Private Internet Access announced today to all its customers via email that it made the decision to shut down all of the company's Russian servers.
The VPN provider, who operates servers in dozens of countries, cites a new Russian law that makes it mandatory for providers to log all Internet traffic for up to a year as the prime reason.
Additionally, Private Internet Access mentions that some of the company's servers were seized by Russian authorities recently without "notice or any type of due process".
Since logs are not kept by the company on the server it operates, no user information or data has been compromised.
The company made the decision to pull out of Russia completely and cease operations in the country.
Upon learning of the above, we immediately discontinued our Russian gateways and will no longer be doing business in the region.
Private Internet Access released an update for all desktop clients and mobile applications that rotates all company certificates. All client applications ship with additional security measures on top of that.
The company notes that the measures are purely preventative.
Private Internet Access customers on the desktop can download the latest client version from the official website. The mobile clients link to the respective application stores operated by Google and Apple respectively.
Customers who use manual configurations to connect to Private Internet Access servers -- as opposed to using the software or apps -- may set up AES-256, SHA-256 and RSA-4096 algorithms
To make it clear, the privacy and security of our users is our number one priority. For preventative reasons, we are rotating all of our certificates. Furthermore, we’re updating our client applications with improved security measures to mitigate circumstances like this in the future, on top of what is already in place. In addition, our manual configurations now support the strongest new encryption algorithms including AES-256, SHA-256, and RSA-4096.
The new desktop client version of Private Internet Access ships with a new feature that the company calls MACE. It is listed as an advanced option in Settings and will block advertisement, trackers and malware automatically when the device is connected to the VPN.
Additional information about the new feature is not available at this point in time. It is unclear which list or lists PIA MACE uses to block sites. The feature is disabled by default and needs to be enabled in the settings though.
The option to connect to a Russian VPN server is gone after the update and it seems unlikely that it is going to return any time soon.
Private Internet Access announced that it will evaluate servers in other countries as well.
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats (video ads) or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.