As the invasion of Ukraine continues, Russian citizens have turned to virtual private networks — boosting demand for the software by 27x — to circumvent the government's blocks on social media and news sites critical of the war.

Dark Reading, Staff & Contributors

March 17, 2022

1 Min Read
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Source: Alexander Supertramp via Shutterstock

Russian citizens seeking to continue using social media sites and accessing international news have caused the demand for virtual private network (VPN) services to spike by a factor of 27 on Monday and a factor of 16 on Tuesday, compared to the daily average in February, according to industry sources.

In early March, the Russian government severely limited the bandwidth of systems trying to access several social media services, including Facebook and Instagram, labeling the networks' parent company Meta an extremist organization for allowing calls of violence against the Russian government on the platforms. On March 11, Russia announced it would completely block Instagram.

Provider Atlas VPN saw a wave of new installations beginning on March 11, when the Russian government announced its decision to block Instagram. The surge peaked on March 14 with increase in installations of its product that reached 110 times the normal amount, says spokesman Edvardad Garbenis.

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