Russia Blocks 1.8 Million Telegram IP Addresses

Torrent Freak has reported that Russian telecom regulator Rozomnadzor has begun blocking ISP addresses used to transmit private messages using the Telegram app. The actions come after the app was added to a state register of banned services last Friday after an 18-minute trial. Telegram lawyers protested the trial by not attending.

Rozomnadzor moved quickly:

“Initially, 655,352 Amazon IP addresses were placed on Russia’s nationwide blacklist. It was later reported that a further 131,000 IP addresses were added to that total. But the Russians were just getting started… a further 1,048,574 IP addresses belonging to Google were also targeted Monday.”

The total number of IP addresses banned on Monday comes to 1,834,926.

Russia banned Telegram after the company refused to hand over decryption keys to the FSB state security apparatus.

Telegram has stated that they do not hold master keys that would allow them to decrypt user messages.

Shortly after the ban, exiled Telegram co-founder Pavel Durov wrote on VKontakte (a Russian Facebook-style platform Durov also started):

“Telegram will use built-in methods to bypass blocks, which do not require actions from users, but 100% availability of the service without a VPN is not guaranteed.”

Rozcomnodzar also ordered ISPs to conduct “a new experiment” last month by blocking 15 million IP addresses routing messages for encrypted chat software app Zello, though only 500 were eventually blocked. The Russian government has reportedly attempted to block Zello’s online radio services over 70 times in the last year after the company “refused to monitor its users and provide information about them to Russian special services.”

The Russian government has stated that they need access to all messaging within the country in order to effectively counter domestic terrorism.

The Interfax new agency also reported today that Rozomnadzor has asked Google and Apple to remove Telegram’s messaging app from their app stores.

Telegram is in the midst of an initial coin offering (ICO) that is expected to top about $1.7 billion.


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