To test the security of its data, Russia is considering disconnecting its Internet service for a short period of time. The test will affect all the data sent by Russian citizens or organizations as Internet access would be limited only within the national territory, meaning that they will not be routed internationally.
The test has no set date but reports indicate that it will happen before April 1st. The bill called “The National Digital Economy Program” that determines the changes needed for the internet to be operated independently was submitted to Parliament in 2018.
The NDEP bill calls on Russian Internet service providers (ISPs) to develop operating capacity should foreign powers move to isolate Russia from the online world. For instance, NATO, which includes the US and its allies, have already threatened to penalize Russia over cyber attacks and other online crimes for which the country is accused.
The measures described in the law comprise a Russian version of the Domain Name System (DNS). In this way, the Internet in the country could work even if the connections with international servers are cut off.
There are 12 organizations that oversee DNS base servers and none of them are in Russian territory.
The test will involve ISPs to demonstrate the ability to route data to government-controlled routing points. The traffic will be filtered, so the information sent between Russians will arrive at their destinations.
Furthermore, the Russian government wants local traffic to pass entirely through these routing points. However, there are those who believe that this is part of efforts to develop a mass censorship system similar to what is seen in China, where any suspicious traffic is blocked – until proven otherwise.
According to Russian news agencies, the providers are truly supportive of the bill’s goals, but are unsure how to do it. They believe the test will cause major disruptions in data traffic in Russia, as ZDNet reported.
This is not the first time that the Putin administration has come up with such an idea. In 2013, after Edward Snowden leaked classified NSA documents, the Federal Protective Service in Russia bought 20 typewriters to prevent sensitive information from leaking via electronic means.