Russian Federation to ‘disconnect’ from internet as part of cyber-war planning

Clay Curtis
February 12, 2019

That's according to Russian news agency RosBiznesKonsalting, which made the announcement last week.

But under the proposed rules, Russia's telecoms firms would have to install "technical means" to re-route that traffic through national exchange points.

The bill proposes that all internet traffic to users be routed through servers in Russian Federation - making VPNs (virtual private networks) ineffective.

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

Russian internet providers are working with the government to execute this temporary internet blackout.

The announcement comes after a draft law called the Digital Economy National Program - which requires Russian internet service providers (ISPs) to make technical changes as the nation prepares for sanctions - was introduced to Russian parliament past year.

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Russia has tried, so far with extremely limited success, to block Telegram, a popular encrypted messaging service, but its use continues to be widespread, including among some senior Russian government officials who are reported to use VPNs to circumvent the ban.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation nations recently said they planned to hit Russian Federation with a stronger response to its own cyber attacks.

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

He added that it will be hard for them to shut down all the outside router points if they want to carry out the test, since they have to attack different servers from hundreds of providers, while only some of the providers are Russian companies.

However, many observers think the creation of a Russian intranet is a further step towards a goal of duplicating the Great Firewall of China to restrict the access of the country's internet users to content deemed harmful by the authorities.

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