Search

Russia considers 'unplugging' from internet

BBC Technology 11 Feb 2019 04:15
Vladimir PutinImage copyright Reuters

Russia is considering whether to disconnect from the global internet briefly, as part of a test of its cyber-defences.

The test will mean data passing between Russian citizens and organisations stays inside the nation rather than being routed internationally.

A draft law mandating technical changes needed to operate independently was introduced to its parliament last year.

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

Major disruption

The draft law, called the Digital Economy National Program, requires Russia's ISPs to ensure that it can operate in the event of foreign powers acting to isolate the country online.

Nato and its allies have threatened to sanction Russia over the cyber-attacks and other online interference which it is regularly accused of instigating.

The measures outlined in the law include Russia building its own version of the net's address system, known as DNS, so it can operate if links to these internationally-located servers are cut.

The test is also expected to involve ISPs demonstrating that they can direct data to government-controlled routing points. These will filter traffic so that data sent between Russians reaches its destination, but any destined for foreign computers is discarded.

Russian news organisations reported that the nation's ISPs are broadly backing the aims of the draft law but are divided on how to do it. They believe the test will cause "major disruption" to Russian internet traffic, reports tech news website ZDNet.

How does an entire country "unplug" itself from the internet?

What Russia wants to do is to bring those router points that handle data entering or exiting the country within its borders and under its control- so that it can then pull up the drawbridge, as it were, to external traffic if it's under threat - or if it decides to censor what outside information people can access.

It is possible to get around some firewalls using virtual private networks (VPNs) - which disguise the location of a computer so the filters do not kick in - but some regimes are more tolerant of them than others. China cracks down on them from time to time and the punishment for providing or using illegal VPNs can be a prison sentence.

Continue reading original article...

Tags

RussiaRussian governmentChinaVladimir PutinMauritania
You may also like