Russia has put in place its “sovereign internet” law, giving its officials wide-ranging powers to restrict traffic on the Russian web. If successful, this could have significant implications on Russian citizens and businesses as well as the cybersecurity landscape and the ability for other nation states to launch counter-cyber attacks against Russia as part of their defence strategy.
Russia’s focus on an autonomous Internet infrastructure is part of a larger global trend towards the balkanization of the Internet. China’s Internet censorship is one of the most known examples, but restrictive governments all around the world have blocked access to major parts of the Internet for decades now. While the underlying protocols that make the Internet work remain open, there is nothing stopping governments from putting up walls that are quite difficult to get around if they can accept the economic consequences. For example, with restricted or no access to the World Wide Web, entrepreneurs within a country may struggle to innovate as they remain unaware of many of the world’s latest trends and practices. Additionally, Russia has historically been known to launch nation state attacks against targets across the world. If they are successful in cutting the entire country off from the global internet, they will have created a significant obstacle for countries looking to launch counter-cyber attacks.