Many countries use online censorship to restrict and control access to the Internet. Censorship can include blocking specific websites, such as popular social media websites, messaging apps, and news websites. Censorship may also apply to websites with a specific type of content. Censorship is sometimes implemented on a large scale, in the form of an encompassing filtering system that controls an entire country's Internet.
Some censorship is more selective and occurs for short periods of time as a response to events such as political unrest or uprisings. As with many laws and policies, censorship varies greatly depending on the country where it takes place.
Internet censorship in Russia has increased in its scope over the years, and the country was rated "not free" by Freedom on the Net for the past several years in a row. Often referred to as the "Red Web," Russia's system of filtering the Internet draws many parallels to China's Great Firewall. Russia's Yarovaya's laws include provisions for data retention for periods of up to 3 years. It also mandates for companies to have "keys" to encrypted communications that can be provided to authorities whenever this may be requested. Some newer legislation may also grant the government full power over the Internet, with access to domain names, cables and exchange points, offering unprecedented Internet control within the country. Russia censors the Internet in the traditional fashion, by blocking popular social networking websites including LinkedIn and the popular Chinese messaging app WeChat. It also restricts access to websites or pages that may share views which they do not agree with (political dissent, extremism, illegal content). Some social media users and political activists have been targets of cyberattacks, jail time, and other negative results as a result of their online activity.
Like most countries, Russia criminalizes any acts relating to the unauthorized access of computer information, developing/use/dissemination of malware, breaching of rules applicable to transferring protected computer information, fraud in the use of payments cards, and other hacking activities. Monitored by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Federal Security Services, and even Industry regulators like the Central Bank of Russia, the fines and jail times for such offenses are intense.
The government of Russia has even banned PORNOGRAPHY, which is a little uncanny and surprising. Thanks to the introduction of the new Yarovaya laws, things are only going to get worse in the future, because citizens are under high levels of surveillance. All these restrictions and scares make the use of a VPN crucial within the country, because they are the only way to ensure digital privacy and freedom. Here are the top 4 VPN providers that could help you bypass the increased censorship in Russia.
VyprVPN has some of the toughest encryption protocols we’ve seen. It complements this with round-the-clock online customer support service, a free 3-day trial, and a stupendous server network. The company is able to overcome even the strictest barriers that governments impose on netizens.
Its logging policy might concern some users, though. VyprVPN says it stores “the user’s source IP address, the VyprVPN IP address used by the user, connection start and stop times and the total number of bytes used.” However, the information is only stored for 30 days and is used to improve the service. VyprVPN insists that it’s impossible to track the websites that its users visit.
The company is very popular with users in China where it easily unblocks the Great Firewall. This means that its proprietary tech is sophisticated enough to thwart thousands of state-appointed engineers who work around the clock to weave a massive web. That’s a considerable feat.
VyprVPN made a wise decision to physically own and manage entire data centers which help it finetune the service and puts it in a class above other VPN companies. The normal industry standard is to either rent servers or outsource them to a third-party. This helps VyprVPN further secure user traffic.
Said traffic is encrypted via the OpenVPN protocol, 256-bit AES encryption, 2,048-bit RSA keys without perfect forward secrecy, and SHA256 authentication. There is an Internet kill switch included. It’s also able to unlock content on Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer.
A premium version of the package allows access to the Chameleon™ protocol, which scrambles OpenVPN metadata so that deep packet inspection cannot recognize it.
There are over 700 servers, including options to obtain a Russian IP address. Apps are available for both Android and iOS, and there is also a desktop client for Windows and MacOS. It supports torrenting.
As a technologically advanced user, you stand to gain immensely by subscribing for this VPN service. With IPVanish you will access Geo-restricted websites and channels. You will also be able to bypass all of the government’s censorship, hence giving you an opportunity to access the Internet like the rest of the world.
With IPVanish you can enjoy access to over 1000 high-speed servers located in over 60 countries. Your protection is assured by the SHA-256-bit authentication and the 256-bit AES encryption. In addition to this, there are zero logs and a 7-day money-back guarantee. So, no data leaks can be experienced while using the service for being fully protected online.
It seems that the best features of IPVanish are:
- 1000+ ultra-high-speed servers around the world;
- Strong encryption protocols;
- Multi-platform compatibility.
ExpressVPN ranks as one of the top VPN services because of its commitment to serving users, its aesthetically-pleasing design, as well as robust speeds and security. The layout is simple and intuitive with minimal downtime. I’ve never come across a problem in my months of using the service.
It offers a large network of over 1500 servers spread across 94 countries including Russia – although it doesn’t specify how many servers exactly are located in that country. Foreign expatriates living in Russia and local citizens traveling abroad shouldn’t face any problems in acquiring a speedy and stable connection. Subscribers also have the option to connect to a ‘smart location’ – in this case, the built-in AI will select the best server for you based on your current location.
Russia’s Internet is monitored so that privacy concerns should be quelled by ExpressVPN’s policy of not storing any traffic logs. The only microscopic metadata retention pertains to the date (not time) of connection, choice of server location, and total bandwidth used. The company states that your individual IP address won’t be logged.
Some users may feel uncomfortable with this, so if you would like to cover your tracks completely, we recommend that you sign up with a burner email account and pay via Bitcoin.
Encryption protocols are uncompromising. ExpressVPN uses 256-bit AES-CBC with the utilization of both HMAC authentication and perfect forward secrecy. An Internet kill switch is included with all packages. The company refers to this as a ‘network lock’ – with the feature temporarily halting all web traffic if the connection drops.
ExpressVPN unlocks Geo-restricted content on Netflix without breaking a sweat. It works with Hulu and BBC iPlayer as well and supports torrents on all servers. There are apps for Android and iOS. It’s also possible to use a desktop client for Windows and MacOS.
This credible VPN service provides its consumers with direct access to the websites that would usually been restricted in their geographical location. The service offers three multi-function packages, which are to suit different needs. TunnelBear’s server park includes 20+ countries all over the globe along with AES 256-bit encryption.
At the same time Tunnel Bear has other bonuses for its consumers:
- VPN plans suit every pocket;
- WiFi protection while connecting to insecure hotspots;
- superfast servers for high quality streaming;
- 5 devices per 1 Tunnel Bear account;
- applications for Android, iOS, Mac, Windows and browsers.
The features presented above prove that Tunnel Bear is one of the most reliable VPN services in 2018. Your best decision would be to study its plans and choose the most suitable one for you.
In Russia, the government imposes an iron will on its people. Mandatory data retention and censorship are common and there is pressure on firms to store all data about Russian citizens on servers located within the country.
By using a VPN that has services which are specific for Russia, citizens can regain control of their data privacy thanks to encryption. Internet users can access websites without fear of being snooped on. In addition, a VPN will keep their data safe from hackers both at home and while connected to a public WiFi.
For others, who don't necessarily want to bypass Russia's censorship, a VPN is still awesome for unblocking websites that are Geo-restricted for copyright reasons. Geo-restrictions stop Russians from watching foreign TV channels, sports competitions, and online services. With a VPN, anybody can pretend to be overseas to access foreign content.