The bill, officially called the Digital Economy National Program, requires Russia’s Internet providers to ensure they can operate even if foreign powers try to take the country offline. Western mainstream media and Russian opposition pundits rushed to accuse the government of building a “sovereign Internet,” similar to what China has built over the years.
But the reality is far more complex, explained Natalya Kasperskaya, a cybersecurity expert and co-founder of world-renowned Kaspersky Lab. She said the proposed legislation is getting misrepresented in the media.
The law has two components. The first one is to ensure that the Internet stays operational if it is shut down from the outside,” she told RT. “There is such a possibility, and we are not quite prepared for that.”
The second part of the law, Kasperskaya said, merely equips the Russian authorities with the necessary technical tools to tackle the challenges arising from potential attacks on national computer networks.
Nothing in the draft that had been passed by Russian MPs earlier this month suggests that the Internet would be for ‘domestic consumption only,’ Kasperskaya argued.
The Internet would not be internal … It means that if the Internet is shut down from the outside, it will continue to operate.
Kasperskaya was also asked about the US military allegedly staging a cyber-attack on a Russian firm.
The St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency (IRA) has been accused by Washington of being a “Russian troll factory,” of having links to the Kremlin and being responsible for “sowing discord” amongst American people in the run-up to the 2016 presidential elections. Moscow consistently denied all accusations, calling them “absurd.”
Kasperskaya said that it was “technically possible” to cut off a certain company or a certain country off the Internet.
If some company becomes a target, no matter what are the reasons, you could theoretically block an Internet channel so that it doesn’t respond … you could send an insider or a Trojan virus and steal information.