Russian Defence Ministry Launches Its Own Internet

PHOTO by Valery Melnikov / RIA Novosti

The Russian army has launched its own version of the Internet under the official name Private Data Transfer Segment (ZSPD), according to an Izvestia article citing a source from the military.

The undisclosed spokesperson told the daily that “All the work was finished this summer, and the network has been fully operational since. We currently have plans to expand it by installing new terminals in military bases and other establishments.”

According to Izvestia, ZSPD is not linked to global Internet access, and all computers connected to the Defence Ministry network have protection against non-certified external drives. Classified information is shared through a proprietary e-mail service.

The primary web destination of this closed network is mil.zs, which also hosts third-level domains. Access to ZSPD websites are only available on computers that have been certified by the Eighth Administration of the General Staff, which is entrusted with keeping and protecting state secrets.

ZSPD is partially maintained by Rostelecom hardware, while the other part is facilitated by the Defence Ministry’s own distributed infrastructure. Each military base connected to this network has its own servers, which encrypt data, split it into packets and transmit it further.

Citing unnamed sources, Vedomosti newspaper reported in February that the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications had prepared a bill on state control over Internet traffic flow throughout the territory of the Russian Federation. The plan was to ensure the security of Russian Internet access and safeguard it against external attacks.

Dmitry Peskov, Press Secretary for the Russian President, while commenting on this information, noted that issues regarding online security are present, but there were no plans on imposing full control over Internet.