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Russia Mulls Disconnecting From Internet In Test Of Cyberdefenses

12 February 2019

Russia's telecoms would have to re-route the country's internet traffic to exchange points approved by Russian telecom watchdog Roskomnazor so it can block prohibited content and ensure traffic doesn't pass through foreign servers, CNET sister site ZDNet reported Monday.

The rather odd decision by Vladimir Putin's country to prepare to close off its internet connections from the outside world comes in response to what local news agency RosBiznesKonsalting* (RBK) described as a new draft law "on a sustainable Runet".

They want the ability to inspect traffic and ensure it is not routed outside of Russian Federation.

The test is expected to happen before April 1st, but no exact date has been confirmed. 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.

According to a report on the Russian news site RBC, the planned disconnection is meant to analyse the country's preparedness for a draft law mandating a "sovereign" internet. The test disconnection would provide ISPs with data about how their networks would react.

The Russian government is planning to temporarily shut down the Russian internet.

By carrying out this test, Russian Federation is believed to be one step closer to a situation in which all domestic internet service providers will have to direct data through state-controlled routers.

Russia's response comes as North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries announced several times that they were mulling a stronger response to cyber attacks, of which Russian Federation is constantly accused of carrying out.

Russia's Lower House of Parliament on Tuesday gave tentative approval to draft legislation for the country to instate measures to isolate itself from the global internet.

The Russian government is providing cash for ISPs to modify their infrastructure so the redirection effort can be properly tested. This is similar to the Great Firewall of China, but with the ability to maintain independence with an isolated intranet if needed.