The Russian military is building a giant online computing cloud that could disconnect entirely from the global internet during wartime
08/04/2018 / By Edsel Cook / Comments
The Russian military is building a giant online computing cloud that could disconnect entirely from the global internet during wartime

Electronic clouds of war are being drawn over Russia. The Eastern European country’s military is building a giant online cloud that will allow its important systems to keep running even if it loses its connection to the global internet through hacking – or because it decided to destroy the internet as part of the first strike in a war, an article on Defense One stated.

Russian broadsheet Izvestia reported that the Russian Armed Forces has ordered a closed cloud system for storing proprietary and top-secret military data. Whereas previous computer systems were purchased from the West, this new data storage system will be powered by data centers that use exclusively Russian hardware and software.

Izvestia added that the new cloud storage will cost around $6 million. It will be ready for service by 2020.

The first data center has already been built in the Russian military’s Southern District. This region encompasses the Crimean peninsula – which was illegally acquired by Russia – as well as the Donbass region of Ukraine. Donbass is currently in the middle of a war between the Ukrainian military and pro-Russia rebels supported by Russia.

Since 2014, Russian cyberwarfare forces have been hacking the infrastructure and government of Ukraine. These disruptive attacks are considered to be a serious attempt by Russia to cause the destabilization or even the outright collapse of its neighbor.

The new data center will help make sure that Russian infrastructure does not suffer the same fate if the Ukrainians reply in kind with information attacks of their own. (Related: Excess heat from a data center re-purposed to warm people’s homes in Stockholm.)


Russia built its own internet in case it cannot access the global internet

When completed, the cloud will be hooked up to the Closed Data Transfer Segment, the internal communications network of the Russian armed forces. German Klimentko, the Russian presidential adviser for internet issues, said in 2016 that the internal network could run commercial traffic as well. He claimed Russia could now operate independently of the global internet.

“Russia is investing in military high-tech development, and especially in domestically produced software and hardware,” said Sam Bendett, a Russia studies expert at the American Foreign Policy Council think tank in Washington D.C. “The data centers working with this cloud are all made with ‘Russian components.’ Such an approach is key to Moscow ensuring that its key components like data are shielded from potential Western interference.”

Bendett said that the Russian military and civilian sectors previously used a lot of Western-built IT components. They are now shifting to indigenous-built parts.

According to him, Russia considered data to be an important part of its efforts to modernize its military. Russian forces have been testing and using new digital technologies and approaches.

Furthermore, an alternative internet option also allows Russia to launch attacks via the existing global internet with reduced risk of retaliation from the rest of the world.

Russia wants its trading allies to abandon the global internet for its alternative

Russia also believed that the more, the merrier. It is persuading its trading partners to keep it company in its Russian internet.

Late in 2017, Russia announced that it was creating a directory naming system (DNS) of its own. A DNS is an electronic database that connects a browser to a web server. The new DNS will only be available for Russia and its BRIC allies: Brazil, China, India, and South Africa.

Sergey Lavrov, the foreign minister of Russia, said that his country was pushing for an information security agreement with the other members of the BRIC.

Keep an eye on the increasing likelihood of conflict on the global internet at

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