First up, I saw a news item about Indian fake e-visa portal. As it is/was Sunday, I decided to see if there indeed is such a mess. I dug out torbrowser-bundle (tbb), checked the IP it was giving me (some Canadian IP starting from (216.xxx.xx.xx) typed in ‘Indian visa application’ and used duckduckgo.com to see which result cropped up first.
I deliberately used tbb as I wanted to ensure it wasn’t coming from an Indian IP where the chances of Indian e-visa portal being fake should be negligible. Scamsters would surely be knowledgable to differ between IPs coming from India and from some IP from some other country.
The first result duckduckgo.com gave was https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/index.html
I then proceeded to download whois on my new system (more on that in another blog post
$ sudo aptitude install whois
and proceeded to see if it’s the genuine thing or not and this is the information I got –
$ whois indianvisaonline.gov.in
Access to .IN WHOIS information is provided to assist persons in determining the contents of a domain name registration record in the .IN registry database. The data in this record is provided by .IN Registry for informational purposes only, and .IN does not guarantee its accuracy. This service is intended only for query-based access. You agree that you will use this data only for lawful purposes and that, under no circumstances will you use this data to: (a) allow, enable, or otherwise support the transmission by e-mail, telephone, or facsimile of mass unsolicited, commercial advertising or solicitations to entities other than the data recipient's own existing customers; or (b) enable high volume, automated, electronic processes that send queries or data to the systems of Registry Operator, a Registrar, or Afilias except as reasonably necessary to register domain names or modify existing registrations. All rights reserved. .IN reserves the right to modify these terms at any time. By submitting this query, you agree to abide by this policy.
Created On:01-Apr-2010 12:10:51 UTC
Last Updated On:18-Apr-2017 22:32:00 UTC
Expiration Date:01-Apr-2018 12:10:51 UTC
Sponsoring Registrar:National Informatics Centre (R12-AFIN)
Registrant Name:Director Immigration and Citizenship
Registrant Organization:Ministry of Home Affairs
Registrant Street1:NDCC-II building
Registrant Street2:Jaisingh Road
Registrant City:New Delhi
Registrant Postal Code:110001
Registrant Phone Ext.:
Registrant FAX Ext.:
Admin Name:Director Immigration and Citizenship
Admin Organization:Ministry of Home Affairs
Admin Street1:NDCC-II building
Admin Street2:Jaisingh Road
Admin City:New Delhi
Admin Postal Code:110001
Admin Phone Ext.:
Admin FAX Ext.:
Tech Name:Rakesh Kumar
Tech Organization:National Informatics Centre
Tech Street1:National Data Centre
Tech Street2:Shashtri Park
Tech City:New Delhi
Tech Postal Code:110053
Tech Phone Ext.:
Tech FAX Ext.:
It seems to be a legitimate site as almost all information seems to be legit. I know for a fact, that all or 99% of all Indian government websites are done by NIC or National Institute of Computing. The only thing which rankled me was that DNSSEC was unsigned but then haven’t seen NIC being as pro-active about web-security as they should be as they handle many government sensitive internal and external websites.
I did send an email for them imploring them to use the new security feature.
To be doubly sure, one could also use an add-on like showip add it your firefox profile and using any of the web services obtain the IP Address of the website.
For instance, the same website which we are investigating gives 126.96.36.199
Doing a whois of 188.8.131.52 tells that NICNET has got/purchased a whole range of addresses i.e. 184.108.40.206 – 220.127.116.11 which is 65025 addresses which it uses.
One can see NIC’s wikipedia page to understand the scope it works under.
So from both accounts, it is safe to assume that the web-site and page is legit.
Well, that’s about it for the site. While this is and should be trivial to most Debian users, it might or might not be to all web users but it is one way in which you can find if a site is legitimate.
Few weeks back, I read Colin’s blog post about Kitten Block which also was put on p.d.o.
So let me share RequestPolicy Continued –
This is a continuation of RequestPolicy which was abandoned (upstream) by the original developer and resides in the Debian repo.
I did file a ticket stating both the name-change and where the new watch file should point at 870607
What it does is similar to what Adblock/Kitten Block does + more. It basically restricts any third-party domain from having permission to show to you. It is very similar to another add-on called u-block origin .
I liked RPC as it’s known because it hardly has any learning curve.
You install the add-on, see which third-party domains you need and just allow them. For instance, many websites nowadays fonts.googleapis.com, ajax.googleapis.com is used by many sites, pictures or pictography content is usually looked after by either cloudflare or cloudfront.
One of the big third parties that you would encounter of-course is google.com and gstatic.net. Lot of people use gstatic and its brethren for spam protection but they come with cost of user-identifibility and also the controversial crowdsourced image recognition.
It is a good add-on which does remind you of competing offerings elsewhere but also a stark reminder of how much google has penetrated and to what levels within sites.
I use tor-browser and RPC as my browsing is distraction-free as loads of sites have nowadays moved to huge bandwidth consuming animated ads etc. While I’m on a slow non-metered (eat/surf all you want) kind of service, for those using metered (x bytes for y price including upload and download) the above is also a god-send..
On the upstream side, they do need help both with development and testing the build. While I’m not sure, I think the maintainer didn’t reply or do anything for my bug as he knew that Web-Exensions are around the corner. Upstream has said he hopes to have a new build compatible with web extensions by the end of February 2018.
On the debian side of things, I have filed 870607 but know it probably will be acted once the port to web-extensions has been completed and some testing done so might take time.