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Radio News: Russia taking over Ukraine's internet access

Jun 20, 2022 11:33 pm

Matt Burgess reports for Wired that for an hour on May 30, there was no internet service in the city of Kherson in south Ukraine. There was not a bombing of a cell tower, or a warehouse of servers that day. Russia was taking over the internet then, switching to its service providers and online censorship, moving from KhersonTelecom to Miranda Media, a Crimea-based company. "Multiple Ukrainian ISPs are now forced to switch their services to Russian providers and expose their customers to the country’s vast surveillance and censorship network, according to senior Ukrainian officials and technical analysis viewed by Wired," Burgess wrote. Internet companies are being given a choice: reroute their connections under Russian control or shut down entirely. “We understand this is a gross violation of human rights,” Victor Zhora, the deputy head of Ukraine’s cybersecurity agency, said. “Since all traffic will be controlled by Russian special services, it will be monitored, and Russian invaders will restrict the access to information resources that share true information.” There are many media reports that Ukraine is doing well, holding off Russian invaders, but this story says the Russians are taking over not just land but infrastructure. In occupied regions of Ukraine around most of the 1,200 ISPs have been switched to Russian control. “We understand that most of them are forced to connect to Russian telecom infrastructure and reroute traffic,” Zhora said. The war in Ukraine has been fought on the radio waves, with Russia bombing Ukraine TV stations, using satellites for cyberattacks, and sending out misinformation on all sorts of frequencies. And Russia's System for Operative Investigative Activities is used to read people’s emails, intercept text messages, and surveil other communications. “They are afraid that the news about the progress of the Ukrainian army will encourage resistance in the Kherson region and facilitate real activities,” Zhora claims. Read more about this story at Wired.