In the coming weeks, Russia is going to do the unthinkable – it is going to test whether it can survive after disconnecting from the global internet.
This means they will have to keep the internet running internally for its citizens, for which they will need servers of their own to rely on.
The purpose of the test is to support the “sovereign internet law” being pushed by the Russian government. It looks as though it will get all the support it needs, and will get approved by President Vladimir Putin, but for now, it has been stalled in the parliament.
Russia is planning to disconnect its internet systems from the global network, as a test of its cyber-defences.
The test is expected to happen before April 1st, but no exact date has been confirmed.https://t.co/iIz81zUG7r
— euronews (@euronews) February 12, 2019
The idea may be simple, but it is a difficult feat to pull off. Not only is this a technical challenge, but it will be quite expensive too. The initial cost is estimated by Russia’s financial watchdog to be $38 million, but it will most likely require a lot more funding.
An author of the plan has stated that the cost will be more on the lines of $304 million, as reported by Bloomberg, but even then that figure is not going to be enough to the get the system running and to maintain it.
The general public is not pleased with this decision, and 15,000 people already took to the streets earlier this month in Moscow to protest against the proposed law.
How “Operation Disconnect” will Work?
If you are wondering how Russia will disconnect itself from the global internet, you are not alone.
For now, it is unclear how the upcoming disconnect test will work out, but what can be said for certain is that if the law passes, Russia’s ISPs will be required to utilize exchange points within the country, more specifically those approved by Roskomnadzor, Russia’s telecom regulator.
The exchange points are a bridge for ISPs to connect with one another. It will be where their cabling will meet to transmit and receive traffic.
These physical locations will be monitored by IXPs (Internet Exchange Providers). It is worth noting Russia’s largest IXP is located in Moscow, connecting Riga in Latvia and cities in Russia’s east.
The exchange point, MSK-IX, is recognized for being the world’s largest. It connects more than 500 ISPs, and handles 140 gigabits of data on weekdays during peak hours. Apart from this, there are six other exchange points in Russia, which span 11 time zones.
There are numerous ISPs that use exchange points located in neighboring countries, which will be off limits if and when the law comes into effect.
How can Russians Overcome this Dilemma?
Russians concerned about being restricted from accessing any and all content online will be pleased to know they are not out for the count.
They can use a reliable VPN, like Ivacy VPN, to connect to different servers from around the globe, which in turn will give them access to content from regions outsides Russia.
At the same time, it also ensures they remain safe, secure and anonymous online, so even though they may be connected to a different region, they will be unidentifiable, let alone be open to cyberattacks.