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The Russian government just managed to hack itself

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posted on Apr, 19 2018 @ 02:01 PM
The Russian government just managed to hack itself

This story is pretty funny.

So Russia decided to ban a messaging service and ended up shutting down a slew of other Russian sites and Russian state websites. Here's how. First some background on the ban/censorship

Russia has a rich history of Internet censorship. The government’s “blacklist” of banned websites includes dozens of thousands of URLs, ranging from genuinely criminal online drug markets and illegal porn websites to opposition media and even LinkedIn.

But its latest attempt to impose a ban has turned into a farce. On Monday, following an earlier court order and a long legal battle, Russia’s state media watchdog Roskomnadzor announced that Telegram, a popular messenger service, would be blocked in Russia. Russian security services claim that the company’s strong encryption has made it a tool of terrorists.

I'm really not sure what the Russian government has against LinkedIn... Also why isn't Youtube or Twitter banned as terrorists use those outlets a lot too. Oh well. The story is that Telegram is now on the banned list. Except Telegram is most certainly still available in Russia and instead a bunch of other sites are banned.

Not only has the ban utterly failed to achieve its objective — at the time of this writing, Telegram remains available in Russia and is quickly gaining new users — but instead it’s harming dozens of entirely unrelated websites and online services.

Success! Wait no... So here's what happened.

Roskomnadzor has no powers to ban any websites on its own but rather, sends lists of IP addresses to Internet service providers, which are supposed to block them. As soon as the agency made its announcement, Telegram responded by shifting its operations to Amazon and Google’s cloud infrastructure, which Roskomnadzor then tried to ban in turn, blacklisting entire subnets containing millions of IPs. To disastrous effect: Thousands of Russian businesses, services and even parts of the country’s critical IT infrastructure depend on the same cloud servers as Telegram.

Whoops! Turns out that Telegram just moved its services to Amazon and Google cloud infrastructure which Russia in turn decided to ban.

Online stores, English language classes, cab services, streaming websites and dozens of other Web-based enterprises, both domestic and foreign, used daily by millions of Russians, are still struggling. Millions of rubles have been wiped out in lost revenue, and the affected businesses are planning to file a class-action suit against Roskomnadzor.

In a supreme touch of irony, just as Roskomnadzor director Alexander Zharov was claiming in an interview to RT, a state TV network, that no “socially relevant resources” had been affected by the ban, RT’s own video news agency, Ruptly, went offline for a few hours. Even RT Editor in Chief Margarita Simonyan, herself an avid Telegram user, is defiantly ignoring the ban.

It's pretty obvious what led to the ban too (hint: it wasn't terrorists using the site).

But Telegram’s defining feature is its “channels,” a proto-blogging platform that allows users to subscribe to popular authors. There are thousands of them, ranging from ultra-specialized outlets to massively popular political commentary, rumor mills and leak farms with hundreds of thousands of subscribers. There are even at least two Telegram channels allegedly run by insiders from the infamous St. Petersburg “troll factory.”

It’s a booming business, too: Last year Vedomosti, an independent business daily, reported that ads on the most popular channels cost as much as 450,000 rubles (about $7,400 at the current exchange rate).

The security services, which want to listen in on all this, demanded that the messenger give up its encryption keys. Durov declined, saying that his lawyers wouldn’t be taking part in the trial so as not to “justify this abject farce with our presence.”

But few, even the most vocal state loyalists, are buying the official argument. Terrorists use all kinds of communication means and services — are we supposed to ban them all for the sake of our safety? The answer seems to be a resolute no. Most agree that it’s Durov’s defiance that led to the ban.

Now since this is a conspiracy site, there is a conspiracy circulating around in Russia that this was deliberate to create plausible deniability for all the hacking mischief Russia has been accused of. Look. I believe that Russia has engaged in some insidious cyberwarfare, but I'm not stupid enough to believe that incompetent bureaucracy can't effect that country either.

posted on Apr, 19 2018 @ 02:59 PM
Seems quite embarrassing and a lot to lose, just to create a conspiracy of plausible deniability for accusations I haven't seen any proof of.

posted on Apr, 19 2018 @ 03:07 PM
Just as quickly as we build up white lists and black lists to block spammers, annoying full screen pop-up adverts, analytics and telemetry, all those websites move into the Amazon and Google clouds, accessible only via a secure encrypted channel. You know it's spyware, but there's no way of inspecting what is being sent back.

posted on Apr, 19 2018 @ 03:13 PM
That is hilarious.

I wonder just how much money was lost?

posted on Apr, 19 2018 @ 03:15 PM
Did you see their new postal drone?.

posted on Apr, 19 2018 @ 03:22 PM
"The Internet treats censorship as a malfunction and routes around it." - John Perry Barlow

posted on Apr, 19 2018 @ 03:39 PM
Well, we can be sure the people in charge of that project were not doing the hacking in this country. They probably would have knocked out facebook and Twitter and shut down their own embassy here.

posted on Apr, 19 2018 @ 03:44 PM
mmm I thought everything was purr fect in Russia. Freedom to do what your told.

posted on Apr, 19 2018 @ 03:57 PM
Finally, we can say, with full confidence, "the Russians did it!"

posted on Apr, 19 2018 @ 08:14 PM
Telegram was banned in Russia because they refused to provide Russia with the encryption so they could access messages.

As for what occurred - awesome and oh so hilarious.

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