Backbone provider Cogent disconnects Russian companies

One of the largest backbone providers of the TIER-1 class, the American company Cogent, announced that it is disconnecting Russian companies from its networks. Clients were offered to pick up server hardware within a month.

The Russian publication Kommersant writes that such large Russian providers as Rostelecom, VimpelCom, MegaFon, Yandex and VK work with Cogent. That is, the company’s decision may lead to a noticeable decrease in the connectivity of the Russian segment of the Internet with the global network, which ultimately may affect the quality of access to foreign Internet services in the near future.

Cogent is one of the largest providers in the world, founded in 1999, headquartered in Washington. It belongs to the category of Tier-1 top-level communication providers that are connected to the entire Internet network exclusively through connections for which they do not pay anyone (including AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, NTT and others, about ten in total). Cogent provides Internet access and data transition services over an IP-only fiber optic network, as well as hosting in data centers.

In a letter, the backbone telecom operator notified its Russian partners that it would disconnect them from its equipment on March 4, 2022. Servers of Russian companies will be left in racks for 30 days so that customers can pick them up.

After the end of this period, the equipment will be turned off and sent for storage. There will be no access to the servers after the termination of service.says the letter, which was confirmed to the publication by three sources in different Russian providers.

Digital rights activists have criticized Cogent’s decision to disconnect itself from Russia, arguing that it could prevent Russian civilians from accessing credible information about the invasion.

Cutting Russians off from internet access cuts them off from sources of independent news and the ability to organize anti-war protests. Eva Galperin, the director of cybersecurity at the digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation, said on Twitter.
Any shutdown of the backbone provider may result in a slowdown or unavailability of foreign Internet services from the Russian part of the network for an indefinite period. The situation can be compared to the blocking of locks in a complex drinking water supply system – the closure of the main “pipes” can be compensated by other channels, but not indefinitely.EMBA professor Evgeny Chereshnev explained to reporters.

Access problems, in his opinion, will first arise for services that do not have data centres in Russia, but it is not yet clear what exactly and how large-scale the consequences of the Cogent shutdown will be.

There have never been such precedents on a national scale. Chereshnev sums up.

Let me remind you that we also wrote that US authorities imposed sanctions on a Russian institution associated with Triton malware, and also that the FBI and NSA discovered Drovorub malware, created by Russian Intelligence services.

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Daniel Zimmermann

Daniel Zimmermann has been writing on security and malware subjects for many years and has been working in the security industry for over 10 years. Daniel was educated at the Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany and currently lives in New York.

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