A week after rumors surfaced that Russia planned to crack down on VPN protocols, many mobile users across the nation have reported disruptions to their VPN services. In a move aimed to deepen internet censorship, Russia is apparently not just targeting individual VPN servers, but the underlying protocols these services use as well.
Russian media sources have conveyed that the primary focus has been on OpenVPN and WireGuard, two of the most prevalent VPN protocols.
These protocols, crucial for privacy and bypassing geoblocking, are favored by individual users and integral to numerous corporate setups in the country. This has inadvertently hampered operations for various Russian businesses.
Interestingly, landline Internet subscribers have yet to face these restrictions, leaving mobile users as the main group impacted. Many affected users attempted to switch their VPN providers, hoping for a respite, only to find that alternative services faced similar blockades.
This intense crackdown has posed significant challenges for VPN providers in the region. While some scramble to adopt protocols more resistant to restrictions, others are optimistic, viewing the clampdown as transient. In the interim, they suggest users employ stealth proxies.
One such alternative gaining traction is Shadowsocks, a tunnel proxy known for its efficacy in China, another nation with stringent internet censorship measures. Shadowsocks encrypts user data and camouflages traffic as HTTPS, allowing unrestricted internet access and keeping user sessions hidden.
Appleinsider.ru has indicated that Shadowsocks remains unaffected by Russia's current measures, making it a potentially promising solution for Russians seeking to circumnavigate the ongoing VPN restrictions.
However, users should tread with caution. The Russian Law on Communications has deemed it illegal to circumvent geoblocking and access prohibited content. With the recent move, the government's message is clear: there will be no compromise on internet control.