The reality of a rather thriving Russian cybercriminal influence across both dark web and crypto spaces cannot be ignored. Several countries have come up in arms to fault Russia for turning a blind eye to Russian-based cybercriminal gangs.
In fact, the Kremlin was faulted by the U.S. government for supporting ransomware attacks against a host of foreign countries. This direct attack came hot in the heels of several research findings showing that the ransomware industry was largely dominated by Russian-speaking threat actors that enjoyed protection from the Russian government.
Well, the weeks leading to the close of the year 2021 may have come with a change of attitude as it emerged that Russian authorities blocked access to the Tor browser website torproject.org on December 8.
It turns out that the official block followed earlier reports of Russian internet service providers barring users from accessing the Tor service, with a host of Russian users reporting their inability to access the Tor project website from the first day of December 2021.
As such, an official statement by Tor developers read:
“Since December 1st, some Internet providers in Russia have started to block access to Tor. Today, we've learned that the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor), a Russian government bureaucratic entity, is threatening to censor our main website (torproject.org). Russia is the country with the second largest number of Tor users, with more than 300,000 daily users or 15% of all Tor users. As it seems this situation could quickly escalate to a country-wide Tor block, it's urgent that we respond to this censorship! We need your help NOW to keep Russians connected to Tor!”
The Tor Project team has advised Russia-based users that they can still be able to access Tor services by visiting the platform mirror hosted by the Electronic Frontier foundation.
The team also appealed to Russian users to help with monitoring the blocking of their services and called for digital rights groups to lobby on their behalf in pushing the Russian government to bring about a cessation of the Tor censorship.
Further, Tor revealed that it had launched a campaign dubbed Help Censored Users, Run a Tor Bridge to get more volunteers to create more bridges. It turns out that the campaign was quite a success considering the existence of more than 400 new bridges