How to get around the Wikipedia blackout

Filed Under: Firefox, Law & order

If you visit the English-language version of Wikipedia today you'll see this:

Wikipedia blackout

As has been widely reported, Wikipedia is one of a number of high profile websites which is shutting its doors today in protest at US anti-piracy moves.

That's bad news if you're a student hoping to use your usual trick of scouring Wikipedia for cut-and-paste into your homework. :)

But don't fear, there's an easy way to access Wikipedia.

Wikipedia's blackout is achieved using some JavaScript. So, all you need is a trusty copy of the Firefox web browser and the popular NoScript add-on.

NoScript option

Simply disable scripts on wikipedia.org and wikimedia.org and..

Wikipedia is accessible

Bingo!

Of course, NoScript isn't just useful for accessing Wikipedia. It's also tremendously useful for helping you decide which websites you trust to run scripts - helping prevent malicious scripts and malware from infecting your computer.

Update: Some readers have left comments concerned that I have not explained to casual visitors what SOPA/PIPA is, why some internet users are up in arms about it, or the reason for the blackouts. We've covered the topic a few times before on Naked Security, but you can also find out more on the Stop American Censorship website.

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102 Responses to How to get around the Wikipedia blackout

  1. Shaun Sweeney · 958 days ago

    Or just hit refresh then as soon as the page shows hit stop or X according to which browser you use.

  2. Balaji · 958 days ago

    It also possible in google chrome. Under the hood -> Content settings -> Javascript -> Disable..

  3. none · 958 days ago

    or use google cache to display the page

  4. It's a few more clicks to do it in Chrome, but no add-ons needed:
    1) Click the wrench.
    2) Click Options
    3) Click "Under the Hood" on the left.
    4) Click "Content Settings..." under Privacy, on the right.
    5) Click "Manage Exceptions" under JavaScript.
    6) Enter "en.wikipedia.org" in the box under Hostname Pattern.
    7) Select "Block" under the Behavior pull-down.

    Enjoy!

  5. Andy · 958 days ago

    You must be very proud of yourself for posting a way to get around the protest.
    I hope you enjoy the internet under your new SOPA overlords.

    • Umm.. telling people the way to get around the Wikipedia blackout is hardly saying we're pro-SOPA/PIPA.

      In fact, if you read previous articles by us you'll see our writers have been outspoken about the proposed legislation.

      And - bonus! - maybe some more folks now know how to better protect themselves against malware using NoScript.

      • Tom Chumley · 958 days ago

        Notwithstanding "In fact, if you read previous articles by us you'll see our writers have been outspoken about the proposed legislation.

        And - bonus! - maybe some more folks now know how to better protect themselves against malware using NoScript. "

        you might have made your position about the SOPA thing clear in the original announcement. Without that, It came across as if you didn't give a hoot about the issues, that you were just keen on getting what you want. I know that's not true but This is what it might have looked like to new visitors to your site.

    • Please · 958 days ago

      Its hardly a way to get around the protest - anybody with half a clue worked out how to access Wikipedia and the boffins at Wikipedia would also know the SIMPLE way to access their website - If they really didnt want you to be able to use it they could of and would of blocked it

    • Mark · 957 days ago

      Maybe Wikipedia wanted people to have a way to access their content once they knew what the protest was about and made it deliberately that easy to circumvent. You only have to see the protest page once to know what it's about. You should know the blackout page wasn't universally approved or liked by all Wikipedia editors.

    • Mark · 957 days ago

      Additionally, not everyone who uses the English-language Wikipedia is from the USA so there's not a lot they can do about it in terms of writing to senators and SOPA/PIPA only affects people in the USA anyway, not Europe.

      It's important we stand with the USA on these issues but many felt the cost of locking people out of Wikipedia was too high. Reddit and Boing Boing are used mostly for goofing off but, for many, the English-language Wikipedia is a highly-valued resource for both work and study.

  6. You're defeating the whole purpose of the protest. Thanks.

    • Tim · 958 days ago

      You've got no idea about the protest at all.

    • Bryan · 958 days ago

      I think the purpose of the protest is to raise awareness of the proposed legislation. I think most people savvy enough to skirt this one-day action are well aware of the issues, and can find an appropriate channel to register their protest.

    • Paul · 958 days ago

      Not defeating the purpose. Just failing to recognize it.

      An organization like Sophos should be especially sensitive to the damage that SOPA and PIPA can do. It seems to me that a post like this, providing a workaround to the protest without encouraging SOME action to be taken, is irresponsible of both Sophos and Graham.

      If you think SOPA and PIPA are a good idea, then protest Wikipedia's action! Let them know they're wrong! But don't just silently work around an important call to action.

  7. Elmo Eldridge · 958 days ago

    Wikipedia, itself, tells you how to access the rest of the site. They just want you to understand the reasons behind the blackout. Follow the link on the "SOPA and PIPA - Learn more" page.

  8. not applicable · 958 days ago

    Or here's a unique idea, wait till tomorrow, and help support Wikipedia with their protest against SOPA. Or do you support this stupid bill, which is government censorship?

  9. Andrew · 958 days ago

    Isn't Sophos promoting a system here to access information which the content provider has restricted?

    I'm an avid reader of this column, but have to say, this advice seems to miss the whole point of the blackout. I wonder if wikipedia could take action against Sophos for publishing guidance on how to obtain information which has been "blacked out" by choice of the provider.

    For once, I have to say, BOO! SOPHOS, BOO! :(

    • Umm... Wikipedia itself tells you how to get around the blackout..
      https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/English_Wikipedia...

      • Andrew · 958 days ago

        Hi Graham,

        Yes, but note the section:

        The community has asked us to preserve emergency access options. The following methods will remain available to access content.

        Can you really say that what you and your site is doing is in the spirit of an "emergency"?

        Really?

        • Wile E Coyote · 958 days ago

          Andrew, you can't have it both ways. Either you are for a free internet with access to information (as long as it's legal), or you are not. If you are for a free internet, the you should also support the publication of ways to work around the Wikipedia blackout.

          The more publicity this gets the better, whether or not Wikipedia is accessible through a workaround is not the point. In order to get there, the user is made aware of the issue at hand.

          Additionally, Sophos are quite right in saying that this gives the ideal opportunity for people who would otherwise not know the opportunity to learn about the issue and to increase their browsing security.

  10. Pro-InternetFreedom · 958 days ago

    Not quite understanding the purpose of the "protest" anyway. Showing your disapproval of SOPA/PIPA by doing exactly what they are wanting to do in the first place? That's almost like the gov't trying to ban all bully dog breeds and people "protesting" by putting their dogs to sleep. WTH people? Does anyone else think this is ass-backwards?

    • David Pottage · 958 days ago

      The point of the protest is to push SOPA/PIPA up the news agenda.

      In the states, all the TV networks are owned by pro SOPA parent companies, and up untill now there has been a defacto news black out on the subject. (Probably not from an officaial policy, but more likey because individual news editors are self censoring based on what they think their bosses want to be in the news).

      With the news blackout there has been little debate on the legislation outside the tech media. This protest should create mainstream news stories and widespread debate.

    • Richard · 958 days ago

      The purpose is to raise awareness by demonstrating what the Internet will be like if the legislation passes. Without it, a lot of people would just assume that the government knows best, and wouldn't understand the problems until it's too late.

    • Machin Shin · 958 days ago

      Ok so you are against the idea of the site blacking out in protest. How about suggesting another action these sites could take that would get the attention of the internet like this has. What could they do to promote free internet and draw attention to their cause? Today is a warning of things to come if the government continues on its current path.

    • Richard · 958 days ago

      Well, if corporations are already in control, this is all a waste of time and they'll get what they are after anyway. We're just granting their wish for a few days.

      Besides, telling DNS providers to drop links to all SOPA supporters is a little criminal being that businesses/corporations are paying for uptime and reliability (versus the voluntary blackout where there's no real liability). That would get the point across, but also make supporters want to legislate Internet backbone technology further.

  11. Graham, you're a funny man, but nothing you have said or written has made me laugh more than some of the comments on this blog post!

  12. antidote, the last · 958 days ago

    Very clever! Isn't it kind of obvious that blackout was a simple js and wikipedia was just trying to give out the message? Do you think they didn't had better ways to put a blackout if they really wanted?

    You make posts like this and ruin the purpose. Thanks.

  13. puddingsan · 958 days ago

    Some people just don't seem to get it, do they? Noses too close to the screen maybe, so step back a little and see the bigger picture! Spreading awareness in whatever context is the common objective here. So long as people like ourselves are aware what is going on in the corridors of power and the implications for us all. So whether it be via workarounds, images on Facebook, Twitter statuses, it's all good. the word is being spread.

  14. Phil · 958 days ago

    In Opera it's even easier - F12, untick "enable javascript". If you want, you can go to site preferences and permanently disable javascript for a given site.

  15. Adam · 958 days ago

    Graham..umm..your head might fall of your shoulders soon if it gets any bigger

  16. 21_abad · 958 days ago

    We also can read the cached page ...

  17. gilseg · 958 days ago

    I found that dropping the "en" in the URL works for me... http://www.wikipedia.org/

  18. Trevor · 958 days ago

    I don't agree with you posting this, but I support your ability to do so. The internet should be free to all to post what they have to post (minus some very very extreme circumstances). We do not need government policing the vast and dynamic interweb. They have my support when it comes to their black out. You have my support when it comes to posting information.

  19. Paul · 958 days ago

    Wouldn't it be great if EVERYONE who used one of the methods to avoid Wikipedia's blackout would also contact their representative to express how important it is that SOPA and PIPA be stopped?

  20. I must say I am very unimpressed and deeply disappointed and the utter lack of support a very reputable company like Sophos in presenting this workaround.

    While it may be up to the individual or organization to offer temporary alternatives to access content while their protest is being made I think this article diminishes the importance of the Stop SOPA message by reducing it to an "inconvenience" that needs to be worked around.

    The "Going Dark" message is not meant to be a challenge for people to get around because it spoils their Internet experience. It is an important message that people NEED TO READ to understand the huge violation of free speech that is SOPA.

    While I will continue to read and appreciate much of Sophos' content this has left a black mark on their reputation for me.

    • Sorry you feel like that.

      I think it's a little unfair to say that Naked Security is offering an "utter lack of support" for the those protesting about SOPA.

      We've written a number of times about SOPA/PIPA, and our writers have made clear that they are not fans of the legislation.

      I don't think anyone learning about how to access Wikipedia from this article will be unaware of the current controversy around SOPA.

      *Plus* it gives us the opportunity to suggest people look at NoScript, and other solutions for controlling what scripts get run in their browser. Which is surely a good thing for security awareness.

      • MMM · 958 days ago

        I agree with Graham that a lack of support doesn't directly address the issue; however, I disagree with the idea of justifying the workaround as a vehicle to promote security awareness. That particular statement has nothing to do with freedom of speech, but is used to lessen the impact of an otherwise unresolved argument. Clearly other avenues of opportunity exist to create security awareness that are not so "controversial."

        Moreover, I've always thought of no-script as a method to prevent unwanted traffic, and not a means to circumvent measures what might be understood as a positive approach to creating awareness about a very important issue.

        Finally, in general, awareness doesn't always resolve to someone actually caring about the topic. Because a work-around is provided, it does suggest that though Sophos is "aware" of the issue, they have made the choice to "avoid" the issue and continue to use Wikipedia. That act, in and of itself, sends a message.

  21. Mike_UK · 958 days ago

    SOPA and PIPA are applicable to the USA ONLY and they should not try to apply their laws/regualtions outside of their jurisdiction. I support the protest whole heartedly. The USA is NOT the 'world' as they seem to think.

    • Topher · 958 days ago

      Mike,

      I agree 100% with you. I'm an American but the internet is not just us. It's the WORLD wide web. I think our government is completely wrong once again attempting to control things beyond their jurisdiction. SOPA and PIPA will cripple the internet but too many Americans are ignorant to that fact, so maybe if other nations started to speak up the U.S government might snap out of it.

  22. Furry · 958 days ago

    I am sad that Sophos chose to post this workaround. YES, wiki has told you how to work around it. BUT if people clicked on the link wiki posted on the blackout page, they would have had to read about SOPA before getting down to the workaround. I am on a forum which has blacked out a lot of things for today - and asked people to sign the petition.

    There is a HUGE thread there. About half the 250-odd supportive posters (so far) were not even aware of the issue, were appalled and signed the petition. The people pushing for SOPA are media moguls among others and have been keeping it all very quiet.Telling people how to get around this means that they won't know what is at stake here.

    Shame on you, Sophos.

    • I'm glad that Wikipedia includes information about SOPA, and I'm sure that their blackout will raise awareness of the issue to many more internet users.

      Similarly, I included a link to the BBC News site where SOPA is discussed. *And* we've written about SOPA/PIPA before.

      So I don't think we're hiding from anyone the SOPA controversy here.

      We're just having a bit of cute fun explaining how a security add-on can actually help you access Wikipedia today. Which is nice to know, especially if you have to hand in an essay about Tess of the d'Urbevilles in to your English Lit lecturer the morning..

  23. David Parreira · 958 days ago

    Google cached page does the trick in a easier way... Never the less if the page / site is under protest you should not teach ways to bypass it.

  24. Soothslayer · 958 days ago

    Willingly withholding knowledge is criminal. Protesting SOPA, PIPA, global conflict or any other event by envoking the very censorship you're trying to prevent is a complete logic fail. Grats to immature knee jerk reactions to public policy that has NO WAY of passing (read as President veto) but instead harms millions by withholding information and knowledge.

    Workarounds indeed and I expect the world will now envoke their own around Wikipedia in its entirety just in case it becomes unavailable again. As the information contained within is public property I encourage those that are able to mirror the Wikepedia content now in case this radical and irrational group decides on additional action such as intentional misinformation, censorship and rolling blackouts.

    Yeah we get the point, the Wikipedia community is irrational and behaves contradictary to what we all thought it's mission was: free and widely available information

    • sharpear · 958 days ago

      Technically Wikipedia is not public property. It is owned by Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Yes anyone can update and change content, but that does not make it public property.

      They are not withholding information, as everything located on Wiki was obtained from other sources. Also your statement of "Willingly withholding knowledge is criminal" is also false, because it seems I know things you don't. And yes I willingly withhold that knowledge from you, which is not a crime. Your government also "Willingly withholds information from you". That point only refers to police investigations.

    • Sharpear · 958 days ago

      If the SOPA or PIPA where to pass, the Government would be able to control what companies could put up websites, and be able to shut down any site that conflicts with what the government wants. I believe that wiki has done the right thing to make everyone aware that our government wants to limit our knowledge. Wiki is one of the greatest sources of information, and if these rules pass, not only could the government demand truth and knowledge be removed from the site, but could also demand who posted that information, and remove them as well.

      With the number of hits that wiki gets a day it gives lots of people awareness that don't follow politics and never knew that the US government is trying to gain control of internet information. If SOPA and PIPA where to pass sites like Wikipedia would no longer exist.

  25. Roger · 958 days ago

    "I must say I am very unimpressed and deeply disappointed and the utter lack of support a very reputable company like Sophos in presenting this workaround."
    Today it's a shame to be a Sophos Partner!

    • Sharpear · 957 days ago

      If not mistaken the work around was posted directly on the Wikipedia site. But that would have required people to read.

  26. Mike Urbanski · 958 days ago

    The mobile version of Wikipedia is not blocked. I can still browse facts on my phone.

    • Mike_UK · 958 days ago

      I trust you filter any information gleaned from Wikipedia as it is known to contain significant inaccuracies and false information as well as some useful stuff. Much of the content is created by individuals who think they know, but in my experience with some selected areas it is dangerously misleading or plain wrong. I found information about Radio Rentals that was so inaccurate as to lead readers to think it was an Australian company only whereas it started in 1931 in Brighton, Sussex. (I worked for them for 25 years so know a little about it.)
      So be sceptical of what you read anywhere on the internet and always check sources carefully.

  27. Dear Sophos, what is the point of protesting against SOPA when you guys present a workaround. I mean seriously, it's just 24 hours. In that time, people could take a few minutes to learn about the series effects the bill could have on the Internet as a whole. Instead you all want to bypass the whole idea of protesting just to get some hits. You all sound just like GoDaddy, pretending to protest without actually doing any good. Shame on you.

    • We (outside the US) are unable to contact out representiatives in the US gov as we have none... should we really be affected by a blackout that we have nothing to do with?

    • How about college students who is due to turn their term papers in a few days and ned the info from Wikipedia?

      • Have you heard of a college or public library?

        • The closest library is in town and its closed by now. If you know a library open 24 hours tell me!

          • I'm sorry to hear that. There are other sources of online material though. Google still works, why not start there.

      • Mrs. W · 958 days ago

        A diploma from any college that permits students to use Wikipedia as a source for papers and doesn't teach them how to find other (online and meatspace) resources isn't worth its salt. It's useful for getting an overview on topics, but that's about it. Most institutions of higher education and public library systems give their students online access to article databases anyway.

        I strongly disagree with SOPA, but the thing that the Wikipedia blackout has shone a light on that disturbs me more is our utter lack of adaptability and overreliance on a tiny toolset.

        This, to me, is what the hacker (in the initial sense of the word) spirit is about. You put an obstacle in my way? Ok, I'll find a route around it. Wikipedia's not available today? Meh. The information exists elsewhere.

        Decentralization is what the Internet was created for, and we've gone and taken that beautiful structure and plunked down a bunch of closed, stingy information silos (like Facebook) on top of it.

        If people weren't so passive and dependent, SOPA wouldn't have gotten as far as it has. . .

      • Mrs. W · 958 days ago

        A diploma from any college that permits students to use Wikipedia as a source for papers and doesn't teach them how to find other (online and meatspace) resources isn't worth its salt. It's useful for getting an overview on topics, but that's about it. Most institutions of higher education and public library systems give their students online access to article databases anyway.

        I strongly disagree with SOPA, but the thing that the Wikipedia blackout has shone a light on that disturbs me more is our utter lack of adaptability and overreliance on a tiny toolset.

        This, to me, is what the hacker (in the initial sense of the word) spirit is about. You put an obstacle in my way? Ok, I'll find a route around it. Wikipedia's not available today? Meh. The information exists elsewhere.

        Decentralization is what the Internet was created for, and we've gone and taken that beautiful structure and plunked down a bunch of closed, stingy information silos (like Facebook) on top of it.

        If people weren't so passive and dependent, SOPA wouldn't have gotten as far as it has. . .

        • Mark · 957 days ago

          Wikipedia often provides links to legitimate references; that's where it comes in useful to students.

  28. Daniil · 958 days ago

    I am quite sure that with such workarounds, you do not deserve the name SOPHOS (wise).
    I would suggest to change it in SOPHIST.

  29. Teressa · 958 days ago

    What is a script anyway???

  30. What an a$$! For ONE DAY websites black out to protest to stand up for our Freedom of Speech and you jerks - who may directly benefit from the protest - post on line about how to avoid it altogether. I'll never be back to this web site.

    • Not everyone is in the US and can contact their US gov representative... Why should we be affected by the collatoral damage of a global (english language) blackout when many other parts of the site are still operational?

    • Tom · 958 days ago

      Oh, well... More server resources and bandwidth for people like me who check this site on a regular basis... :)

      Besides, if SOPA is passed, we'll be doing stuff like this all the time anyway, so we might as well get used to it!

  31. I find it interesting that almost everyone on here seems to ignore the fact that there is a massive amount of collatoral damage with th blackout. SOPA will make zero difference in some parts of the world but these users are still being impacted with the blackout. (Yes, I know you can argue that if SOPA/PIPA passes then these users would also be hit by these same services falling to SOPA)

    As a UK citizen I am not represented by the US gov and if the goal of these sites was to get people to message their representative, then by blocking it for me they gain little. Surely it would have made far more sense to Geo-target the block so only US users are affected.

    • A. Ol · 958 days ago

      Lets bet how long it will take after the US have SOPA/PIPA in place the UK will get a 1:1 copy of it. Less than 6 months or less than 12 months?

      aol

      • Mark · 957 days ago

        The Euro parliament has already posted its objections to SOPA-style remedies to copyright problems.

  32. Alex · 958 days ago

    Look, folks, Sophos is merely pointing out that which the rest of us capable internet users would figure out anyway. There's nothing wrong with circumventing the blackout: wikipedia doesn't want to hinder your access to information, just make sure you understand what's at stake concerning these pieces of legislation. However, I am a regular follower of Sophos, and am appalled at the paltry amount of coverage which they have devoted to SOPA and PIPA. Whether you're American or not these laws, if passed, will have far-reaching consequences, into Europe and beyond. So get with program and stop your petty quarrels on comment boards.

  33. Sizzle69 · 958 days ago

    In hindsight perhaps some advice to nekkid sekuritee readers detailing how to find Wikipedia's workaround would have been a better approach??

    Oh well, nevermind. I'm sure they'll get over it.

    The block is important as it highlights the issue as widely as possible (it is the World Wide Web after all). It's not like the UK Government haven't followed the US blindly into matters of *ahem* "national security" before.

  34. not obvious · 958 days ago

    Graham -
    now you've stepped in it. I like the article, as you are doing what security folks do - figuring out how something works. The comments, unfortunately, show that many of your readers don't appreciate you thinking like a security researcher. They are not seeing past the surface.

  35. Solenoid · 958 days ago

    This is the heaviest posted article I've seen here. It's a shame that most posters don't seem to understand either your intent, your message, or your collective opposition to the legislation. I do not address my comments to the detractors (what purpose to stoke a fire?). Mr. Cluley's post does not defeat, or deflate, or depreciate, or even effect an online protest at all.

    Today I went to Wikipedia and was shocked that media was talking about a black out, and all I saw was the normal site, with a message at the top about SOPA/PIPA. I wondered what was going on. I've used NoScript for amazing browser security for a long time. Then I found your article: bingo! Thank you very much for clearing this up for me.

    You're so right about NoScript. The rest of this post is a little rant about my love for it. It is amazing for controlling trusted sources of cross-site content, but only if you are savvy enough to know who to trust or not. I deployed this to a Facebook user at my company with explanation and instruction, but all he did was disable all blocks and use things normally. The net result was as if I hadn't installed it at all.

    NoScript prevents most (unsure if really all, but not overselling this) click-jacking tactics, and all unwanted popups. To me that is worth a couple of extra clicks when I log into a site, normally to allow the login script to function. I know that what I browse comes from the sources that I allow, and that most behavior trackers 'got nothin on me.'

    There is always uncertainty that a link actually directs to content that it describes (see also: rickroll), and I like the extra permissions involved: for example, a PDF file opening in my browser just needs one more click (anywhere in window) to view it after confirming that I did expect to find a PDF file. The potential embeds in PDF and other files call for NoScript to apply the exercise of permission instead of passive victimization, if a user is able to easily determine trust.

  36. Sean Marsh · 958 days ago

    Graham you should stop blogging kiddy stuff and blog more meaty , technical stuff as most of your readers are security community.

    • Mark · 957 days ago

      Most readers are ordinary computer users interested in securing their computers. That's who this blog is aimed at.

  37. Roland · 958 days ago

    "The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it" why should this be any less true in the case of today's self-censorship?

  38. Miguel C · 958 days ago

    Missing the point, you're doing it right.

  39. tyler · 958 days ago

    Or 2 steps: 1. Click wikipedia page you want. 2. Click 'x' to stop loading the page before the SOPA protest comes up

  40. A. Ol · 958 days ago

    So, lets see:

    We have 4 postings regarding SOPA/PIPA:
    "SOPA undermines security while not solving any problems" by Chester Wisniewski - see above

    "Controversial SOPA bill gets more heat from internet giants YouTube, Google and Wikipedia" by Carole Theriault -

    "Anonymous bullies Sony and Nintendo over SOPA support" by Lisa Vaas -

    "Reddit joins anti-SOPA internet blackout" by Lisa Vaas -

    None from Graham and only Lisa has a clear position on SOPA and gives advice.

    Where is the problem to add a clear statement at this posting as well?

    Where is the problem to add it after people (customer?) wrote "irritated" comments?

    Where is the problem to call it censorship in this posting as well?

    Where is a statement of Sophos itself?

    How about a black banner (like on HackerNews from YC) and a reflective comment about it?

    This is a lame posting regarding SOPA and PIPA, its just shows that you have no balls. It's disappointing.

    You can also recommend NoScript for nakedsecurity.sophos.com: it blocks 49 unnecessary scripts, tracker, web bugs...

    aol

    • markstockley · 958 days ago

      To be fair to Chester I think he was _crystal_ clear about his position on SOPA.

      M.

    • Did you read Chet's post from last November?
      http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2011/11/22/sopa-a...

      He damned SOPA to hell and back, and much more eloquently than I could have done. So, although you may think my post didn't deliver an effective attack on SOPA/PIPA (which wasn't its intention of course), hopefully you can go back and read Chet's and feel better about things.

      • A. Ol · 958 days ago

        Yeah, I read it (multiple times).

        And in my first draft of my rant I made a comment about it (you see still the "see above" pointing to nowhere - I forgot to delete it...).

        Chester wrote mainly about DNS and the technical implications and at the end he made the true statement that SOPA will not prevent piracy but "helping to protect a few multi-billion dollar media companies" - which is true but enough IMHO.

        I'm disappointed about lack of support, lack of explanation to the audience what SOPA/PIPA will do to the internet and a missing statement with all your heart that all that malware and trojan horses this blog is about are chickenfeed compared what "they" plan to do with the internet...

        Graham, you are well known, thousands of people read your statements, the scene listens up when you explain stuff. I like that blog and therefore I have to tell you that you missed the chance. Mentioning NoScript while we talk about SOPA is lame, explaining a Wikipedia workaround while they started a new kind of protest is lame, the missing (non-tech) statement from Sophos is lame.

        At least there is an open and controversial discussion here, that means hope and is not lame.

        aol

  41. Richard Hodgson · 958 days ago

    Additionally, in response to some of the comments: The blackout is designed to raise awareness of SOPA/PIPA, it's not meant to be some form of punishment for users that they absolutely shouldn't be able to get past. Hell, if you're reading this blog, you're probably already at least somewhat aware already, so nothing is really lost from telling readers how to install a script blocker.

    This is also an interesting demonstration overall: Wikipedia decided to protest internet censorship in the form censoring themselves for a day to raise awareness of why this is A Bad Thing. The result of this is that the tech savvy found a way to bypass the block, and only those without the knowledge to do so find themselves blocked off, it doesn't bode well for any technical censorship solutions that may be implemented by the authorities.

  42. Myles · 958 days ago

    Thank you for posting this.

    To those raging against the post above, you do realise that this is possibly a subtle commentary on how putting blackouts in things, and how easily it can be routed around.. least that's how I see it.

    Wikipedia have made a bold move with this, Naked Sec's blog has posted a workaround to the blackout.. pretty much exactly how I imagine it would work if these stupid, ill-thought out policies were successful.

    I'd say we're seeing a nice example of this whole mess displayed right here and now.

  43. Matt B · 958 days ago

    give the author a break, ok so telling people a workaround defeats the purpose of the protest etc. We all get that. Now, most, if not all readers of this blog will understand the SOPA/PIPA stuff and also understand the reasons for the blackouts. He has suggested a very useful security add-on which I have used fior a long time. I cannot recall a reason for enabling js on Wikipedia so for me I would not get the blackout page anyway. Your time would be better spent telling friends and family about the bill and the consequences, rather than ranting at the author. Bear in mind that even if you do not live in the US these bills will affect you, there are countries (the UK and others) which blindly follow the big ol' USofA with regard to a lot of matters of 'national security'. And yeah it is only 24hrs this time.

  44. Devin · 958 days ago

    Correct me if I am wrong, but if Wikipedia was actually going for a full blown out blackout of the information on their website, then they would have acheived it. It appears the purpose is to spread awareness, not completely blackout their whole website, hence the ability to work around it, let alone even their own post on how to do it.

    If anything, I think this was a hugely intelligent way of doing it as on my drive to work today, I heard 2 radio stations talking about how to workaround it (providing free advertising for wikipedia, the issue, and even the info on what you need to do). In fact it wasn't until this article that I finally decided to go check it out for myself (seeing it is a major company talking about it) setting me forward in action to the information I would need if I had not done it already. So I personaly give kudos to Wikipedia, kudos to the radio stations, and kudos to Graham for supplying the advertising that leads people through their own curiousity and ingenious design of Wikipedia to the main issue and information needed at hand.

  45. Robert · 958 days ago

    I wrote about a simpler way this morning (GMT+1), you don't have to use any plugin or change any settings... =)
    https://plus.google.com/u/1/101372835757809463996...

  46. Some other ways: Enter this in the address bar

    javascript:$('body').children().show();

    or just append

    ?banner=0

    at the end of the wiki page link.

  47. 4caster · 958 days ago

    Sophos's help in circumventing Wikipedia's withdrawal of a service does not undermine Wikiipedia's valid protest. On the contrary, it draws attention to the protest.
    If railway workers were on strike, it would be quite in order to advise travellers about alternative bus services. That would not amount to taking sides in a dispute.

  48. Andrew · 958 days ago

    I thought the readers of this blog would be a little smarter than the average user. I thought it would be understood that most of the people who frequent this page would know all too well about SOPA/PIPA and that all of them would support the action being taken by Wikipedia and others today.

    I would think that knowing this would also lead to an understanding that SPOHOS posting a workaround has zero impact on the point they are trying to make. Most people here would have seen it was a script and been able to block it without instruction. Some might not have even noticed it because they are running noscript by default. Wikipedia themselves posted a work around because they knew actually taking the site down would have been bad even though setting up a redirect would have been so much easier.

    At best this information is already understood and totally irrelevant to the people who have read it today. At worst it has shown up in the results of people who googled "how to get around the wiki blackout" and helped a few people too ignorant to know better. Either way the point about SOPA and PIPA being bad would have been made in almost all cases.

    To those of you questioning why they chose to "black out"

    They were trying to demonstrate what these acts will do to the internet if they are passed. Wiki/reddit etc were saying "if you like using our site tell them to cut this crap out because if these acts go through then we will be forced off the internet"

    It was not flawed logic, it was a demonstration of what these acts could do to the wibbly wobbly web.

  49. Duck · 958 days ago

    I cannot believe the comments I see here. The purpose for the blackout is to bring attention to the importance of FREE SPEACH and yet so many think restricting access to Wikipedia is a good thing and they want to restrict the comments by sophos also. Are you people brain dead?

  50. Madness · 958 days ago

    I'm amazed to read comments that Sophos shouldn't have published such as article. As long as people are aware of the anti-piracy news the mission was accomplished. If anything this just spreads the news further. Workarounds to get at the content is neither here nor there. At least a few people might have learned something about how to disable JavaScript.

  51. Colin - Surrey UK · 958 days ago

    Its Really Simple
    I use internet explorer and Wikipedia pages load but are then redirected
    I simply click STOP on the end of the URL address bar to stop the page redirecting and have had no problems using Wikipedia

  52. Colin · 958 days ago

    Sophos have hardly made an amazing revelation - anybody with half a clue knows how to get round the Wikipedia redirect - The people at Wikipedia are clever enough to also know about it and obviously intended it to be that way - If wikipedia really wanted to stop people accessing the website then they could of and would of simply blocked it

  53. Sharp · 958 days ago

    Or you could use the other languages and google translate, even though there is not as much data as the English version though.

  54. Your workaround is illegal in the EU under the Infosec Directive, and I presume in the US too under whatever law Sony uses against people that bypass technical measures. I also believe in some countries it is illegal to inform others how to bypass technical measures.

    You should not be encouraging people to break the law.

    Soothslayer, 6.7 billion of us did not vote for the people writing legislation that effects the entire planet (and beyond). Where have you been the last decade? There are plenty of Wikimedia mirrors around, including ones breaking Copyright law that don't attribute who wrote the articles.

    I'm fairly sure the consensus reached on Wikipedia involved a lot more people than however many sit in Congress and Senate combined. Oh, look up WP:CON when the protest is over and have a read of that and related articles. Wikipedia is not public property, it is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. and the text is available under a CC-by-SA license - non-attribution is against copyright laws and therefore the content does not belong to the public.

    • Wile E Coyote · 958 days ago

      Sorry to disappoint you, but you do not hold sway on what is legal and illegal. That is for the courts to decide.

      In counter argument, I would suggest you right click on the Wikipedia home page and inspect the source code of the page that your machine has just downloaded viz:.

      Nick Drake (1948–1974) was an English singer-songwriter and musician, .......

      There is nothing hidden, nor blocked, all the information that is normally present on the home page is still there. Today's article is perfectly readable.

      The information is simply obfuscated by your browser. If you choose to run your browser in a more secure manner, the obfuscation is not implemented.

  55. Tommy · 958 days ago

    How to circumvent reddit blackout?

  56. Martin · 957 days ago

    This is a excellent article on an analysis of SOPA and PIPA Protest "Blackout" HTML and CSS techniques. http://www.hanselman.com/blog/AnAnalysisOfSOPAAnd...

  57. wikipedia hater · 957 days ago

    information isn't free and Wikipedia isn't either - its also very over rated and incredibly inaccurate - if it went altogether would it be missed? I very much doubt it.
    Another pointless protest with no impact on the average person.

  58. Graham, it was the right thing to do to publish this. Don't let these insignificant sensationalist apocalyptic sharing addicts turned self-proclaimed freedom fighters get through to you.

  59. Occulter · 763 days ago

    A new, much simpler add-on called QuickJava 1.8.0 is now available. It places the following toggle buttons in the Add-on Bar:

    JS - JavaScript
    J - Java
    F - Flash
    SL - SilverLight
    C - Cookies
    I - Images
    A - Animated Images
    CS - CSS/Style Sheets
    P - Proxy

    They turn from blue to red when toggled off.

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Send Graham an email, subscribe to his updates on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and App.net, and circle him on Google Plus for regular updates.