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24 Feb 2022

Corin Faife, The Verge

Ukraine internet outages spark concerns of broader blackout

... [A]s the conflict intensifies, many civil society groups are increasingly concerned about the possibility of direct attacks on the country’s internet infrastructure. Russia has previously been linked to DDoS attacks against Ukrainian government sites — but a full blackout would mean going further, using physical or cyber weaponry to disable telecommunications infrastructure at the network level, and silencing Ukrainians in the process.

... The invasion has already reduced internet connectivity in some parts of the country... Outages are affecting the Triolan internet service provider, which services a number of cities and other areas across Ukraine, including Kharkiv... A Cloudflare spokesperson told The Verge that traffic monitoring showed Ukrainian internet services were largely operational but that connections from Kharkiv were disrupted... “The Internet continues to operate in Ukraine for the most part,” the spokesperson said... "Traffic from Kharkiv seems to be about 50 percent below normal levels.”

... [O]pen internet advocates fear that the disruptions could herald a strategic intent to limit information flows from the region... “Internet infrastructure becomes a target in order to control the flow of information and gain or maintain power during conflict..." Felicia Anthonio...a campaigner [with]... Access Now [said]... “When the internet is shut down in times of crisis, we often receive reports of human rights violations perpetrated against the people by state and non-state actors... But without internet access, it’s harder to corroborate — and that’s often the point.”