Russia gears up to build its own ‘independent internet’

The Russian government is reportedly considering building an “independent internet infrastructure” that it can use as an alternative to the global Domain Name System, or DNS system.

Last month, Russia’s Security Council asked the government to start building a backup DNS system citing “the increased capabilities of Western nations to conduct offensive operations.”

However, some defense experts say the move could “have more to do with Moscow’s own plans for offensive cyber operations,” according to the Defense One website.

The alternative DNS would also serve the so-called BRIC nations — Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa — and would operate independently of international organizations.

According to the state-funded RT media, the council last month discussed the need to address “the increased capabilities of Western nations to conduct offensive operations in the informational space, as well as the increased readiness to exercise these capabilities [which] pose a serious threat to Russia’s security.”

Russian president Vladimir Putin set a deadline of August 2018 to complete the infrastructure.

In a statement last week, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said the move is designed to protect Russia “from possible external influence.”

“We all know who the chief administrator of the global internet is. And due to its volatility, we have to think about how to ensure our national security.”

Some cybersecurity experts have warned that BRIC countries could use the alternative DNS to disconnect the internet in times of crisis, persecute political dissidents with impunity, and stay connected to key trading partners while launching cyberattacks.

“There is a deep irony in Russia citing the increased capabilities of Western nations doing attacks in the informational space,” technologist Peter Singer told Defense One. “It is like the fake social media account of the pot calling the kettle fake.”

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