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Russia goes after Zello app by requesting ISPs block 13.5 million Amazon IP addresses

By midian182 · 8 replies
Apr 1, 2018
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  1. It’s no secret that Russia is up there with China when it comes to monitoring its citizens’ communications and blocking websites. According to TorrentFreak, the country’s government is increasing the pressure on walkie talkie app Zello by telling ISPs to block 15 million IP addresses, most of which belong to Amazon, as a way of taking it down.

    Zello hit the headlines back in September when it topped the Apple app store charts after millions of new users joined in response to Hurricane Irma. The app simulates traditional two-way radios through the use of WiFi or cellular data, making it useful in search and rescue situations, and it now boasts over 100 million users worldwide.

    Zello is yet another app to fall under the scrutiny of Russia’s Yarovaya law—a pair of federal bills passed in 2016 that expand the powers of law enforcement agencies for anti-terrorism purposes. The law requires services such as Zello to register with Russian telecoms watchdog Rozcomnadzor—something it has failed to do.

    Zello managed to irk Russian authorities last year for refusing to store user and conversation data in Russia and share its encryption keys with the Federal Security Service (FSB)—the successor to the KGB. It was banned in Russia, but the app managed to circumvent the block.

    Now, Rozcomnadzor is reportedly about to expand its campaign against Zello. Russia’s Vedomosti reports that the agency has issued letters to most of the country’s ISPs recommending that they block the app.

    The letter mentions an experiment that would see ISPs block 36 Internet subnets, which represents 15 million IP addresses, to take down Zello. 26 of the subnets belong to Amazon (Zello uses Amazon Web Services).

    “The subnets selected by Roskomnadzor are not all Amazon’s IP addresses, but they account for a significant portion of the addresses from two large regions of the United States where the company’s data centers are located,” writes Vedomosti.

    As it's claimed Zello doesn’t completely depend on the listed subnets, hundreds or thousands of other services unrelated to the app could be affected if they’re blocked.

    Last month, encrypted messaging service Telegram lost an appeal against handing over its encryption keys to the FSB.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Bertie Bucket

    Bertie Bucket TS Rookie

    "It’s no secret that Russia is up there with China when it comes to monitoring its citizens’ communications"

    It's up there with the USA and UK too.
    Abraka, MaXtor and alabama man like this.
  3. Vulcanproject

    Vulcanproject TS Evangelist Posts: 712   +1,004

    That may be but they aren't authoritarian states unlike Russia and China which decidedly are.
    Knot Schure likes this.
  4. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing - click on the rock below.. Posts: 3,978   +1,174

    Why bother with doing business in Russia? As things are now and for the near future, Russia will increase demands and 'take no prisoners'. The price of 'engagement' is getting to be too high.
  5. "The American and UK surveillance states aren't as bad because they aren't authoritarian."

    Lesson: Being tracked and documented is not so bad if the entity doing it isn't Super Plus Bad but merely Questionable.

  6. Knot Schure

    Knot Schure TS Addict Posts: 254   +109

    Governments just can't learn the IP-whack-a-mole concept.

    Shut down one subnet - another opens.

    It is so beautiful.

    Russia, come out of the Cold War please, the 'West' is not out to get you. If you stay within your own borders, and don't try to annex yet another country, then we'll not even pay you any attention much at all.

    But invade ONE more country, and you'll learn to need those so-called 'mach-20' missiles.
  7. Vulcanproject

    Vulcanproject TS Evangelist Posts: 712   +1,004

    Much of what Russia does they justify by blaming aggressive NATO expansion. What people need to recognise however is it was those former Soviet bloc territories banging down the door to be let in quick, not enticed in by the west.

    I would say it is because they know best how many left in the Kremlin want to still act like the big brutal bear to neighbour states. The west is benign relative to what they had known previously.
  8. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,178   +648

    That is exactly why they are acting this way though. They want the attention, because they feel they need it if they are to be taken seriously as a world power. Fact of the matter is, their population is too small, resources too inaccessible, markets too corrupt, to every be much more than a backwater. The world would largely ignore them all together if they didn't have nukes.
    Knot Schure likes this.
  9. Abraka

    Abraka TS Addict Posts: 176   +54

    You must be talking about the United States. It's the country that invaded tons and tons of countries in the last 2 decades. It's the country constantly in war, occupying foreign territories, like in the case of Iraq, Afghanistan, or arming terrorists to do that for them, as in the case of Libya, Syria, Jemen, Egypt, Kongo, Kosovo, South Sudan and other countries.

    No other country produced as many imperial wars in the last 200 years as the United States. Even Britain didn't cause as many wars as the US. Hitler is not even close.

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