AWS is no longer accepting new customers in Russia and Belarus

9 Mar 2022

Image: © Sundry Photography/Stock.adobe.com

While existing customers will not be impacted, AWS stressed that its big clients in Russia are headquartered outside the country and it doesn’t do business with the Russian government.

Amazon’s cloud computing business, Amazon Web Services (AWS), is no longer accepting new customers based in Russia or Belarus.

The New York Times reported that the policy change was quietly rolled out over the weekend, before the company confirmed it in an updated blog post yesterday (8 March).

Future Human

Amazon said that “given the ongoing situation in Russian and Ukraine”, it will block new AWS sign-ups in Belarus and Russia.

This move will not affect existing customers, but the company said its biggest clients using AWS in Russia are companies that are headquartered outside the country and have some development teams there.

“Unlike some other US technology providers, Amazon and AWS have no data centres, infrastructure or offices in Russia, and we have a longstanding policy of not doing business with the Russian government,” the company added.

Ukraine’s vice prime minister, Mykhailo Fedorov, had appealed to Amazon executive chair Jeff Bezos to suspend the provision of all AWS services in Russia.

While it hasn’t fully suspended AWS in the country, Amazon joins a growing list of tech companies distancing themselves from Russia. Cloud competitor Microsoft said on Friday (4 March) that it is suspending all new sales of products and services in Russia.

New malware activity

Amazon has been taking several steps in support of Ukraine in recent weeks. As well as the AWS decision, Amazon is also suspending the shipping of retail products to customers in Russia and Belarus and is no longer accepting new Amazon third-party sellers based in these countries.

On the tech side, AWS has been working with Ukrainian customers and partners to keep applications secure as organisations in the country face cyberthreats from Russia.

The company said it is building and supplying services and tools to customers to help migrate on-premises infrastructure onto AWS to protect from potential attacks.

It also said it is working closely with Ukrainian IT organisations to fend off attacks and share real-time intelligence with governments and IT groups in Europe, North America and around the world.

“Our teams have seen new malware signatures and activity from a number of state actors we monitor,” the company said in an update on Friday.

“As this activity has ramped up, our teams and technologies detected the threats, learned the patterns, and placed remediation tools directly into the hands of customers.”

AWS has seen “several situations” where malware has been specifically targeted at charities, NGOs and other aid organisations to cause confusion or disruption.

Cybersecurity researchers at Proofpoint also said last week they had identified a state-sponsored phishing campaign targeting European officials with malware in a bid to disrupt efforts to manage refugees fleeing from Ukraine.

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Sarah Harford is sub-editor of Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com