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Russia Begins Blocking Telegram Messenger ( 59

Russia's state telecommunications regulator said on Monday it had begun blocking access to Telegram messenger after the company refused to comply with an order to give Russian state security access to its users' secret messages (encryption keys). From a report: The watchdog, Roskomnadzor, said in a statement on its website that it had sent telecoms operators a notification about blocking access to Telegram inside Russia. The service, set up by a Russian entrepreneur, has more than 200 million global users and is ranked as the world's ninth most popular mobile messaging app.
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Russia Begins Blocking Telegram Messenger

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  • by Oswald McWeany ( 2428506 ) on Monday April 16, 2018 @10:53AM (#56445885)

    On the plus side, if they block people from using messaging devices, that's fewer people they have to kill when people use the messaging devices to report on news that Russia finds embarrassing.

    RIP Borodin.

  • by TheZeitgeist ( 5083373 ) on Monday April 16, 2018 @10:56AM (#56445903)
    When Russian security services ban your product because encryption too good, isn't that like seal of approval for the encryption?
    • by WallyL ( 4154209 )

      When Russian security services ban your product because encryption too good, isn't that like seal of approval for the encryption?

      Not necessarily. The licensing deal between the US and Russian intelligence communities has expired, and during the re-negotiations (read: TPP), the Russians don't have the sweet cracking/listening tools available, because it was running as a SAAS from the US gov't private cloud. Damn efficient SSO and that expired service account means Russia can't log in to the tool to read all the Telegram messages, so it's best just to block it!

      In post-Soviet Russia, Telegram reads you!

    • Sure, but they have to bother with encryption because they don't have moles at ever US companies adding new deniable backdoors every day.

      What protects you from the Russians won't protect you from the NSA.

    • by trawg ( 308495 )

      Conspiracy theory: that is what they want us to think because actually the crypto and implementation is terrible. The more people that install it as a result of this fake ban the more traffic they can snoop on.

      I don't know much about Telegram other than it seems to be the 'encrypted' instant messaging platform that I see most regularly shitted on by people in the crypto community (e.g the Signal team and some of the academics I follow on the twitters). From my casual absorbtion of info about it there seems

    • It depends on their motivation.

      If you know a backdoor to a service its value is inversely proportional to its popularity. If the service is heavily used then finding interesting information is a needle in a haystack problem. It's a pain in the ass to hire a bunch of people to go through the pile to hunt for the interesting messages.

      If you ban it: the only people using it in Russia are people who believe you can't read their messages and don't want you to. Traffic analysis + backdoor is a lot easier than loo

  • I wonder why Telegram was targeted specifically. Was it the group chats which there is a key that can be handed over? Why Telegram over other secure providers?

  • by schwit1 ( 797399 ) on Monday April 16, 2018 @11:39AM (#56446163)

    This seems counterproductive. The conflict is making more people aware of Russian snooping which will only push more non-secure users to use a secure messaging app.

    Is there an equivalent of the Streisand effect for this situation?

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday April 16, 2018 @12:00PM (#56446299)

    First, a government actually bans its use because they can't spy on you.

    Two, no Russian spammers on the network trying to flood it with fake news.

    And I honestly don't know what's the better reason...

  • by Artem Tashkinov ( 764309 ) on Monday April 16, 2018 @12:34PM (#56446471) Homepage

    It's a weird situation really. Whatsapp/Facebook messenger and Viber, which are no less popular in this country, are not blocked which begs the question whether these three instant messengers shared their encryption keys with the authorities.

    Also, to understand what this country really is, read for instance this []. It's a mafia/authoritarian state where money rules and there's no law for those who have no money. Don't even get me started on health care, education and science - which are either semi-dead or completely dead, depending on your point of view.

    • We don't know to what extent Google/Apple/facebook etc cooperate with court orders for store based attacks on individuals.

      If Facebook rolls a compromised Whatsapp client on demand and Google/Apple pushes the update to individuals on court order then end to end encryption is kind of irrelevant. Telegram might be refusing to cooperate with this attack vector in Russia, whereas Facebook does not.

  • Step 1: Develop a secure messaging application under the guise of an entrepreneur who is an FSB agent.

    Step 2: Get other countries to believe that a messaging platform is so secure that Russia's FSB must ban its use for the sake of security.

    Step 3: Allow telegram to spread deeper into channels that think it's safe.