Russia Plans To Temporarily Disconnect Entire Country From Internet Before April

Alfred Osborne
February 12, 2019

Russian Federation is preparing to detach itself from the rest of the world by briefly disconnecting from the internet, as it readies for future cyber warfare.

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.

Internet providers in Russia are preparing to conduct exercises that will help the nation build a path toward possible internet independence, according to Russian news reports.

A date for the test has not been set, but is supposed to happen before April 1, according to a law introduced previous year.

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The plan is part of a draft law, called Digital Economy National Program, which was submitted to Russia's parliament past year, BBC News reports, citing Russian media. The draft legislation, which was introduced in Russia's parliament in December 2018, would also require Russian telecom companies to be able to reroute all internet traffic to exchange points approved by Roskomnadzor, Russia's telecoms regulator. However, it is unclear from the original Russian report if internet providers will actually disconnect the internet in Russia as a part of these tests.

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

RBK reported that all internet providers agreed with the law's goals, but disagreed with its technical implementation, which they believe will cause major disruptions to Russian internet traffic. The Russian state is said to have been behind several large scale attacks on Western governments in recent years, using anonymous hacker groups such as APT 28, which is also known as Fancy Bear, as cover. An alternative localised DNS would allow Runet to function without access to servers located across the world.

Eventually the Russian government wants all domestic traffic to pass through these routing points. This initiative has been compared to China's Great Firewall, which allows the Chinese government to control the flow of information across the internet.

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