Skip to main content

Russia becomes an internet outcast for some reason

It's starting to happen more and more often to me. I'm trying to use some service and all of a sudden I see an error page, sometimes a custom one but more often generated by cloudflare or a similar service, with error message effectively saying that IP addresses from Russia are banned on the service. And what is even more interesting, most of this services don't have any particular policy reasons not to allow Russian users, it's not not like they are publishing prescribed materials or doing anything interesting whatsoever. A payment processor, a popular online course provider, some random forums and information sites, one site with educational videos that I like (that one is especially funny because I'm banned from the subscription page and so can't pay them but their cdn does't care and I can actually download any video I want).

But why does it happen? Is there some recommendation in some popular security guideline "block Russia, Cambodia, and Afghanistan because all users from there are ruthless hackers"? Or maybe Roskomnadzor (Russian telecom regulator / royal censorship service) spams hosting providers with "abuse" reports? (Actually happened to a friend of mine, although he was doing something interesting on his sites, truth being told. He had to remove a few pages for ISP to unblock his account.) Maybe some Russian hackers do, in fact, tend to abuse legitimate services and, say, test stolen CC numbers incurring huge chargeback costs? (That would explain services having to do with payments.)

Whatever the reasons are I haven't been able to get any answers from any of the services. Guess they are not big on customer service if they ignore requests to the tune of "I want to pay you guys, with money, not stolen or anything, please take them" (that popular courses provider I mentioned tends to answer with something like "thanks for contacting us, anybody can use our site as long as they have internet connection, have a good day").

In some cases it's pretty easy to work around that, we all know how proxies and vpn work, we watch tv (which is kinda weird, if we take the hackers assumption, if I were a ruthless Russian hacker, the first thing I'd spend my cryptocurrency on would be some anonymous vpn service... although even then I wouldn't steal innocent people's credit cards and use them to incur costs on other innocent businesses so maybe I just can't understand those kiddies). But sometimes you can't or at least not easily. With that god-forsaken courses site I'd have to use a proctoring service that requires good bandwidth for screen-sharing and webcam and although it's not exactly impossible, I'd have to use some service that provides that bandwidth and stable connection raising costs significantly (maybe I should try setting up my own private proxy somewhere).

And also there were some rumors that the government plans to ban all proxies and vpns on the internet. Granted, I don't know the exact plan, if they can do that effectively and what would people do when they need vpn for work, and I don't want to put all the blame on the government in this case (although it tends to be involved somehow whenever you encounter any major inconvenience in your life), but it might be a point where it's easier to physically move elsewhere than deal with the whole situation. Too bad places that are easier to move to often have internet problems of their own (encountered it more than once during my travels), it takes a developed economy with high human rights index to have a stable, affordable, and relatively unrestricted internet access. No idea why, just happens to be so.

Update (2017-09-22): Apparently, according to at least one of the services, they often ban whole countries in case of DDoS attacks. When they have no customers and not much prospects for some country yet a torrent of requests coming, I guess, it's understandable. Yet it's very hard to make them revert it even if you do want to become a customer (I even suggested to unblock my ip only, provided I get a static ip address from my isp, and no reply yet).

Popular posts from this blog

Terrible experience with bluetooth headsets and what to do about it

If you own a Bluetooth A2DP headset and any kind of personal computer, good chance is you tried connecting them together. Isn't it nice to watch movies and listen to music free from cluttering wires? Well, good chance is you hated that experience and if that was the reason for buying the headset, you might've even considered throwing it away (or using it only with your phone). Why do they suck so much? Everything points to the fact that it's not a hardware problem. The same headset most likely will work flawlessly paired with an android device or even the same computer under a different operating system (windows users report huge difference between, like, 8.0 and 8.1, and not in favor of the latter, surprisingly, I think only mac users report good stuff about their macbooks and beats although I didn't try it myself so they might all be faking it :) ). And most likely it's not even the drivers or other low-level stuff, android and desktop linux has mostly the same

ORICO — small things that stand out

More than once I've written about stuff made by Big Brand manufacturers so I decided to balance things out by writing about a mostly-unknown but good things. In short, if you need something small like HDD enclosure or some cable or USB hub or a dongle of some kind, check if ORICO makes it and chances are you won't be disappointed. It's usually slightly more expensive than low-end stuff from aliexpress but, in my opinion, it's usually worth it. Disclaimer. This post is a shameless promotion of their brand although, unfortunately, nobody paid me for it or even sent me any free stuff. Guys from ORICO and not, if you read this, I'll gladly review whatever free goodies you send me :) I only do honest reviews so better make sure to send the good stuff. At this point I own a USB hub, three different 2.5" HDD enclosures, and a precision screwdriver set from them. And probably something else I don't remember. Here are the pics: USB hub in its natural habitat

UK plug and wall socket is probably the best there is

While we are on the topic of sockets and chargers. UK three-prong plug (type G) allows you to put heavier things into the socket and they will sit there securely. Also it's rated 250V/13A allowing more powerful appliances and probably safer than any other plug type  (not mentioned there that almost every socket has an off switch, as an additional safety feature, apart from all the shutters, insulation, and built-in fuses). (Photo from Wikimedia Commons) If the world ever comes to a standard AC plug type, I hope it will be either that or at least something as robust and safe. And, let's face it, the only two alternatives (EU and US plugs) are not that universal, there are dozens of variations (where to put the ground prong, how to ensure polarity, even how big the prongs themselves must be) that makes either harder to adopt as a single universal standard.