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Russian State Organization Orders Block of Encrypted Email Provider Skiff

Russian encrypted email and cloud service provider Skiff has been blocked by an unidentified state organization, demonstrating the government's crackdown on encrypted communication services


Skiff, an email and cloud service provider founded a year ago, was ordered to be blocked by an unidentified Russian state organization. As per a report from Roskomsvoboda, which identifies itself as “the first Russian public organization active in the field of protecting digital rights and expanding digital opportunities“, the ban is on all the subdomains of Skiff and the CEO of Skiff Andrew Milich has provided TechCrunch with proof of the same.

3 years after ProtonMail and Tutanota, two similar encrypted email services, were banned by Russia, Skiff was next. This demonstrates that the government of President Vladimir Putin is obviously cracking down on encrypted communication services that enable its residents to communicate in a way that is more difficult to eavesdrop on.

The Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C. was contacted for a statement, but no response was received. The Russian government’s censorship agency, Roskomnadzor, likewise disregarded an email that requested clarification. At the time of publication, Skiff was not on Roskomnadzor’s list of blacklisted websites.

According to Stanislav Shakirov, Roskomsvoboda’s technical director and co-founder, Stanislav Shakirov, “the blocking is done by the ISP on their equipment by the URL mask (*.skiff.com) and IP addresses,” the block is in full effect.

Shakirov explained that this caused Skiff.com and all of its subdomains to be blocked. As a result, “Russian users who are not using VPN, browser plugins, or censorship bypass tools like Tor or Psiphon can’t get access to Skiff services,” he said.

Skiff’s Milich shared a video of a Russian user attempting to log on to Skiff but encountering a connection issue, claiming that the company has noticed an 81% decline in traffic from Russia since last week. Mirich continued saying that several Russian users have complained that the service was no longer offered.


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