Since the start of the war in Ukraine on February 24, Russian authorities have tried to island their country’s internet and cut its ties with the global internet. Almost 400 news websites, 138 financial sites, 93 anti-war sites and three social media platforms were blocked. according to Top10VPN.com.

As the number of blocked sites increased, many Russians turned to VPN companies — which connect users on one country’s censored internet to a server in another country where there are fewer restrictions — as bridges out of Moscow’s shrinking internet. After Russia invaded Ukraine, VPN companies say the number of Russian users has skyrocketed. VPN firm Windscribe told WIRED that nearly a million people have signed up from Russia since the war began, 20 times the usual rate. Another provider, Psiphon, said the number of daily active users in Russia jumped to over 1.1 million immediately after Instagram’s suspension, before leveling off at 650,000.

But VPN…



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