Russia will disconnect from the Internet tomorrow to test cyber-war defences

by Shivali Best | Mirror
November 1, 2019

In a bid to protect itself from any cyberattacks , Russia will disconnect from the global internet tomorrow.

The test will see Russia revert to an internal version of the web called ‘RuNet’ which is isolated from the networks of other nations, according to a report by D-Russia.

While the Russian Government claims that the test is intended to shield Russian systems from a potential cyber-attack, critics claim that the tests are part of a wider attempt to isolate Russia’s citizens from the surrounding world.

The D-Russia report writes: “On Monday, the government approved the provision on conducting exercises to ensure the stable, safe and holistic functioning of the Internet and public communications networks in the Russian Federation.

“The exercises are [to be] held at the federal and regional levels.”

Russia hopes the test will reduce its reliance on Western IT systems, according to Russian expert at the American Foreign Policy Council, Samuel Bendett.

Speaking to Defense One , he said: “The larger context is Russia’s dependence as a nation on imported/foreign hi-tech and the perceived vulnerabilities that Russia sees in such technology use.

“With so many government, public, and private-sector nodes using such foreign tech, the Russian government is seeking to impose a measure of control over how Internet communication over this technology is conducted.

“In the event of what the government sees as outside influence affecting RuNet, the state can act — hence the annual exercise.”

However, other experts claim that the tests are an attempt by the Russian Government to isolate its citizens.

Justin Sherman, New America net expert, said: “The Russian government, particularly since seeing the role social media played in the Arab Spring, has wanted […] to exert tight control over the online information space within Russia’s borders.

“Free information flows are a threat to regime stability, and they need to be controlled, the narrative goes.”

It remains unclear what time the test will start, or how long it will last.

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