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article imageParler is back online with help from Russian security firm

By Karen Graham     Jan 19, 2021 in Internet
Parler, a social media website and app popular with the American far-right, partially returned online on Sunday – with the help of a Russian-owned technology company.
The Parler app is more popular than the website but is still banned from the Google and Apple app stores. Right now, the site is little more than a series of a few messages from Parler's CEO, John Matze, and he is reportedly "confident" it will reappear in its entirety by the end of January.
Parler was dropped by website host Amazon Web Services (AWS) on January 11. AWS said the platform "poses a very real risk to public safety." Parler is largely unmoderated, and bills itself as "the world's premier free speech platform." The site has attracted conspiracy theorists, hate group members, and right-wing activists who have openly incited violence.
There are questions as to how Parler got back online. The website's internet protocol address being used now is owned by DDos-Guard, The site is controlled by two Russian men and provides services including protection from cyberattacks known as distributed denial of service attacks, infrastructure expert Ronald Guilmette told Reuters.
DDoS-Guard’s website lists an address in Scotland under the company name Cognitive Cloud LP, and the two Russians who control the site live in Rostov-on-Don, Russia. One of the men, Evgeniy Marchenko, told The Guardian recently that he was not aware of all of the content the company facilitates.
Marchenko went on to say the company hosts "thousands of websites" which Business Insider says includes Russian government sites and the neo-Nazi site the Daily Stormer. The site has also worked with a Washington-based internet provider VanwaTech, which hosts the website 8chan, a social-media site popular among QAnon supporters and used by rioters to plot the Capitol siege
"We are not related to any politic issues and don't want to be associated in any sense with customer hosting such toxic sites like QAnon/8chan," Marchenko told The Guardian.
Critics of Parler's choice of a web hosting site like DDos-Guard say this raises red flags - particularly over being a security risk. Another question is why in the world would Parler, a site popular with so-called "patriots" use a web host used by extremist groups, and even mass murderers, according to Reuters.
More about Parler, DDosGuard, russian government sites, Racist comments, Extremism
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