based IT technologies and access restriction mechanism.”
Most websites in our current times share common cloud infrastructure for immunity against DDoS attacks and to filter malicious traffic. In such a case, blocking a single IP may end up restricting access to thousands of websites, which happens to be the case in Kazakhstan.
It is to be noted that even after the Kazakh government’s outrageous efforts to block the massage parlor online, the website is still reported to be up and online offering a range of erotic “massages” and fetish services.