Russia bans VPNs to stop users from looking at censored sites

Russia is cracking down on software that allows users to view internet sites banned by the government.

President Vladimir Putin has signed a bill that prohibits services, including virtual private networks (VPNs), that enable users to skirt government censorship efforts.

The law will take effect on November 1.

VPNs use encryption to disguise the source of internet traffic, allowing users to view websites that are banned in their home countries. Many popular VPN services cost around $10 a month.

Russian internet regulator Roskomnadzor maintains a blacklist of thousands of websites.