Alternative Explanation Redux



livejournal.com is now accessible in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Why? Because it appears that Livejournal was not actually blocked by ISP’s in those countries in the first place. Instead, it appears that the Sixpart network, on which Livejournal was formerly hosted, firewalled requests from IP addresses in those countries.

Livejournal was reported as blocked by ISP’s in Kazakhstan after bloggers noted that the site had become inaccessible. There was speculation that the blocking was politically motivated and linked to the Livejournal blog of the the Kazakh President’s former son-in-law who is very critical of the government.

The Kazakh ISP’s denied that they had blocked access to it.

“We do not block access in Kazakhstan to any internet resource, including this portal. As a profitable company, our primary concern is to have our subscribers provided with Internet services to the fullest extent,” head of Kazakhtelecom’s PR department Balzhan Ilbisinova told Interfax…

“We have found out that Internet users in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan also do not have access to this resource. Therefore, I think the lack of access may be attributed to technical problems at LiveJournal?s end,” Ilbisinova indicated.

Last year I wrote about the case of dailymotion.com being temporarily blocked in Tunisia as a result of a mis-categorization by SmartFilter. I suggested that sometimes “there are often mundane, alternative explanations” that explain blocking, let alone inaccessibility.

Here is a traceroute to livejournal from KG. It is interesting because it passes through KZ (other traceroutes from the same ISP do not pass through KZ but display the same behavior) but even more so because the last hop is not in KZ or KG but on the first hop on Sixapart’s network. That is the traceroute suggests the problem is on Livejournal/Sixapart’s end.

Tracing route to livejournal.com [204.9.177.18]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

1 237 ms 226 ms 226 ms *.elcat.kg [212.42.*.*]
2 227 ms 226 ms 226 ms *.elcat.kg [212.42.*.*]
3 226 ms 227 ms 226 ms 213.145.131.145
4 229 ms 235 ms 229 ms 92.46.59.161
5 246 ms 246 ms 245 ms alma-core-l2-6.online.kz [92.47.151.157]
6 246 ms 246 ms 245 ms alma-core-l1-6.online.kz [92.47.145.17]
7 246 ms 246 ms 245 ms asta-core-l1-1.online.kz [92.47.145.10]
8 246 ms 246 ms 245 ms asta-core-l2-1-2.online.kz [92.47.145.42]
9 246 ms * 246 ms asta-gate-1.online.kz [92.47.151.166]
10 258 ms 258 ms 258 ms clk15.transtelecom.net [217.150.58.70]
11 350 ms 351 ms 351 ms xe-3-3.r01.londen05.uk.bb.gin.ntt.net [83.231.146.85]
12 667 ms 529 ms 544 ms xe-3-2.r01.londen03.uk.bb.gin.ntt.net [129.250.2.72]
13 352 ms 351 ms 351 ms xe-2-3-0.r22.londen03.uk.bb.gin.ntt.net [129.250.2.65]
14 350 ms 350 ms 351 ms ae-0.r23.londen03.uk.bb.gin.ntt.net [129.250.4.86]
15 358 ms 358 ms 358 ms p64-2-0-0.r22.amstnl02.nl.bb.gin.ntt.net [129.250.4.105]
16 358 ms 360 ms 364 ms ae-1.r23.amstnl02.nl.bb.gin.ntt.net [129.250.4.222]
17 443 ms 440 ms 436 ms as-0.r20.asbnva01.us.bb.gin.ntt.net [129.250.5.46]
18 437 ms 441 ms 441 ms ae-0.r20.asbnva02.us.bb.gin.ntt.net [129.250.2.61]
19 478 ms * 482 ms as-1.r20.dllstx09.us.bb.gin.ntt.net [129.250.3.42]
20 483 ms 482 ms 482 ms ae-0.r21.dllstx09.us.bb.gin.ntt.net [129.250.2.59]
21 512 ms 513 ms 517 ms as-3.r21.snjsca04.us.bb.gin.ntt.net [129.250.4.25]
22 528 ms 524 ms 525 ms ae-0.r20.plalca01.us.bb.gin.ntt.net [129.250.4.118]
23 523 ms 523 ms 520 ms ae-0.r21.plalca01.us.bb.gin.ntt.net [129.250.5.118]
24 520 ms 523 ms 523 ms xe-3-4.r03.plalca01.us.bb.gin.ntt.net [129.250.4.246]
25 529 ms 523 ms 523 ms 140.174.28.110
26 526 ms 525 ms 525 ms v102-sf-core1.sixapart.com [204.9.176.19]
27 * * * Request timed out.
28 * * * Request timed out.
29 * * * Request timed out.
30 * * * Request timed out.

This behavior matches many traceroutes to livejournal from KZ that I have seen posted on forums and blogs.(I don’t have direct access to KZ myself.)

[root@localhost ~]# traceroute livejournal.com
traceroute to livejournal.com (204.9.177.18), 30 hops max, 40 byte packets
1 192.168.0.1 (192.168.0.1) 5.056 ms 4.973 ms 6.254 ms
2 92.46.31.32 (92.46.31.32) 37.094 ms * *
3 92.46.31.9 (92.46.31.9) 39.176 ms 42.572 ms 42.705 ms
4 alma-core-l2-6.online.kz (92.47.150.5) 45.835 ms 46.633 ms 49.597 ms
5 alma-gate-6-2.online.kz (92.47.151.158) 49.578 ms 51.314 ms 51.293 ms
6 62.105.145.81 (62.105.145.81) 120.029 ms 81.211.8.53 (81.211.8.53) 119.194 ms 62.105.145.81 (62.105.145.81) 85.843 ms
7 cat01.Frankfurt.gldn.net (194.186.157.138) 150.126 ms 152.341 ms 141.199 ms
8 TenGigabitEthernet7-4.ar1.FRA4.gblx.net (64.208.222.201) 203.801 ms 203.788 ms 206.627 ms
9 te7-4-10G.ar3.FRA3.gblx.net (67.17.111.178) 348.909 ms 350.545 ms 350.517 ms
10 ge-6-11.car2.Frankfurt1.Level3.net (195.122.136.245) 187.929 ms 201.878 ms 191.595 ms
11 ae-32-56.ebr2.Frankfurt1.Level3.net (4.68.118.190) 189.552 ms ae-32-52.ebr2.Frankfurt1.Level3.net (4.68.118.62) 215.396 ms ae-32-54.ebr2.Frankfurt1.Level3.net (4.68.118.126) 148.874 ms
12 ae-2.ebr1.Dusseldorf1.Level3.net (4.69.132.137) 195.665 ms 187.249 ms 190.874 ms
13 * * *
14 ae-2.ebr1.Amsterdam1.Level3.net (4.69.133.89) 217.906 ms 215.069 ms 211.648 ms
15 ae-1-100.ebr2.Amsterdam1.Level3.net (4.69.133.86) 203.764 ms 205.056 ms 214.713 ms
16 ae-2.ebr2.London1.Level3.net (4.69.132.133) 160.643 ms 173.771 ms 174.483 ms
17 ae-42.ebr1.NewYork1.Level3.net (4.69.137.70) 235.561 ms ae-43.ebr1.NewYork1.Level3.net (4.69.137.74) 242.350 ms ae-44.ebr1.NewYork1.Level3.net (4.69.137.78) 242.053 ms
18 ae-61-61.csw1.NewYork1.Level3.net (4.69.134.66) 243.298 ms ae-71-71.csw2.NewYork1.Level3.net (4.69.134.70) 254.401 ms ae-81-81.csw3.NewYork1.Level3.net (4.69.134.74) 231.585 ms
19 ae-94-94.ebr4.NewYork1.Level3.net (4.69.134.125) 233.414 ms ae-64-64.ebr4.NewYork1.Level3.net (4.69.134.113) 224.338 ms ae-74-74.ebr4.NewYork1.Level3.net (4.69.134.117) 243.520 ms
20 ae-2.ebr4.SanJose1.Level3.net (4.69.135.185) 304.158 ms 312.587 ms 314.754 ms
21 ae-74-74.csw2.SanJose1.Level3.net (4.69.134.246) 301.834 ms ae-84-84.csw3.SanJose1.Level3.net (4.69.134.250) 306.405 ms ae-94-94.csw4.SanJose1.Level3.net (4.69.134.254) 297.681 ms
22 ae-62-62.ebr2.SanJose1.Level3.net (4.69.134.209) 300.430 ms ae-82-82.ebr2.SanJose1.Level3.net (4.69.134.217) 315.784 ms ae-92-92.ebr2.SanJose1.Level3.net (4.69.134.221) 300.655 ms
23 ae-5-5.car1.Oakland1.Level3.net (4.69.134.37) 306.771 ms 306.578 ms 294.600 ms
24 SIX-APART-L.car1.Oakland1.Level3.net (4.71.200.18) 306.504 ms 294.604 ms 295.527 ms
25 v102-oak-core2.sixapart.com (204.9.176.82) 310.375 ms 321.391 ms 316.173 ms
26 * * *
27 * * *
28 * * *
29 * * *
30 * * *

In both cases the last hop is on Sixapart’s network.

On November 18 2008 Livejournal moved off Sixpart’s network and is now accessible in KG and KZ. Since they have new IP addresses they would be accessible until the KZ ISP updated their blocking, but so far this has not occurred. Since the traceroutes clearly show that packets passed through KG and KZ to Sixpart’s network my sense is that some network admin at Sixapart firewalled some IP addresses (or ranges of IPs) that corresponded to ISPs in KG and KZ, perhaps due to “bad” behaviour, such as scans, originating from those IP’s. In any case it appears that the KZ and KG ISP’s had nothing to do with the inaccessibility of Livejournal in those countries.

In any case I’m glad it is now accessible and hope it remains that way.

One comment.

  1. Traceroutes from the same KG IP, one through KZ and one through RU have the same behavior: the last hop is on the six apart network.

    Tracing route to livejournal.com [204.9.177.18]
    over a maximum of 30 hops:

    1 237 ms 226 ms 226 ms *.elcat.kg [212.42.*.*]
    2 227 ms 226 ms 226 ms *.elcat.kg [212.42.*.*]
    3 226 ms 227 ms 226 ms 213.145.131.145
    4 229 ms 235 ms 229 ms 92.46.59.161
    5 246 ms 246 ms 245 ms alma-core-l2-6.online.kz [92.47.151.157]
    6 246 ms 246 ms 245 ms alma-core-l1-6.online.kz [92.47.145.17]
    7 246 ms 246 ms 245 ms asta-core-l1-1.online.kz [92.47.145.10]
    8 246 ms 246 ms 245 ms asta-core-l2-1-2.online.kz [92.47.145.42]
    9 246 ms * 246 ms asta-gate-1.online.kz [92.47.151.166]
    10 258 ms 258 ms 258 ms clk15.transtelecom.net [217.150.58.70]
    11 350 ms 351 ms 351 ms xe-3-3.r01.londen05.uk.bb.gin.ntt.net [83.231.146.85]
    12 667 ms 529 ms 544 ms xe-3-2.r01.londen03.uk.bb.gin.ntt.net [129.250.2.72]
    13 352 ms 351 ms 351 ms xe-2-3-0.r22.londen03.uk.bb.gin.ntt.net [129.250.2.65]
    14 350 ms 350 ms 351 ms ae-0.r23.londen03.uk.bb.gin.ntt.net [129.250.4.86]
    15 358 ms 358 ms 358 ms p64-2-0-0.r22.amstnl02.nl.bb.gin.ntt.net [129.250.4.105]
    16 358 ms 360 ms 364 ms ae-1.r23.amstnl02.nl.bb.gin.ntt.net [129.250.4.222]
    17 443 ms 440 ms 436 ms as-0.r20.asbnva01.us.bb.gin.ntt.net [129.250.5.46]
    18 437 ms 441 ms 441 ms ae-0.r20.asbnva02.us.bb.gin.ntt.net [129.250.2.61]
    19 478 ms * 482 ms as-1.r20.dllstx09.us.bb.gin.ntt.net [129.250.3.42]
    20 483 ms 482 ms 482 ms ae-0.r21.dllstx09.us.bb.gin.ntt.net [129.250.2.59]
    21 512 ms 513 ms 517 ms as-3.r21.snjsca04.us.bb.gin.ntt.net [129.250.4.25]
    22 528 ms 524 ms 525 ms ae-0.r20.plalca01.us.bb.gin.ntt.net [129.250.4.118]
    23 523 ms 523 ms 520 ms ae-0.r21.plalca01.us.bb.gin.ntt.net [129.250.5.118]
    24 520 ms 523 ms 523 ms xe-3-4.r03.plalca01.us.bb.gin.ntt.net [129.250.4.246]
    25 529 ms 523 ms 523 ms 140.174.28.110
    26 526 ms 525 ms 525 ms v102-sf-core1.sixapart.com [204.9.176.19]
    27 * * * Request timed out.
    28 * * * Request timed out.
    29 * * * Request timed out.
    30 * * * Request timed out.

    Trace complete.

    Tracing route to livejournal.com [204.9.177.18]
    over a maximum of 30 hops:

    1 225 ms 225 ms 226 ms *.elcat.kg [212.42.*.*]
    2 228 ms 225 ms 242 ms *.elcat.kg [212.42.*.*]
    3 281 ms 282 ms 293 ms 194.186.124.189
    4 277 ms 277 ms 289 ms cat07.Moscow.gldn.net [194.67.17.97]
    5 * 327 ms 329 ms cat01.Frankfurt.gldn.net [194.186.157.138]
    6 370 ms 469 ms 559 ms TenGigabitEthernet7-4.ar1.FRA4.gblx.net [64.208.222.201]
    7 442 ms 453 ms 437 ms ge2-3-1000M.ar3.FRA3.gblx.net [67.17.95.1]
    8 * 342 ms 343 ms ge-6-11.car2.Frankfurt1.Level3.net [195.122.136.245]
    9 343 ms 343 ms 343 ms ae-32-52.ebr2.Frankfurt1.Level3.net [4.68.118.62]
    10 354 ms 347 ms 356 ms ae-2.ebr1.Dusseldorf1.Level3.net [4.69.132.137]
    11 357 ms 360 ms 361 ms ae-1-100.ebr2.Dusseldorf1.Level3.net [4.69.132.130]
    12 351 ms 355 ms 361 ms ae-2.ebr1.Amsterdam1.Level3.net [4.69.133.89]
    13 354 ms 361 ms 361 ms ae-1-100.ebr2.Amsterdam1.Level3.net [4.69.133.86]
    14 351 ms 345 ms 356 ms ae-2.ebr2.London1.Level3.net [4.69.132.133]
    15 415 ms 415 ms 414 ms ae-43.ebr1.NewYork1.Level3.net [4.69.137.74]
    16 414 ms 415 ms 414 ms ae-71-71.csw2.NewYork1.Level3.net [4.69.134.70]
    17 408 ms 414 ms 415 ms ae-74-74.ebr4.NewYork1.Level3.net [4.69.134.117]
    18 487 ms 483 ms 488 ms ae-2.ebr4.SanJose1.Level3.net [4.69.135.185]
    19 498 ms 484 ms 487 ms ae-74-74.csw2.SanJose1.Level3.net [4.69.134.246]
    20 477 ms 486 ms 488 ms ae-72-72.ebr2.SanJose1.Level3.net [4.69.134.213]
    21 479 ms 479 ms 478 ms ae-5-5.car1.Oakland1.Level3.net [4.69.134.37]
    22 492 ms 493 ms 493 ms SIX-APART-L.car1.Oakland1.Level3.net [4.71.200.18]
    23 500 ms 503 ms 504 ms v102-oak-core2.sixapart.com [204.9.176.82]
    24 * * * Request timed out.
    25 * * * Request timed out.
    26 * * * Request timed out.
    27 * * * Request timed out.
    28 * * * Request timed out.
    29 * * * Request timed out.
    30 * * * Request timed out.

    Trace complete.

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