A Major Internet Backbone Company Cuts Off Russia

Russia’s War of choice against Ukraine drew global attention this week with Russian President Vladimir Putin continuing to escalate the conflict as the United States and Europe moved to drastically isolate the Kremlin. Though the front lines of battle have not been digital, Ukraine emphasized this week that Russia is pummeling the embattled country’s computer networks with hacking attempts. After years of such activity, Ukrainian internet infrastructure is resilient, and the Ukrainian government is also experimenting with the formation of a volunteer “IT Army” to organize recruits from all over the world for its cause.

Ukrainians have been relying on the messaging platform Telegram to get much of their news and official government updates about the situation, and hacktivists have been attempting to make their mark in the conflict as well, though their actions are often dwarfed by the reality of kinetic war.

We’ve got the story of an online troll who used tactics such as misleading press releases and tricky domain names in an effort to sabotage competitors in the nonalcoholic spirit industry. And the startup Kytch, which sold a device for fixing McDonald’s ice cream machines before the fast food giant crushed its business, is suing the Golden aAches for $900 million in damages

But wait, there’s more. We’ve rounded up all the news here that we didn’t break or cover in depth this week. Click on the headlines to read the full stories. And stay safe out there.

US internet infrastructure company Cogent Communications said on Friday that it is ending relationships with its Russian customers, including the state-owned Russian telecoms Rostelecom and TransTelekom. The global internet is interdependent, and Russia has other backbone providers besides Cogent to stay connected to the world, but the company is one of the biggest. Cogent said it weighed the risks that some people in Russia will lose global connectivity against the possibility that the Russian government will benefit from Cogent’s service in mounting disinformation campaigns and hacks against Ukrainian targets. “Our goal is not to hurt anyone. It’s just to not empower the Russian government to have another tool in…