03:00 GMT05 December 2020
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    Russia should brace for possibly being disconnected from the global Internet, said German Klimenko, Russian presidential Internet adviser. Expert Leontiy Bukshtein also sees the threat as real. However, experts suggest that Russia could use telecommunications systems of other countries, including China, to have access to the global network.

    In a recent interview with RT, Klimenko suggested that Russia should be prepared for a situation in which the country would be cut off from global computer networks.

    He made his comments, asking a question about a November draft law seeking to establish a regulatory mechanism for the Russian segment of the Internet.

    "In the law we are talking about the protection of critical infrastructure, which should be located in the territory of Russia. For example, hackers can penetrate the structure of commercial banks and steal money. This is bad, but if they enter into the system of the Central Bank, we would be in big trouble," Klimenko said.

    However, the adviser underscored that the law will not influence regular users.

    In early-December, the Russian Federal Security Service (the FSB) reported that foreign intelligence services were reading cyber-attacks in an attempt to destabilize the Russian financial system.

    According to an executive order by United States President Barack Obama, Western countries cut off Crimea from Google and Microsoft services after the peninsula reunited with Russia in 2014.

    Moreover, the West has threatened disconnecting Russia from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), a network enabling global financial institutions to send and receive information about financial transactions.

    According to telecom expert and journalist Leontiy Bukshtein, there is a real possibility that Russia could be disconnected from the global Internet.

    "This has long been in discussion. The West has threatened Russia with disconnecting from SWIFT. They also pressured Visa and MasterCard to force them to stop operating in Russia," Bukshtein told Radio Sputnik.

    According to him, Washington’s approach on the issue is very pragmatic.

    "The US controls the majority of international structure and can disconnect any country from the Internet in just one click. So, everything is possible now," the expert pointed out.

    However, Russia is making preventive measures to protect its networks, he added.

    "Everything understands that the global Internet means global dependency. This is why Russia is moving servers with its data to its territory. We’ve created Russian analogues of crucial Western-developed software," Bukshtein said.

    Kirill Bagayev, head of New Media research foundation, underscored that Russia should take care of its telecommunication infrastructure and develop its own system.

    "We’re dependent on the infrastructure that is located in the West. In the event of disconnecting Russia from the Internet, we need a plan B," he told the Russian online newspaper Vzglyad.

    According to Bagayev, the possiblity of Russia being disconnected from the Internet would also have a significant impact on everyday life in the country.

    Igor Nezhdanov, director of the Laboratory for Advanced Research, agreed that Moscow should take preparatory measures for such a scenario.

    "In order to prevent a nationwide crisis, Russia should make its domestic telecommunication infrastructure more independent from foreign services. If Russia was disconnected from the global network, websites and services not located in Russia would not work. But we could make an agreement with, for example, China or India, and this would partially resolve the problem," he told Vzglyad.

    The analyst explained that China could provide transit of traffic from foreign websites. However, in this situation connection speed would be much slower.

    "So, we could use China as a big proxy server," he said.

    Major corporations like Google, Twitter and Facebook have globally distributed infrastructure, so their servers are located around the world, including in China.


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    cybersecurity, Internet, US, Russia
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