According to in-house aggregated Atlas VPN user data
, Virtual Private Network (VPN) installs in Russia surged by 1,906% in the last few days. The interest in VPNs started to increase on February 16, 2022, after the first wave of cyberattacks against Ukraine occurred.
VPN installs reached record heights one day after another during the last week of the month.
On February 25, VPN installs rose by 241% above the average. The next day, on February 26, VPN installs originating from Russia sky-rocketed by 1,076% over the norm. Still, this was not the end, as the following day, VPN installs went off the charts, soaring 1,906% higher than the mean.
The demand declined by a considerable margin but remained high on the last day of February.
We predict that the interest in VPNs will remain at these heights for the upcoming weeks. However, if major events continue, we could see numbers ascending even higher.
VPN use-cases in Russia
Internet restrictions in Russia are stringent, even if they are not at the same level as those in China.
The mass media regulations in Russia have been introduced to restrict harmful content, mostly related to drug use and suicide.
However, these regulations have been routinely abused to censor criticism of the government or local administrations.
In addition, they also restrict a range of social media and communication platforms.
The legality of VPNs
While the use of VPNs is legal in Russia, you will be hard-pressed to find a provider that offers servers in Russia. The federal government has been tightening its grip on VPN providers since 2017 when President Putin signed a bill outlawing the use of certain VPNs.
Read the latest edition of PCR’s monthly magazine here:
Like this content? Sign up for the free PCR Daily Digest email service to get the latest tech news straight to your inbox. You can also follow PCR on Twitter and Facebook.