Why Russia Is About To Switch Off The Internet

Preliminary Draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia

Russian Federation is planning to disconnect its internet infrastructure from the global network - as a test of its cyber-defences.

Russian Federation may cut itself off from the wider internet, at least temporarily.

Roskomnazor, Russia's telecom watchdog, will monitor all traffic flowing through these points to make sure data is not being routed outside of Russia.

The disconnect experiment is being overseen by Russia's Information Security Working Group; its members include Natalya Kaspersky, the co-founder of Kaspersky Lab, which has faced backlash overseas over allegations that the Russian government used Kaspersky Lab products to spy on computers. This initiative has been compared to China's Great Firewall, which allows the Chinese government to control the flow of information across the internet. Agora, a Russian human rights group, said in a report this month that Russian internet freedoms had fallen fivefold in the past 12 months.

Cost ranks high among the ISPs' concerns.

Even that may not work: the draft law requires Roskomodzor to be kept informed of the entire scheme of every ISP's network and traffic routing in real time, something the operators argue is not possible.

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Russian Federation has been accused of using the internet to interfere in the electoral process of countries such as France and the United States. Putin has previously called the internet a "CIA project".

A bill was submitted to the State Duma on December 14 on the need to ensure the autonomous operation of the Russian segment of the Internet if there is no access to foreign servers.

"The disconnection of Russia from the global web would mean that we are already at war with everyone", Filipp Kulin, a Russian internet expert, told the BBC's Russian language service.

The experiment is part of preparations for a potential cyber war with the United States that could see President Donald Trump shut down Russia's internet access.

"Also through this equipment, Roskomnadzor will block resources prohibited in Russian Federation (now operators do it themselves)", RBK reported.

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