Russian Federation to disconnect from global internet to test its cyber-defences

Russia to disconnect from the internet as part of a planned test

The test will mean data passing between Russian citizens and organisations stays inside the nation rather than being routed internationally. It proposes that data being transferred between internet service providers should pass through new "traffic exchange points" that would be individually identifiable.

Under the proposed law, Russian Federation wants to build its own version of the net's address system, known as Domain Name System (DNS), which could still operate if links to foreign-based servers were disconnected.

Russian Federation also wants all internal network traffic to pass through routing points controlled by the government.

The draft law, called the Digital Economy National Program, requires Russia's internet service providers to ensure they can operate if foreign powers attempt to sabotage them.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and its allies have threatened to sanction Russian Federation over the cyber-attacks and other online interference which it is regularly accused of instigating.

Russian Federation wants to be able to disconnect from the worldwide internet while keeping intact a local internet that would keep its citizens connected to local services and providers.

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Supporters say the proposal is necessary in case Russian Federation was to be cut off from the global internet, but opponents fear the measure would lead to widespread censorship.

But experts have said developing such sweeping capabilities, if not impossible, would be extremely expensive and could lead to major disruptions in the functioning of the internet.

This is not the first time that the Russian authorities have proposed imposing such draconian laws under the pretext of national security. Reportedly, the Russian state is accused to be behind various large scale attacks on Western governments in the past years, working with anonymous hacker groups such as APT 28, which is also known as Fancy Bear, as cover.

The bill faces two more votes in the lower chamber, before it is voted on in the upper house of parliament and then signed into law by President Vladimir Putin.

The law has drawn comparisons to the Great Firewall internet restrictions in China, which blocks certain keywords and blacklists sites such as Facebook.

This test will include the creation of an alternative domain name system (DNS) to protect the Russian-language section of the internet if in case it is disconnected from the World Wide Web.

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