Russian Federation plans to unplug from internet in cyber-defense test

Doris Richards
February 12, 2019

The big picture: A recently proposed Russian law would mandate that service providers be able to completely disconnect Russia from the Internet.

The planned unplugging is part of a cyber war-gaming exercise to make sure Russian Federation can still operate even if it is disconnected from outside its borders.

The new law states that state internet providers must be ready to ensure Russia's internet runs smoothly and independently in the event of a foreign attack that disconnects the country from the web.

Roskomnazor will inspect the traffic to block prohibited content and make sure traffic between Russian users stays inside the country, and is not re-routed uselessly through servers overseas, where it could be intercepted.

There's no official date for when this move might take place, but the BBC reports that it would likely occur before April 1. It's not clear if this test will disrupt Internet connectivity inside Russian Federation or not but all Internet providers have agreed to participate. Natalya Kaspersky, Director of Russian cyber-security firm InfoWatch, and co-founder of Kaspersky Lab, presides over the group, which also includes major Russian telcos such as MegaFon, Beeline, MTS, RosTelecom, and others.

The Russian government has been working on the complex cyber defense tactic for several years.


ZDNet also reports that Russian officials "plan to route 95 percent of all internet traffic locally by 2020". An alternative localised DNS would allow Runet to function without access to servers located across the world.

The experiment is part of preparations for a potential cyber war with the USA that could see President Donald Trump shut down Russia's internet access.

This comes after repeated threats from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to sanction Russian Federation for being behind several cyberattacks.

The proposed law, fully endorsed by President Putin, is expected to pass.

According to the BBC, Russia eventually wants all internet traffic to flow through its private network, which could create a system like that in China, where popular websites are banned and internet use is heavily monitored.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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