Russian Federation may unplug from the internet to test its cyberdefenses

The rather odd decision by Vladimir Putin's country to prepare to close off its internet connections from the outside world comes in response to what local news agency RosBiznesKonsalting* (RBK) described as a new draft law "on a sustainable Runet".

In addition, Russian telecom firms would also have to install "technical means" to re-route all Russian internet traffic to exchange points approved or managed by Roskomnazor, Russia's telecom watchdog.

They want the ability to inspect traffic and ensure it is not routed outside of Russian Federation.

The outage will take place before April 1, although an official date has yet to be released, the BBC reports.

The announcement comes after a draft law called the Digital Economy National Program - which requires Russian internet service providers (ISPs) to make technical changes as the nation prepares for sanctions - was introduced to Russian parliament previous year. The test disconnection would provide ISPs with data about how their networks would react.

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North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and its allies have threatened to retaliate against Moscow's online aggression but are yet to take drastic action.

He added that it will be hard for them to shut down all the outside router points if they want to carry out the test, since they have to attack different servers from hundreds of providers, while only some of the providers are Russian companies. The country announced plans to launch an "independent internet" in late 2017. Agora, a Russian human rights group, said in a report this month that Russian internet freedoms had fallen fivefold in the past 12 months.

"Theoretically, the U.S has the ability to cut off Russia's Internet connectivity from outside, but there is no precedent to trace worldwide", said the team leader of Ru-center, one of Russia's largest domain name registrars and hosting providers.

However, many observers think the creation of a Russian intranet is a further step towards a goal of duplicating the Great Firewall of China to restrict the access of the country's internet users to content deemed harmful by the authorities.

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