Putin Says Russia Must Defend Internet Against Foreign Threats

President Vladimir Putin said Russia’s segment of the Internet must be protected from foreign threats by boosting the security of communications networks and preventing leaks of confidential data.

“We’re seeing that some countries are trying to use their dominant position in the global IT-space to achieve not only their economic goals, but also their political and military goals,” Putin told Russia’s Security Council today. The number of cyber-attacks against Russian information resources has risen many times over in the last six months, Putin said.

Russia has no plans to limit Internet access for its citizens, or to control the Web, Putin said at the meeting. Still, he called for steps to make networks and information resources used by the government more secure.

Russia is seeking to ensure its independence from U.S. and European systems after the allies rolled out economic sanctions over Russia’s support for separatists in eastern Ukraine. Russia’s Internet users will be redirected to domestic root servers if cut off from U.S. machines, easing reliance on U.S.- managed Internet domain-names system, the Moscow-based Coordination Center for .RU domain said last month.

Some Russian banks were blocked by Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. as part of U.S. sanctions, causing payment disruptions. European Union lawmakers called for the bloc to weigh excluding Russian lenders from the SWIFT banking transaction system in the next round of sanctions.

Mail.ru Group Ltd fell as much as 6.5 percent in London trading today, while Yandex NV, operator of Russia’s largest search engine, slid as much as 2.1 percent in Moscow.

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