Russia tries more precise technology to block Telegram Messenger



MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia is experimenting with more precise technology to block individual online services after an attempt to shut down the banned Telegram messaging service fails, but Moscow has yet to find a way to shut it down without touch other traffic.

Telegram, which has 200 million users worldwide and is popular in countries like Russia and Iran, has been banned in Russia because it refused to comply with a court order to allow services to security to access users’ encrypted messages.

Russian authorities began trying to block the service in April, but inadvertently blocked Russian users’ access to a host of independent online services, including voice calls on the Viber messaging service, apps based on the cloud for Volvo cars and applications controlling Xiaomi video cameras. .

Due to this setback, the attempt to block Telegram has been suspended and the service is still available to Russian users.

Since August 6, the Russian state communications watchdog Roskomnadzor and the state security agency FSB have been testing systems designed to allow more precise blocking of individual services, according to the report. a meeting between officials to discuss the plan.

Anton Pinchuk, co-owner of Russian tech company Protei, who the minutes said was invited to participate in the tests, confirmed to Reuters that the tests were taking place. He said his company refused to participate.

The previous attempt to block Telegram involved targeting internet protocol addresses operated by Amazon, Google, and others that hosted Telegram traffic. The problem was that these IP addresses often also hosted traffic for several other services that were also affected.

The systems tested now use a technology called Deep Packet Inspection. The technology works in a more surgical way, analyzing Internet traffic, identifying the data streams of a particular service and blocking them.

However, executives from two of the companies invited to participate said initial tests were inconclusive as services other than those targeted were still inadvertently blocked.

“So far, no one has passed the tests,” said one of the executives. They said testing was due to end on August 20, but the deadline has now been pushed back.

Roskomnadzor, responding to Reuters questions about the tests, said he had no information. The FSB did not answer questions, nor did Telegram founder, Russian tech entrepreneur Pavel Durov. Oleg Ivanov, Deputy Minister of Communications and Digital Development, declined to comment.

According to the document, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, nine Russian tech companies have been asked to submit their deep packet inspection technology for testing.

A source close to Roskomnadzor and one of the executives of a company invited to participate said that it was a question of choosing the most efficient technology, refining it if necessary, and then installing it on the networks of all Russian telecom operators.

Editing by Christian Lowe and Peter Graff



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