With Russian military forces invading Ukraine, Atlas VPN is offering journalists in that war zone heightened online security using its virtual private network (VPN) free of charge.
The company on Thursday announced its support to journalists and media personnel in Ukraine. Media representatives in Ukraine needing a premium VPN subscription should email Atlas VPN. The team will respond within 24 hours.
The premium VPN subscriptions to journalists come with no cost. No long-term commitments or anything of that nature is attached, clarified Edward G. Garbenis, cybersecurity researcher and publisher at Atlas VPN.
“It is completely free. The premium subscription to our service will last for a one-year period, and it includes all of the features that people who pay for it get,” he told TechNewsWorld.
VPNs reroute all your internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel. It defends against online snooping from hackers, governments, or internet service providers (ISPs).
They also mask users’ internet protocol (IP) addresses, which can protect them from censorship and other internet restrictions.
Atlas VPN supports freedom online and beyond, and wants to help journalists who risk their safety to provide the most accurate information to the public, according to Garbenis.
“This way, media representatives can carry out their investigations online and share their findings while being protected by military-grade encryption, which will completely hide their online activities,” he added.
A VPN offer two benefits in this scenario, offered Garbenis.
First, it protects individuals from being attacked by DDoS attacks. This is especially important for independent reporters, who have no backing if they get targeted by threat actors.
While it is challenging for large enterprises to protect themselves against DDoS attacks, this is not the case for individuals.
Users can hide their IP address by connecting to a VPN server, which means that hackers cannot locate your network and, in turn, cannot target you, he said.
Second, neither their ISP nor other third parties will have any track of the reporters’ activities online. This, hopefully, will encourage them to share information even more openly, even if that is done under an alias or by private messages with media outlets.
Timeline Prompted Reaction
Cyberattackers last week on Feb. 15 unleashed a large-scale wave of DDoS attacks that knocked down the websites of Ukraine’s defense ministry, army, and two of its largest banks, PrivatBank and Oschadbank.
This week on Wednesday, another DDoS attack took down multiple Ukrainian government, military, and bank websites. This second round of cyberattacks incurred shorter-lasting outages, according to Atlas VPN’s blog.
According to U.S. and U.K. government agencies, the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate carried out the attacks. With a full-scale invasion now evident, more cyberattacks can be expected, warn cybersecurity experts.
Atlas VPN announced its free VPN service offer to journalists in Ukraine on Thursday, Feb. 24, hours after Russia’s armed forces invaded the country.
The complete announcement about free VPN subscriptions to support journalists in Ukraine is available here.