09/03/2022 15:02 GMT+7
A Russian government document has sparked rumors that the country is preparing to disconnect the Internet from the world. However, the reality is not so.
The document that was circulated was actually a letter from Andrei Chernenko, Deputy Minister of the Digital Ministry of Russia. He asked state websites and portals to strengthen their security by Friday (March 10).
The most surprising point in the letter is that by March 10, Russian state web services must ensure that they have switched to DNS servers located in Russia. DNS stands for Domain Name System (domain name resolution system), basically a system that converts website domain names (such as www.ictnews.vn) to a numerical IP address corresponding to that domain name. and vice versa. In other words, DNS makes it easy for people to use the Internet around the world. The Russian guideline therefore raises the question of whether Russia intends to separate itself from the DNS system or the global Internet.
Before this information, the Russian Digital Ministry confirmed that there were “no plans” to separate Russia from the global Internet. Responding to Interfax news agency, the ministry said the letter was only intended to protect Russian websites against cyber attacks from abroad.
According to cyber policy expert Alena Epifanova at the German Council on International Relations, this explanation makes sense. It’s just a normal document against observable cyberattacks.
In fact, Russian online services are becoming the target of cyberattacks recently. Almost every website in Russia crashed last week to varying degrees, said analyst Rafal Rohozinski from research firm SecDev.
There is also reason for people to believe in rumors that Russia is about to disconnect from the Internet from the world. In 2019, the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a new regulation, expanding the Kremlin’s control over the Internet infrastructure, with the goal of protecting the Russian Internet from security risks. It provides the important legal framework for creating a centralized state Internet management system.
However, Ms. Epifanova does not believe that Russia is ready to switch to a proprietary DNS system. According to the 2019 plan, Russia’s DNS system was supposed to be up and running in early 2021, but that didn’t happen. She said that some Internet service providers in the country still have not connected their networks to domestic DNS even though they may be fined.
In addition, perhaps Russia is worried that international Internet regulators will restrict Russian state institutions from accessing secure Internet connections. Last week, Ukraine asked ICANN, the organization that runs the global DNS, to block Russia from the system and revoke top-level domains such as “.ru”, but was refused. ICANN reiterates their role is to make sure the Internet works, not the other way around.
Answering Fortune, Ms. Epifanova said that Russia is not yet ready to separate from the global Internet. Russia’s economy is based on the international Internet, if disconnected, we will see severe economic collapse.
Mr. Rohozinski also concurred, saying that Russia is less likely to disconnect itself from the global Internet. A few days ago, Internet service provider Cogent said that it no longer connects Russian customers (such as the carrier Rostelecom) with the core infrastructure that carries Internet capacity around the world.
He did not rule out the possibility that cyberspace will play a larger role in the Russia-Ukraine conflict in the coming weeks.
Du Lam (According to Fortune)
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