For better or worse, Russia’s internet just got kneecapped.
Cogent Communications is cutting off internet service to its Russian clients, the Washington Post reported on Friday. This puts it in league with companies like Meta, which has blocked Russian state-affiliated news agencies on Facebook in Europe; Twitter, which slaps a warning label on tweets from state-run Russian media outlets; and others.
Cogent is an internet infrastructure provider that serves international clients, including many companies in Russia. In fact, it is the country’s second largest internet service provider, according to Reuters.
In addition to the traditional war it has waged on the ground since invading Ukraine, Russia has staged cyberwar offensives against the neighboring nation’s military and banking websites. It is also using its state-affiliated media outlets and bot propaganda networks to put out a version of the country’s invasion of Ukraine that is favorable to Russia.
Cogent told Reuters that it made the decision to cut off access in order to counter “outbound cyber attacks or disinformation” staged by Russian interests aligned with President Vladimir Putin. However, the company also noted that it was “a tough decision,” since keeping Russians connected to the internet is crucial for them to get non-state sanctioned information.
Other companies that have stopped doing business with Russia include tech giants like Microsoft, Apple, Google, and others, as well as Visa, Boeing, and even Harley Davidson.