The Great Russian Firewall: Putin to unplug his country from the internet

Preliminary Draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been accused of employing state-sponsored cyber espionage

The big picture: A recently proposed Russian law would mandate that service providers be able to completely disconnect Russia from the Internet.

The test, due to be held before 1 April, will keep all data circulating between Russian citizens and organisations within the country's borders rather than passing through worldwide routes.

The formal objective of the new test is to ensure that the Russian internet can function independently in the event that access is cut off by other countries. ZDNet also highlights that under the law, telecom groups would have to install a means to counter a cyber attack threat, largely by rerouting all Russian traffic to exchange points overseen by Russia's federal communications regulator (and censorship mechanism) Roskomnadzor.

The outage will take place before April 1, although an official date has yet to be released, the BBC reports. The test disconnection would provide ISPs with data about how their networks would react.

Russian Federation has regularly been accused of cyber attacks on other nations and organisations.

In March previous year, Putin's then-Internet adviser, German Klimenko, said Russian Federation would be prepared with its own segment of the Internet should Western countries seek to punish it by cutting off all access.

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Some opposition figures were sceptical about the plan to temporarily disconnect from the global internet.

He added that it will be hard for them to shut down all the outside router points if they want to carry out the test, since they have to attack different servers from hundreds of providers, while only some of the providers are Russian companies.

The proposed law, fully endorsed by President Putin, is expected to pass.

The State Duma has passed the first reading of legislation co-authored by Senator Andrey Klishas that would allow the federal authorities to take control over the connection points linking Russian Federation to the global Internet.

The Russian government is providing cash for ISPs to modify their infrastructure so the redirection effort can be properly tested.

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