Encrypted messengers, offline maps connecting Ukrainians amid Russian invasion

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As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine entered its sixth day amid widespread cyber attacks, the citizens have turned to encrypted communication apps, offline maps, and Twitter to keep abreast with the latest news and connect with friends and families.

Currently, the top five apps in the country’s iOS App Store are Signal, Telegram, Twitter, and offline messengers Zello and Bridgefy. Maps. Me — and offline maps app — has taken over Google Maps that has blocked live traffic data in the country. Starlink’s app from SpaceX jumped up 39 spots after Elon Musk announced the satellite internet service was now active in the country, reports TechCrunch.

Telegram tops the charts across both App Store and Google Play. “The offline messaging app Bridgefy saw the largest percentage increase in new installs, growing a whopping 4,730.8 percent month-over-month from just 591 downloads during the same period last month to now 28,550 new installs over the past few days,” said the report. Another walkie-talkie app, Zello, grew downloads 99.3 percent. Streaming radio apps, Radios Ukraine and Simple Radio have moved higher on the App Store.

Since Russia has locked down access to news and social media, demand for VPN apps has grown.

To stay Ukrainians connected, Musk-run SpaceX has sent a truck full of Starlink user terminals to Ukraine amid the Russian invasion.

The satellites could keep Ukraine online if its Internet infrastructure is damaged by Russia’s attack.

Earlier, Google stopped live traffic data in Ukraine, apparently after reports claimed that people around the world were using the service to track the movements of troops and civilians during the Russian invasion.

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