Since it began russian invasion in ukraine, the handling of information has unleashed a separate war between the government of Vladimir Putin and the rest of the world. Therefore, it is not surprising that those who live in Russia have adopted the use of tools to bypass the blockade of the main Western media.
According cloudflareRussian netizens They have chosen various tools to escape censorship and access news media from the UK, France and the US. The data is accompanied by statistics that show a marked increase in the use of software and applications to browse the web privately and without restrictions.
In other countries, the most downloaded iOS and Android apps in the first half of March were games and social networks. In Russia, on the other hand, the first place in the ranking went to WARP/220.127.116.11; we are talking about a DNS resource developed by Cloudflare itself, which exploded in popularity in Russian territory after the war in Ukraine broke out.
According to the information provided by said application, users who connected from Russia did so to avoid the official block and thus reach Western news media. The peak of use occurred a couple of weeks after the invasion began; since then there has been a drop, but its use continues at much higher levels than before the start of the war.
According to the data obtained, the use of utilities such as WARP/18.104.22.168 from Russia has allowed quintuple traffic towards a “recognized American newspaper”, to mention an example.
The war in Ukraine and the battle for information
Beyond what has happened with its own utility, Cloudflare also mentions the other applications that have been the most downloaded from the App Store and the Play Store since the Ukraine war began. They are mostly VPN and messaging services that allow private communications, such as Telegram.
It is clear that controlling the narrative of the Russo-Ukrainian conflict is something that goes beyond what happens on the battlefield. As well as the fact that not everyone in Russia agrees with what has been happening since the end of February on Ukrainian territory; and that there are not a few who seek a different point of view to that of Kremlin-sponsored outlets like RT and Sputnik.
Let us remember that since the invasion of the Russian military forces began, large platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Spotify banned the official Russian news media. In retaliation, the Putin government blocked access to the world’s most important social networks and even put pressure on those who edited the Wikipedia page dedicated to the war in Ukraine. Versions also circulated that Russia was being studied to completely disconnect from the Internet, something that has not happened so far (and that it is unlikely to happen).
Another interesting tidbit is that Cloudflare has detected—and blocked— a significant increase in DDoS attacks originating from Russian networks. And while he mentions that it is very difficult to attribute such cybersecurity threats because many are launched remotely, they have become a highly used resource during the Ukraine war.