Russia's defense industry to get its own ‘internet’

A notable requirement for the "secret internet" is that all its hardware and software must be made in Russia.

A notable requirement for the "secret internet" is that all its hardware and software must be made in Russia.

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The companies of Russia’s military-industrial complex will soon be able to transfer secret information via an ultra-secure communication network.

Russia's defense companies are to be linked by a secure line of communications to transfer top secret information, which will unite more than 1,000 firms belonging to Russia’s military-industrial complex.

"We are bringing the technical capabilities to a new level and creating a single secure information space for Russia's entire defense industry. The system being created will enable companies to use all the possibilities of modern telecom technologies, and guarantees a high level of information security," said Alexander Kalinin, director of the Department of Innovative Development for the United Instrument Manufacturing Corporation.

The creation of such systems typically involves dozens or even hundreds of companies whose personnel are not permitted to share documents by email, or, for example, to discuss certain work issues by Skype.

All this slows down the work, because the defense personnel have to use older methods, such as sending correspondence in hard copy via a special courier service, speaking over a secure telephone line, or meeting in person.

However, according to its terms of reference, the new system will allow personnel at secret facilities to use everyday tools such as email, audio and videoconferencing and cloud storage for work purposes.

Furthermore, once the defense industry has its own “internet,” engineers will be able to take advantage of powerful information and computer resources, such as the Computer Modelling Center (a supercomputer) being created at the Vega Radio Engineering Corporation in Moscow.

According to the publicly available procurement documents of the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade, the customer for the new system, it is to be implemented at 255 Russian defense industry companies in 2016. The defense industry press release, however, mentions a figure of more than 1,000 companies. This difference most likely indicates that the program is designed to run for a number of years.

The development of the system will be funded entirely from the federal government budget, but the amount to be spent has not been disclosed.

A notable requirement for the "secret internet" is that all its hardware and software must be made in Russia. This will prevent "backdoors" – vulnerabilities deliberately created by foreign manufacturers that may subsequently be used by intelligence services from those countries to gain access to secret information.

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