Russia is making preparations to detach itself from the rest of the world by temporarily disconnecting from the internet, as it prepares for future cyber warfare.
The test is scheduled to be held before the 1st of April. It will keep all the data that are circulating between the citizens and organisations in Russian within the borders of the country instead of passing through international routes.
The move comes after a law was passed in the Kremlin in 2018. The said law ordered some changes to be imposed so that Russia could independently operate on the internet, should the necessity arise.
The move is called the Digital Economy National Programme (DENP). Its measures include the creation of the own internet address system that is exclusive to Russia so that its online access could continue once the connections to international servers were cut.
The test is being carried out as Russia receives various threats regarding sanctions from Nato and others over its alleged use of cyber-hacking tactics that involves global espionage. Reportedly, the Russian state is accused to be behind various large scale attacks on Western governments in the past years, working with anonymous hacker groups such as APT 28, which is also known as Fancy Bear, as cover.
However, the DENP could also pave the way for the Kremlin to impose mass-censorship in Russia, similar to what is imposed by the Chinese government. Also nicknamed as the Great Firewall, the digital publication of information that the state deems to be sensitive is forbidden, resulting in many major tech companies to exit the country since 2010.
By carrying out the said test, Russia is believed to be a step closer to a situation wherein all domestic internet service providers will have to direct data through state-controlled routers.
Local media outlets have reported that some providers are largely in favour of the legislation, as the state has agreed to give out cash in exchange for proof that such a system could be established.