April 22, 2021

Russia studies temporarily disconnecting the Internet to test its sovereign network project | Technology

Russia studies temporarily disconnecting the Internet to test its sovereign network project | Technology

The Russian government wants to be prepared for a cyber war. And to avoid vulnerabilities, he is designing an independent Internet project. Now, the authorities plan temporary Internet disconnections to prove that, in case of foreign aggression, Russia could be "unplugged" from the global network. The experiment will determine how possible it will be that the data exchanged by organizations and users will be routed within Russia instead of outside. The project, which also contemplates that the Russian telecommunications organization, the Roskomnazor, inspect traffic and block forbidden content, has aroused the alarm of civil rights organizations and experts who see it as another attempt by the Kremlin to limit freedoms in cyberspace.

The ultimate goal is to achieve a system for filtering traffic on the Internet, such as the Great Firewall of China, but also a powerful Intranet that covers all foreign matters in the event that Russia disconnects. The project includes measures for Russia to build its own version of the network address system (known as DNS) so that it can work if links to those servers located outside are cut off. With that, the Internet providers of the Eurasian country would make sure that they can operate in the case that foreign powers initiate a cyber attack to isolate Russia from the Network.

Russian telecommunication companies would also have to install "technical means" to redirect all Russian Internet traffic to exchange points approved or managed by Roskomnazor, although the cost, the bill says, will be debated today in Parliament but to which still has time to receive the green light, points out that there will be funds for it.

The plan, which has the backing of the Kremlin although it has aroused the doubts of the Court of Auditors, speaks not only of emergency scenarios; It also says to pursue an objective: to reduce the amount of traffic routed through servers outside the country from 50% in 2018 to 10% in 2024.

Russia is under the international focus years designated precisely by NATO and its Western allies as responsible for various and powerful cyber attacks. The United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and many others have accused the Kremlin of having hackers at their service to infect millions of computers around the world in preparation for what they called "a future offensive". They warn that Russia has already attacked state agencies, critical infrastructures, companies and individuals and they have been threatening new sanctions for these cyber attacks for some time and by interference in the Network like the one that supposedly helped Donald Trump to reach the White House in 2016.

There is still no date for the trial. Nor instructions of how it is going to be carried out. The Russian media RBK, which has written a lot about RuNet – as the Russian sovereign Internet is called – points out that it will be before April 1. Although it is also unknown if that 'blackout' will be global or only in parts. The chair of the working group and head of the security company InfoWach, Nayalia Kasperskaya, told RBK that experts working on the project – from analysts to operators such as MegaFon, MTS or RosTelecom – had agreed on the need for trials .

"All the participants in the discussion agree that [el proyecto] It has good purposes, but the mechanisms of its application generate many questions. Especially since there is not yet a written regulation of that application. That's why we decided that the market players should do some kind of tests to see how they can get going, "Kasperskaya told RBK. That is, with what technical means are available to 'unplug' Russia for a minimum time that does not cause harm to consumers and institutions.


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