Russia is shutting off its internet as part of a dramatic test to help it defend against devastating cyber attacks.
The experiment is part of preparations for a potential cyber war with the US that could see President Donald Trump shut down Russia’s internet access.
Officials will use the test to gather information and provide feedback on a proposed law introduced by the state in December 2018, according to Russian news agency RosBiznesKonsalting (RBK).
The new law states that state internet providers must be ready to ensure Russia’s internet runs smoothly and independently in the event of a foreign attack that disconnects the country from the web.
Like many nations, much of Russia’s internet access is still routed through so-called “exchange points” in the United States.
But under the proposed rules, Russia’s telecoms firms would have to install “technical means” to re-route that traffic through national exchange points.
Roskomnazor, Russia’s telecom watchdog, will monitor all traffic flowing through these points to make sure data is not being routed outside of Russia.
It will block any traffic needlessly beamed beyond its borders, as this data can be easily intercepted by foreign spies.
It’s not yet clear what date has been set for the test shut down.
It’s supposed to take place sometime before April 1, as this is the last day for submitting amendments to the proposed law.
The Russian government has been working on the complex cyber defense tactic for several years.
In 2017, officials said 95 percent of all internet traffic will be routed locally by 2020.
NATO nations recently said they planned to hit Russia with a stronger response to its own cyber attacks.
Moscow has been accused of carrying out dozens of sinister hacks over the past five years, including on US electronic voting systems in 2016.
It emerged last week that cybercriminals from Russia and China are targeting the phones and email accounts of British politicians with a messaging app scam that lets the attackers send fake messages.
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