Russia’s internet is still connected — but with stiff limits

The physical and network infrastructure of the Russian internet is more or less unchanged, but moves to heavily limit certain kinds of access may be afoot.

HTTP prefix sympolizing a web address / URL/ domain being manipulated by a hacker.
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Cyberwarfare has been become a prominent aspect of Russia's invasion of neighboring Ukraine, but the basic infrastructure connecting both countries to the internet has remained largely unaffected, even as the Russian government may be considering imposing new limitations on access to its domestic networks.

Russian network operators continue to participate in peering agreements with transit providers, meaning that the physical infrastructure connecting Russia to the internet at large is still completely intact, according to a report from network intelligence and monitoring company ThousandEyes.

Yet ThousandEyes head of internet intelligence and product marketing, Angelique Medina, said that DDoS attacks and self-imposed traffic restrictions may be making the on-the-ground experience of internet use in Russia somewhat complicated.

"What we've seen from some government sites, energy and banking … a lot of inbound traffic is getting blocked," she said. "That could be because there's some protective measures in place right now — even though you can connect into the country, you're not going to be able to access [some] public sites."

An apparent leaked memo first published by Belarusian media outlet NEXTA purports to detail plans for Russia to mandate a ban on foreign domain hosting and require all Russian sites and ISPs to use the country's domestic DNS (domain name system) services. While there's disagreement over the precise impact this would have on internet access in Russia, the country's government has long-standing mechanisms of control in place to help shape its citizens' access to the internet.

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