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[wlug] Russia Blocks Encrypted Email Provider ProtonMail

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Peter Reutemann fracpete@w...
Tue Mar 12 16:52:30 NZDT 2019

'Russia has told internet providers to enforce a block against
encrypted email provider ProtonMail, the company's chief has
confirmed. The block was ordered by the state Federal Security
Service, formerly the KGB, according to a Russian-language blog, which
obtained and published the order after the agency accused the company
and several other email providers of facilitating bomb threats.
Several anonymous bomb threats were sent by email to police in late
January, forcing several schools and government buildings to evacuate.

In all, 26 internet addresses were blocked by the order, including
several servers used to scramble the final connection for users of
Tor, an anonymity network popular for circumventing censorship.
Internet providers were told to implement the block "immediately,"
using a technique known as BGP blackholing, a way that tells internet
routers to simply throw away internet traffic rather than routing it
to its destination. But the company says while the site still loads,
users cannot send or receive email.

The way the KGB blocked ProtonMail is "particularly sneaky,"
ProtonMail chief executive Andy Yen said. "ProtonMail is not blocked
in the normal way, it's actually a bit more subtle. They are blocking
access to ProtonMail mail servers. So -- and most other
Russian mail servers -- for example, is no longer able to deliver
email to ProtonMail, but a Russian user has no problem getting to
their inbox."

"That's because the two ProtonMail servers listed by the order are its
back-end mail delivery servers, rather than the front-end website that
runs on a different system," adds TechCrunch.'

-- source:

Cheers, Peter
Peter Reutemann
Dept. of Computer Science
University of Waikato, NZ
+64 (7) 858-5174

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