Russian IT company saves U.S. far right app Parler

The Bell

Messaging service Parler, popular among the far right and ex-U.S. President Donald Trump’s more radical supporters, was removed by the Apple store and blocked by Amazon earlier this month. But it bounced back this week with a Russian accent. Parler’s return is at least partially due to the work of Russian IT firm DDoS-Guard, whose other clients include state organizations.

  • Parler’s traffic was partly routed via IP-addresses directly owned by DDoS-Guard, according to a Tuesday report by Bloomberg. And data protection experts pointed out Parler’s traffic went through Russia, albeit with an intermediate stop in Belize.
  • DDoS-Guard said in response that it does not provide Parler with hosting. However, this would not prevent the companies from having a different arrangement, for example, on the protection and routing of traffic.
  • DDoS-Guard is among Russia’s top 15 communications providers, focusing on information security. It was founded in 2011 by Yevgeny Marchenko and Dmitry Sabitov from the southern city of Rostov-on-Don, but its finances have never been publicly disclosed. Its negotiations with Parler were carried out via representatives in Edinburgh.
  • On its website, DDoS-Guard boasts of its own traffic-filtering network. And it has a license for data protection in Russia, which suggests it cooperates closely with the security services. Industry media describe the company as a Ministry of Defense contractor.

Why the world should care

As President Joe Biden makes his first steps in foreign policy, any revelation about Russian links to far right U.S. groups is fodder for those in Washington arguing for tough action against Moscow.

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