As a cyber-defensive measure, the Russian government will reportedly perform a trial run of a measure that would effectively cut off the country from the rest of the world’s web.
Last year, Russia introduced its Digital Economy National Program, a plan that would require Russian internet providers to remain functional in the event the country was cut off from worldwide internet. Under this plan, Russian ISPs would redirect web traffic to routing points within the country and rely on its own copy of the Domain Name System (DNS), the directory of domains and addresses that underpins the global internet.
The test run could be useful to the country for a few reasons. Primarily, Russia aims to simulate the drastic measures it would take in the case of some kind of cyber threat to its national security. But for a country notorious for its restrictive environment for individual and press freedom, the test may also be a useful way to see how the country could wield a more closely held internet to control its own people and guard against foreign interests.
The extreme measure, if successful, would allow Russia to effectively operate its own state-controlled internet and cut itself off from the world as it sees fit. While the test date is not yet known, it’s expected to happen before April 1 of this year, the last day for lawmakers to propose amendments to the Digital Economy National Program.