Cogent Communications, an internet backbone provider that routes data over intercontinental connections, has cut ties with Russian customers due to the invasion of Ukraine, as first reported by The Washington Post† The US-based company is one of the world’s largest Internet backbone providers, serving customers in 50 countries, including several leading Russian companies.
In a letter to Russian customers obtained by: The mail, Cogent cited “economic sanctions” and “the increasingly precarious security situation” as the motives behind the total shutdown in the country. Convincingly told in the same way The edge that it “cancelled its contracts” with Russian clients in accordance with the European Union’s decision to ban Russian state-backed media.
As Doug Madory, an internet analyst at network tracking company Kentik, points out, some of the company’s most prominent Russian customers include state-backed telecom giant Rostelecom, Russian search engine Yandex and two of Russia’s largest mobile carriers: MegaFon and VEON.
Disconnecting Russia from Cogent’s global network will likely result in slower connectivity, but won’t completely disconnect Russians from the internet, Madory notes. Traffic from former Cogent customers will instead fall back to other backbone providers in the country, potentially leading to network congestion. There is no indication whether other internet backbone providers will also suspend services in Russia.
WTF convincing? By cutting off Russians access to the Internet, they are cut off from sources of independent news and the ability to stage anti-war protests. Don’t do Putin’s dirty work for him. https://t.co/uqbgOFYWX9
— Eve (@evacid) March 4, 2022
Digital rights activists have criticized Cogent’s decision to dissociate from Russia, arguing it could prevent Russian citizens from accessing credible information about the invasion. “By cutting off Russians access to the Internet, they are cut off from sources of independent news and the ability to stage anti-war protests,” said Eva Galperin, director of cybersecurity at the digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation. said on Twitter†
However, Cogent CEO Dave Schaeffer told: The mail that Cogent’s move is not intended to “hurt anyone,” and the company does not want to deny Russian citizens access to the Internet. Cogent’s goal is to prevent the Russian government from using the company’s networks for cyber attacks and propaganda, The mail reports.
The Russian government has already made it more difficult for Russians to access news sources and social platforms. On Friday, it passed a new law banning “fake news” and completely blocked access to Facebook. The country has also restricted access to Twitter and threatened to block Wikipedia for “false reports” about the war in Ukraine.