Does Putin have the better hackers? Part 5 Cogent: cuts Internet connections for major Russian customers

Does Putin have the better hackers? Part 5 Cogent: cuts Internet connections for major Russian customers

10. March 2022 0 By Horst Buchwald

Does Putin have the better hackers? Part 5
Cogent: cuts Internet connections for major Russian customers

New York, 3/10/2022

One of the largest Internet backbone providers , Cogent Communications, has cut connections to Russian customers because of the invasion of Ukraine,. This is reported by several US media.

Cogent serves customers in 50 countries. Among them are a number of high-ranking Russian companies. Examples cited include: telecommunications giant Rostelecom, Russian search engine Yandex, and two of Russia’s largest mobile carriers: MegaFon and VEON.

Cogent cites “economic sanctions” as well as “the increasingly uncertain security situation.” . The backbone giant further said it had terminated contracts with Russian customers to comply with the European Union’s ban on Russian state-backed media.

Internet analyst Doug Madory believes the disconnection merely means a slower connection, but not a complete shutdown. This could lead to Russian customers turning to other providers, which could lead to congestion on those networks.

Digital rights activists have criticized Cogent’s decision to disconnect itself from Russia, arguing that it could prevent Russian civilians from accessing credible information about the invasion. “Cutting off Russians from Internet access cuts them off from independent news sources and the ability to organize anti-war protests,” Eva Galperin, director of cybersecurity at the digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation, said on Twitter.

Cogent CEO Dave Schaeffer countered that Cogent’s move was not aimed at “harming anyone,” and the company did not want to prevent Russian civilians from accessing the Internet. Cogent’s goal, he said, is to prevent the Russian government from using the company’s networks for cyberattacks and propaganda.

 

The Russian government has already made it harder for Russians to access news sources and social platforms. On Friday, it passed a new law banning “fake news” and blocked access to Facebook entirely. The country has also restricted access to Twitter and threatened to block Wikipedia for “fake news” about the war in Ukraine.

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