Roskomnadzor warned about the risks of using VPN services

Short description

Russia’s media regulator, Roskomnadzor, has warned citizens about the risks of using VPN services. This follows a series of public warnings from the Regional Community Center for Internet Technologies about the leak of personal data through VPN services. Roskomnadzor has stated that VPNs are illegal under Russian law, and that foreign owners of such services have access to all the information transmitted through them. The regulator has suggested users should check applications using antivirus programs before installation, avoid logging into accounts via VPNs, and deny applications access to location, device service information, microphone, and camera features.

Roskomnadzor warned about the risks of using VPN services

Roskomnadzor

warned

about the risk of using VPN services. The department made a statement after

release

public organization

ROCIT

(“Regional Community Center for Internet Technologies”) several videos in the format of social advertising about citizens who suffered from leaks of personal data, allegedly trusting VPN services.

“According to the law “On communication”, the means of bypassing the blocking of illegal content are recognized as a threat because they create conditions for illegal activity. VPN services can give users a false sense of their own anonymity online. However, foreign owners of such services have access to all the information that Russian users transmit through them,” the RKN explained.

Voluntarily provided personal data, financial information and passwords from accounts can become the subject of study for further use for fraudulent purposes, blackmail and other illegal actions directed against the users themselves or their environment.

Users of VPN services should consider the risks of compromising personal information.

Pay attention:

– Check the downloaded application with antivirus programs before installation.
— don’t use a VPN when logging into your accounts — from social media to banking apps.
— do not allow VPN applications to access location, service information about the device, microphone and camera”,

Roskomnadzor warned.

Previously, ROCIT released eight videos about the dangers of VPNs. The short videos warn that through the use of a VPN, the personal data and financial information of the user can be found out by anyone: from a courier and a seller in a store to a random person at a bus stop.

“VPN services accumulate a huge amount of personal data, including bank card information and personal documents of the user. Later, all this can be transferred to attackers and fraudsters, including to fraudulent call centers, and the VPN provider will bear much less risk than, for example, a large public company in a similar situation,” says ROCIT.

Examples of videos from ROCIT

On December 18, 2022, the head of the Ministry of Digital Affairs, Maksut Shadayev, during a meeting of the State Duma committee on information policy

stated

, that VPN services in Russia “do not take root”, and the share of users of VPN services among Russians has not been growing for some time. After a sharp surge in the summer, this parameter fell to the March-April level.

On December 12, Roskomnadzor commented to the mass media on the situation with the blocking of the Surfshark VPN service. The agency did not directly confirm that it had imposed restrictions, but reminded that in the Russian Federation, all VPN services that are not connected to the Federal State Information System (FSIS), which contains the register of prohibited information in the Russian Federation, are banned.

On December 11, 2022, the Surfshark VPN service stopped working in Russia. The desktop and mobile application (Android, iOS) and Chrome browser extension do not work. Users complain, that with a paid subscription they cannot connect to any of the countries presented in the application. The technical support of the service is unable to answer about the suspension of work in the Russian Federation.

On November 9, “Rostelecom” presented the communication operators of the Russian Federation, PD operators and state companies with a channel encryption service called “GOST VPN” for the construction and operation of secure networks. The “GOST VPN” solution allows you to organize secure interaction between geographically distributed objects in the regions of the country, which is implemented in accordance with the requirements of Russian data protection legislation.

On November 7, Kaspersky Lab announced the discontinuation of its Kaspersky Secure Connection VPN application on the Russian market.

At the end of October, the Ministry of Digital Affairs requested a report on the use of VPN services from a number of state-owned companies, state-owned corporations and large banks.

On October 11, the mass media reported that Roskomnadzor plans to limit access to a number of VPN services in the near future. The regulator intends to block CyberGhost VPN, McAfee VPN, QuarkVPN, UltraSurf VPN, VPN – Super Unlimited Proxy, ZenMate VPN, VPN Russia – Unblock VPN Proxy, VPNhub and a number of other VPN services.

On June 2, 2022, Roskomnadzor responded affirmatively to the notification about the blocking of the Proton VPN service. The department stated that the means of bypassing blocking are recognized as a threat in the Russian Federation and confirmed that within the framework of the law on the “sovereign” Runet, work is being done to block VPN services, including Proton VPN, which help bypass the blocking of content recognized as prohibited in the Russian Federation.

“According to the law “On communication”, the means of bypassing the blocking of illegal content are recognized as a threat. The Public Communications Network Monitoring and Management Center (CMU SSOP) is taking measures to limit the operation of VPN services on the territory of Russia that violate Russian legislation,” the RKN informed various media in response to a request regarding problems with access of users in Russia to Proton VPN service.

On September 3, 2021, Roskomnadzor blocked 6 VPN services: Hola!VPN, ExpressVPN, KeepSolid VPN Unlimited, Nord VPN, Speedify VPN, IPVanish VPN.

On June 17, 2021, Roskomnadzor introduced restrictions on the use of VPN services VyprVPN and Opera VPN. On the same day, Opera suspended the support of VPN services in its browsers on the territory of the Russian Federation for all users.

On March 27, 2019, according to Roskomsvoboda, the RKN sent requirements regarding the need to connect to the Federal State Information System (FSIS), which contains a register of information prohibited in the Russian Federation, to the owners of 10 VPN services for filtering traffic. Corresponding messages were sent to NordVPN, Hide My Ass!, Hola VPN, Openvpn, VyprVPN, ExpressVPN, TorGuard, IPVanish, VPN Unlimited and Kaspersky Secure Connection. They had 30 days to connect to the registry, otherwise Roskomnadzor may decide to block VPN services. On June 26, it became known that 9 out of 10 VPN services to which the request was directed are not going to do so, and countermeasures, alternatives to blocking, are being prepared. At that time, only the VPN service from Kaspersky Lab was connected to FSMU. At the end of March, VyprVPN wrote that the company refuses to cooperate with the RKN and comply with the department’s regulations.

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