Russia's population is increasingly cut off from the rest of the world, and we're not talking about just physically. With complete bans on major social media platforms like Facebook, and many more tech companies voluntarily withdrawing services, Russia is at risk of creating a "splinternet" according to writers at MIT.
VPNs are having a moment
To get by the increasing number of internet restrictions, many Russians have turned to virtual private networks (VPNs), which offer an encrypted connection over the internet. By re-routing traffic through other servers, your physical location, and other data about your browsing habits, can stay hidden.
5 or 6 years ago you might have tried to trick Netflix into thinking you were in a different country by using a VPN to access the different movies and shows in that country. Now VPNs are providing a vital lifeline to the digital world.
Indeed, Russia's app stores (on both iOS and Android) are completely dominated by VPN and other privacy providers according to Sensor Tower. Since the invasion on Feb 24th one such app, developed by Signal Lab, jumped from being the ~500th most downloaded app on any given day to being the number 1, for pretty much the last 2 weeks straight.