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Russian websites blocked by Ukraine – time for plan B

Russian websites blocked by Ukraine – time for plan B

Update 5/22/2017

While first assumed otherwise the Ukrainian government won’t punish the usage of a VPN. This means that in order to reach blocked services such as VKontakte or Yandex a VPN can be used free of consequence.


Original article

Ukraine and Russia are both moving to restrict their population’s access to websites and information from the “other” side. The moves will restrict their population’s ability to access politically unacceptable content in the short term. Over time, these changes may even criminalize their citizens’ use of tools such as a VPN to circumvent this information blockade.

Playing chicken Kiev

On the Ukrainian side of the border, President Petro Poroshenko signed a decree on May 16 that increased sanctions on nearly five hundred Russian-owned organizations.

In addition to financial institutions and some news sites, the sanctions hit social media networks, online services – even a Russian antivirus producer or two. Some of the impacted IT firms include the VKontakte and Odnoklassniki social media networks and the Yandex search engine.

Split opinion, VPN scores a knockout

The decision has split opinion within the Ukraine as the banned sites are commonly used within the country but are still seen by some as weapons of misinformation from the Kremlin.

No information yet on how the Ukrainian government plans to enforce this ban. It can be assumed that they would, taking a note from China or Turkey, block access to these services at the ISP level or above. Moreover, the president of the Internet Association of Ukraine Alexander Fedenko said that the cost of blocking the Russian websites is around $ 1 billion and it will take about two years.

Either way, the move has sparked a large interest in VPNs within the country. As shown by Google Trends there is a spike in the number of local searches for VPNs and services that will help users hide their online identity and access geo-restricted content.

There are other options

VPNs regularly incur the wrath of the authorities that like an ordered world where people listen to what they should listen to, watch what they should watch – and look no further.

VPN is challenging that ordered view. By wrapping up a user’s communication in a secure encrypted envelope, VPN empowers users to have greater privacy against snoopers of all sorts and opens up the doors to geo-restricted content.

Getting into Avira Phantom VPN

As a full-fledged VPN, Avira Phantom VPN encrypts communication and web addresses point-to-point – without keeping logs of user activities.

Mandatory encryption – Phantom VPN encrypts everything and doesn’t settle for “approximate” or proxy VPN coverage which only forwards the message to a different virtual location.

DNS address book under wraps – Encrypts the names of sites that have been visited in addition to the communication.

Your choice of location – allows you to pick the virtual location opening up geo-restricted content regardless of what side of the border you are on.

Convenient – Available for Android, Mac, iPhones, and Windows.

Free to all users – Registered Avira Phantom VPN users have a data limit of 1GB/month. Users subscribing to the Pro version have unlimited data traffic.

*Phantom VPN users are recommended to connect to the nearest location (default setting) in order to have access to Russian websites.

Avira, a company with over 100 million customers and more than 500 employees, is a worldwide leading supplier of self-developed security solutions for professional and private use. With more than 25 years of experience, the company is a pioneer in its field.