Russian authorities spent $10 million on VPN services, but want to block them

Now VPN in Russia is actively used by government agencies working in such areas as legislation, healthcare, customs, infrastructure and communications.

Analysts noticed that since May 29, problems with the availability of the IPsec family of protocols, including IKEv2, began. In the networks of some operators, such as Rostelecom, data does not pass even between the VPN server and the client in Russia.

“We argue that this is not a “random” blocking – at least due to the fact that these protocols are absolutely unambiguously blocked by any DPI (devices that restrict access to hosts or resources by their IP addresses – ed.) and them in principle cannot be blocked “accidentally”, and the cancellation of their blocking takes no more than 5 minutes,” GlobalCheck emphasized. “We are confident that the authorities are testing the global blocking of VPN protocols in this way.”

VPN technologies allow you to provide one or more network connections over another network. They are used not only to enter blocked sites and hide the IP address, but also to build internal networks by large companies. It is noted that many corporate networks suffer from restrictions, and technical specialists are urgently looking for ways to bypass. GlobalCheck believes that the Russian authorities are trying to understand how the blocking will affect the work of companies, what damage it will cause, what administrators can do and how quickly.

As research portal top10vpn found out, since the beginning of the invasion of Russian troops into the territory of Ukraine, Russian state and commercial companies have officially spent more than $9.8 million on VPN services. Compared to peacetime, the demand for services that allow you to bypass the blocking of sites in Russia has grown by 2692%. It is worth pointing out that shortly after the start of a full-scale war, Russian regulators blocked 1,500 websites in the country.
In total, since February 24, organizations from the Russian Federation have signed 236 contracts, including:

Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the Krasnoyarsk Territory ($1.7 million);
Federal Customs Service ($906 thousand);
State “Center for Information Technologies of the Tyumen Region” ($665,000);
Sakhalin Regional Medical Information and Analytical Center ($478,000).

The following regions of the Russian Federation spent the most on VPN:

Moscow — $2.4 million;
Krasnoyarsk Territory – $1.8 million;
Tyumen region – $700 thousand;
Tula region – $651 thousand;
Sakhalin – $523 thousand

VPN spending by sector:

Legislative bodies, $2.3 million;
Information technology and communications – $1.9 million;
Healthcare — $1.5 million;
Infrastructure — $1.1 million;
Customs – $ 921 thousand.

Grigory Bakunov, former director of technology distribution at Yandex, commented on the study in his Telegram channel:

“The article about the purchase of VPNs by Russian governments is true. But it contains an important detail missing: over the same time period last year, VPNs were purchased for $6.5 million, so these purchases are not related to blocking, for the most part this is updating licenses for corporate VPNs.

Earlier they wrote that large VPN services have stopped cooperation with Russia and are helping Ukraine. The developers send the earned money to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, protect websites from hacker attacks and provide services to Ukrainians for free.

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