International

Russia Tests Internet Isolation Scenario

Russia

To see whether its internet services could work if it were to be separated from the worldwide internet, Russia conducted a series of tests. The review occurred during multiple days on networks that were specially designated, Reuters reported on Monday (Dec. 23).

The review comes after a “sovereign internet” bill in response to what the country refers to as the “aggressive nature” of the national cybersecurity strategy of the United States. Deputy Communications Minister Aleksei Sokolov said, according to reports, “Our goal was to provide an uninterrupted internet service on Russian territory under any circumstances.”

State-run institutions and security services in addition to communications operators, e-mail providers and messengers have to take part in the tests that do not reportedly impact typical internet users.

The Communications Ministry will make a report on the test results, which President Vladimir Putin will reportedly review. Sokolov also noted, according to the report, “The outcomes of the review showed that government agencies and communications operators are ready to respond effectively to threats and to ensure the internet and communications operate effectively.”

In separate news, The Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a warning about mobile apps developed in Russia per news earlier in December. The revelation was made when the agency addressed questions in regards to face-editing photo app FaceApp, which was developed by Wireless Lab based in St. Petersburg. Its CEO was an executive at Yandex, known as “Russia’s Google.”

The app, which uses a filter to age photos of the faces of users, has received negative attention for its Russian ties, causing the Democratic National Committee to caution its 2020 presidential candidates against using it. Also, Democratic U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for the Federal Trade Commission and the FBI to conduct national security reviews on the app.

While there wasn’t reportedly evidence that FaceApp offers user data to the Russian government, the FBI wrote in a letter to Schumer that Russia’s intelligence services maintain “robust cyber exploitation capabilities.”

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