back to article Kremlin's war on Telegram sees 50 VPNs stopped at the border

Russia's telecom regulator Roskomnadzor has taken a more granular approach to its battle with Telegram: instead of deep-sixing IP addresses by the millions, it says it's blocked 50 VPN providers from landing traffic in the country. At the end of last week, the regulator's deputy head Vadim Subbotin told state newsagency TASS …

  1. MacroRodent Silver badge

    Good advertisement for it

    Got to check out that Telegram. It must be handling privacy properly, since so many authoritarian governements hate it.

    1. Insane Reindeer
      Thumb Up

      Re: Good advertisement for it

      Exactly what I was going to say.

    2. malle-herbert
      Facepalm

      Re: Good advertisement for it

      What's the Russsian word for 'Streisand effect' ?

      1. Ole Juul

        Re: Good advertisement for it

        "What's the Russsian word for 'Streisand effect' ?"

        Telegram effect.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Good advertisement for it

      Apparently not.

      1. MacroRodent Silver badge

        Re: Good advertisement for it

        Apparently not

        That answer is rather old, and there is a raging comment stream attached to it...

    4. David Roberts Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Good advertisement for it

      Streisand effect? Or Brer Rabbit?

      Brer Fox, don't throw me into the briar bush!

      Assume Russia has a way to crack the crypto and then think of the most effective way to encourage people with secrets to use it.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Good advertisement for it

        Assume Russia has a way to crack the crypto and then think of the most effective way to encourage people with secrets to use it.

        Unless everything Pavel Durov has done for the past decade has been a sham orchestrated to make him look like he was against Russia's government when he was really in cahoots with it, that seems pretty unlikely.

        If they were able to execute such a long term plan, then I'd say those of us who live in the US might want to start learning to speak Russian, as our moron-in-chief can't even plan the end of his sentence when he starts one so we have no chance!

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good advertisement for it

      Forget Russia, let's look closer to home, there is so much two-faced hypocrisy.

      The same people - #hashtag Amber Rudd, Boris Johnson etc (Johnson admitted to using Whatsapp in this way) wanting to ban end to end encrypted messaging, are the same Politicians that use WhatsApp group messaging (and more recently Telegraph), to form groups, to secretly conspire against other political groupings and colleagues.

      #Hashtag Rudd's 'blatant lies' that there were no targets and Theresa May's silence in the days after, then admitting there were targets in the Home Office under her watch;

      Do they even realise how fully encrypted end to end messaging protects THEM from their own lies and gaffs?

  2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    I translated bits from the Russian press last time

    I translated bits from the Russian press last time.

    This is from a rag that is not part of the opposition. What they said at the time is the best summary I have seen so far: This is not about censorship, this is our government mutilating the freedoms of the future generations

    One comment from there comes to mind: "Durov out of the blue produced something which Navalny has failed for all those years. He created a protest movement and one which is gaining momentum".

    That was quite clear last week - the one day notice demonstration in support of Telegram collected 3x times more supporters than the widely advertised (and financed by us by any means necessary) Navalny clown show.

    There are now even more vicious eviscerations coming out (some of them not translatable without access to a Russian edition of the profanisaurus) like this one: https://www.novayagazeta.ru/articles/2018/04/30/76338-o-perehode-na-uzelkovoe-pismo

    It will be interesting to watch. Anything else aside - this is what the likes of May have wanted for more than a decade now, so we are looking at what awaits us in a few years time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I translated bits from the Russian press last time

      "This is from a rag that is not part of the opposition. What they said at the time is the best summary I have seen so far: This is not about censorship, this is our government mutilating the freedoms of the future generations"

      This is nothing about fighting terrorism and everything about trying to monitor the population for signs of dissent and non-compliance.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I translated bits from the Russian press last time

        This is nothing about fighting terrorism and everything about trying to monitor the population for signs of dissent and non-compliance. . .

        ... and not forgetting monitoring for those ‘annoying’ externally funded color revolutions!

        How is Armenia getting on, are the snipers hired yet?

    2. Claptrap314 Silver badge

      Re: I translated bits from the Russian press last time

      ...

      There are now even more vicious eviscerations coming out (some of them not translatable without access to a Russian edition of the profanisaurus) like this one: https://www.novayagazeta.ru/articles/2018/04/30/76338-o-perehode-na-uzelkovoe-pismo

      ...

      Russian practically has a sub-language for cursing. Asking the right set of questions about more "interesting" curses was a sure way to get our Russian instructor to blush. College kids & their games.

  3. mark l 2 Silver badge

    It is suspicious that Roskomnadzo next target is Viber which i had never heard of until today, yet Whatsapp which is surely more popular and provides a similar function to Telegram is not mentioned. Perhaps the Kremlin have therefore broken the Whatsapp encryption and so are hoping that by targeting Telegram/Viber they can drive the users to switch to Whatsapp and then they can monitor their communications.

  4. Jess

    There is an obvious weakness in telegram

    Non secret messages are stored on their servers (as I understand, encrypted and striped across multiple jurisdictions, to require multiple court orders to be accessed).

    These are available to any logged in device, and the access by default requires a code from a text. A state could require a telco to intercept this and therefore gain access to the history. (But it can be configured to require a password too).

    (This wouldn't provide access to secret messages though.)

    Of course this weakness is because of its convenience for multiple device use. (ie friends and family with dumb or otherwise unsupported phones, can still use it on computers and tablets. It can be installed on a work phone, but with a personal number, avoiding the need to carry two phones, etc.)

  5. NotTrue
    Pint

    When they target telegram... use Signal instead :-D

    1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

      Or Threema. The weak point which all of these apps have is a single central server, making it a point of attack for the authorities.

      1. TheVogon Silver badge

        "The weak point which all of these apps have is a single central server, making it a point of attack for the authorities."

        No they generally have hundreds of cloud based servers. That are easy to spin up anywhere.

        1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

          OK I framed it wrong - obviously did not mean single server literally. They all rely on an easy to discover and block IP range(s) where the servers are hosted. As a workaround, Signal employs domain fronting, but they can not continue doing that.

          Perhaps we need a secure chat which employs distributed peer-to-peer user directory, but then it might become vulnerable to state manipulation (and interception) simply by brute force.

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