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Russia is planning to disconnect itself from the World Wide Web

In Soviet Russia, Internet disconnect you.

kremlin in russia in snow
Image: Unsplash

Russia probably worries about retaliatory measures after all its involvement in hacking and other cybercrimes, so it’s planning to disconnect the Runet (Russia’s internal internet) from the world at large as a test. According to ZDNet, this disconnect will happen before April 1st, testing how well Russia’s cyber infrastructure can hold up if it gets attacked from the outside.

The plan likely wouldn’t affect how ordinary Russians access the internet, instead, it would change how the back-end functions. The internet as it stands runs on DNS services, all 12 of which are outside of Russia’s borders. Russian authorities have created their own DNS database, which has been tested before in 2014 and 2018, which if it works correctly, will ensure that Russian internet users don’t see much of a difference when the planned switch-off occurs.

This would mean an end to internet privacy in Russia

The move will also funnel all Russian internet traffic through monitored servers, similar to how China’s Great Firewall operates. That means a likely end to privacy for Russian users online, as the authorities could watch everything they do (not that they don’t already). Russia has been working towards this end for years now, saying they plan to route 95% of its internet traffic locally by 2020.

The Russian government is footing the bill for this huge infrastructure redesign, which would put ultimate power over internet access and content firmly in its grasp. The experiment itself is being overseen by Russia’s Information Security Working Group, which includes Kaspersky co-founder Natalya Kaspersky. With her involvement in this project, do you still think that Kaspersky Labs products aren’t being used to spy for the GRU?

Unsurprisingly, this announcement comes on the heels of an increasingly vocal NATO, whose member states have been working on a response to the cyberattacks that Russia is constantly accused of in recent years. Whatever the outcome of this test, it’s the “saber rattling” of the digital age. What matters now is how the rest of the world responds.

What do you think? Is this a surprising move? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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