Russia Accidentally Hacks Its Own Internet

The latest Kremlin attempt to clamp down on Russians’ online activity and spy on its own citizens resulted in thousands of web sites becoming unavailable to Russian residents.

Almost 16 million IP addresses belonging to Amazon and Google became unavailable to Russians. Many of these IP addresses were used by online services that pay Amazon or Google to host web sites in the Amazon or Google data centers. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of web sites became unavailable to Russian residents, including some of the Russian government’s own sites. While it is humorous to realize this happened to the Russians, similar actions could happen in any country where the government wishes to spy on its own citizens.

Last Friday, a Russian court ruled against the encrypted messaging app Telegram for refusing to grant Russian authorities access to its chats. (See http://bit.ly/2F39OSi for my earlier articles about Telegram, a privacy-enabled text messaging and telephone app.) Telegram argued that it was technically unable to do this, as the chats are encrypted on users’ devices. The government countered that Telegram should then rewrite the app’s software to make it possible. Telegram refused.

On Monday, the Russian government began efforts to block access to Telegram. That started a chain of events that interfered with businesses and organizations throughout Russia. Many other web services besides Telegram became unavailable.

However, the blockages failed to prevent most Russian users from accessing Telegram.

Details may be found in an article by Kimberly Zenz in The Daily Beast web site at https://thebea.st/2HiENf1.

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