Experts

  • Position : Member of the Management Board
  • Affiliation : Smart Internet Foundation
  • Position : Director of Internet and Channel Resources Department
  • Affiliation : "Mobile TeleSystems", PJSC
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The Security Index Journal: Andrey Kolesnikov and Olga Makarova on the security of the critical infrastructure of the Internet

12.02.2016

Макарова Ольга Вячеславовна imageMOSCOW, FEBRUARY 12, 2016. PIR-PRESS – "Rumors concerning the unreliability of the global Internet infrastructure, possible disruptions to global interconnectivity in the event of a cable failure, or the possibility of a cut-off of Russian internet users through a single operator, are greatly exaggerated." — Olga Makarova, director of the Department for Internet and channel resources of MTS. 

Speculations regarding possible disconnection of an entire country or a group of users from the Internet been going around for a long time, but few people actually understand how the backbone infrastructure of the global Web functions and whether its individual components are vulnerable. Andrey Kolesnikov’s article “A Red Button for the Internet” (link in Russian) and Olga Makarova’s “The vulnerability of the Internet: myth and reality” (link in Russian), published in the latest issue of the Security Index Journal No. 4 (115), 2015 (link in Russian), address these issues.

Assessing the security of the global Internet and the possibility of a full or partial shutdown, Olga Makarova, director of the Department for Internet and channel resources of MTS, notes that “rumors concerning the unreliability of the global Internet infrastructure, possible disruptions to global interconnectivity in the event of a cable failure, or the possibility of a cut-off of Russian internet users through a single operator, are greatly exaggerated”. Her study of the global Internet ecosystem demonstrates that it is highly unlikely that Russian users could be cut off from the Internet.

“In order to cut off all Russian users from the global Internet, all Russian operators involved in the construction of cross-border connections should stop all traffic passing through those connections,” explains the expert. Olga Makarova maintains that the technological interdependence of the components of the global Web render the possibility of such an event nearly impossible.

Колесников Андрей Вячеславович imageAndrey Kolesnikov, director of the Coordination Centre of the Top-Level Domain for Russia (2009-2015), discusses the technical and institutional measures required to contain threats to the Internet infrastructure in his article “A Red Button for the Internet.”

Summarizing the results of the first governmental modelling exercise of threats to the Internet, Andrey Kolesnikov emphasizes the necessity of developing a comprehensive approach to threat reduction. “Simple logic tells us that a single superoperator controlling all traffic is more vulnerable than a dispersed system with complex linkages. The remedy to the threat of physical disconnection lies in the maintenance of a multitude of connection points and a variety of routes with proper network planning and reliable communication between operators in the event of a crisis”.

Decentralized structures need to be supported by federal coordination measures and the establishment of rapid crisis response centers. The expert maintains that “it seems that the creation of a single center for coordination is the major conclusion that the Russian Security Council should make based on the results of the 2014 exercises.”

For all questions related to the “Security Index” journal, Editor-in-Chief Olga Mostinskaya is available at +7 (495) 987 19 15 or via email at mostinskaya at pircenter.org.

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