Russia bans Microsoft followed by Amazon and Google

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Russia implemented a sweeping ban on Microsoft Cloud services on March 20th, with plans to extend the prohibition to Google and Amazon web services in the coming weeks. While security analysts cite national security concerns as the primary motive, trade experts suggest it’s a retaliatory measure against sanctions imposed on the country on December 18, 2023, particularly in response to restrictions from the European Union that passed their March 20, 2024 deadline.

The ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia has exacerbated economic challenges for both nations, leading to soaring inflation and depletion of essential commodity reserves. Russia faces additional hurdles in procuring imported goods, with only India, Pakistan, and China offering any significant support.

Russian IT firm Softline has advised users of Microsoft, Google, and Amazon services to store their data on local servers. Additionally, they cautioned customers to utilize online services endorsed by the Kremlin for data storage and access.

Notably, Moscow previously halted the renewal of Microsoft 365 subscriptions in August 2023 amid escalating tensions with Western nations.

To fill the void left by Google, Russia has bolstered its domestically developed Yandex search engine and repositories. The Kremlin is also developing the “Sovereign Internet” project, aimed at monitoring citizen interactions with the West. Currently in beta testing, the service is geared towards both business and home users and operates under government surveillance.

The Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR RF) has defended the ban on Western tech companies, citing concerns over misinformation and fake news circulating online, which they argue have strained relations between the Russian Federation and the White House of the United States.

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Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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