Russia is planning to temporarily disconnect the entire country from the global internet, in order to simulate an all-out cyberwar on the country.
During this test, Russian internet service providers (ISPs) will redirect web traffic from within the country to routing points approved or managed by the government’s telecom watchdog, Roskomnazor.
Currently Russia, like most countries, allows internet traffic to use global systems to connect with devices all over the world, this temporary disconnection will reportedly take place in the next few weeks.
In the interim, while the outage is ongoing the country’s internet would also rely its own version of the Domain Name System (DNS), the directory of web domains and addresses.
The trial run is scheduled to take place at some point before April 1, though an exact date has not yet been set.
The experiment is part of the country’s Digital Economy National Program, a draft law introduced last year which intends to protect the country’s digital infrastructure even if other countries cut it off.
The ultimate goal for the program is to wean the country off foreign internet providers and keep the Russian internet independent so it would be protected against potential cyberattacks.
According to Russia’s Izvestia newspaper, the Russian Ministry of Communications in 2017 said it wanted to route 95% of the country’s traffic domestically by 2020.
Having all web traffic within Russia pass through the government’s routing points could also allow Moscow to set up a massive web censorship system, like that in China..
China’s internet censorship system, the Great Firewall; regularly scrubs websites and censors keywords from social media to stop citizens from seeing content unsavory to the regime.
The US, UK, and EU have threatened to sanction Russia over recent cyberattacks.
The US imposed multiple rounds of sanctions on Russian firms and individuals last year, stating that it was responding to Russian attempts to jeopardize the US power grid and its financial system.