Russian Federation may unplug from the internet to test its cyberdefenses

Cheryl Sanders
February 12, 2019

The goal of the exercise is to prepare for a law that is expected to pass called the Digital Economy National Program, which would reroute all internet traffic inside Russia's borders to travel through Russian servers.

The test, due to be held before 1 April, will keep all data circulating between Russian citizens and organisations within the country's borders rather than passing through global routes.

Russian Federation is planning to disconnect its internet systems from the global network - as a test of its cyber-defences.

In the short term the planned disconnection is largely meant to assuage the fears of domestic internet service providers that the draft legislation could impose huge costs on them and harm the reliability of the Russian internet.

A test related to a draft law aimed at making Russian Federation more digitally independent could be carried out before April 1, the BBC reports, but no exact date has been set.

This is reportedly being done to protect Russia from potential cyberattacks, but it could also be used to more closely censor the internet use of Russian citizens.

Russian Federation has regularly been accused of cyber attacks on other nations and organisations.

The draft Digital Economy National Program would see Russian Federation establish its own version of the net's address system, called a DNS, that would allow the country to remain online if it got cut off from global servers.

In particular, politicians are anxious that Western accusations of Russian hacking could lead to retaliatory cyberattacks and are trying to develop a way to isolate the Russian internet.

Authorities have even built a local backup of the Domain Name System (DNS), which they first tested in 2014, and again in 2018, and which will now be a major component of the Runet when ISPs plan to disconnect the country from the rest of the world. Agora, a Russian human rights group, said in a report this month that Russian internet freedoms had fallen fivefold in the past 12 months.

The Russian government has agreed to foot the bill and to cover the costs of ISPs modifying their infrastructure and installing new servers for redirecting traffic towards Roskomnazor's approved exchange point.

Other reports by iNewsToday