Russia bans foreign software purchases for critical infrastructure

Public agencies told to stop using overseas apps from 2025 as parallel imports approved, too

Russian President Vladimir Putin has banned the purchase of foreign software – be it standalone applications or code shipping in equipment – for significant critical infrastructure projects, with limited exceptions.

From here on, organizations must seek approval before they can buy in overseas software for this level of infrastructure. Putin also prohibited public agencies and other customers from using foreign software as of January 1, 2025, in a bid to promote Russia's technological independence.

The new rules appear in order No. 166 [PDF], which was signed by Putin on Wednesday, March 30, 2022, and takes effect on Thursday, March 31, 2022. The order is titled "On measures to ensure the technological independence and security of the critical information infrastructure of the Russian Federation."

The directive goes on to instruct Russian government agencies to clarify within a month their software requirements related to major critical infrastructure and to adopt rules for approving the purchase of necessary foreign software.

It also asks the Russian government to form a group focused on developing, producing, and maintaining trusted software and hardware for critical infrastructure projects. And it gives the government six months to adopt measures: that promote the use of domestic radio and telecom equipment for critical infrastructure sites; and that establish a monitoring and control regime, in addition to assuring trained personnel are available to manage the planned trusted tech.

Some foreign software has already become scarce in Russia after many US and European technology companies suspended sales to protest Russia's war on Ukraine. Russia's February 24, 2022 invasion, and the international sanctions that followed, have prompted major Western firms to suspend operations in the country or, at a minimum, to service only existing customers.

Separately, Russia will allow "parallel imports" – the import of products without the authorization of the trademark holder – in response to global brands that have withdrawn their products in protest, or if not on moral grounds at least to duck social media scolding.

In a broadcast meeting on Wednesday, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said the purpose of embracing gray market goods is to satisfy Russian demand for brands that cannot be sold in the country without permission of the rights holder.

According to Reuters, the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service said the rules it drafted will help promote competition and lower prices by increasing the number of businesses importing goods. Products approved for parallel import may include designer brands, medicines, movies, TV shows, and games; it's unclear whether software, already quite pirated, would be affected.

Lower prices would certainly be welcome in Russia, where annual inflation is said to have surpassed 15 percent, and prices for some commodities are up substantially more. Since March, 2021, according to The Moscow Times, the price of sugar is up 56 percent, cabbage prices have risen 209 percent, and flour is up 21 percent. ®

Other stories you might like

  • Minimal, systemd-free Alpine Linux releases version 3.16
    A widespread distro that many of its users don't even know they have

    Version 3.16.0 of Alpine Linux is out – one of the most significant of the many lightweight distros.

    Version 3.16.0 is worth a look, especially if you want to broaden your skills.

    Alpine is interesting because it's not just another me-too distro. It bucks a lot of the trends in modern Linux, and while it's not the easiest to set up, it's a great deal easier to get it working than it was a few releases ago.

    Continue reading
  • Verizon: Ransomware sees biggest jump in five years
    We're only here for DBIRs

    The cybersecurity landscape continues to expand and evolve rapidly, fueled in large part by the cat-and-mouse game between miscreants trying to get into corporate IT environments and those hired by enterprises and security vendors to keep them out.

    Despite all that, Verizon's annual security breach report is again showing that there are constants in the field, including that ransomware continues to be a fast-growing threat and that the "human element" still plays a central role in most security breaches, whether it's through social engineering, bad decisions, or similar.

    According to the US carrier's 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) released this week [PDF], ransomware accounted for 25 percent of the observed security incidents that occurred between November 1, 2020, and October 31, 2021, and was present in 70 percent of all malware infections. Ransomware outbreaks increased 13 percent year-over-year, a larger increase than the previous five years combined.

    Continue reading
  • Slack-for-engineers Mattermost on open source and data sovereignty
    Control and access are becoming a hot button for orgs

    Interview "It's our data, it's our intellectual property. Being able to migrate it out those systems is near impossible... It was a real frustration for us."

    These were the words of communication and collaboration platform Mattermost's founder and CTO, Corey Hulen, speaking to The Register about open source, sovereignty and audio bridges.

    "Some of the history of Mattermost is exactly that problem," says Hulen of the issue of closed source software. "We were using proprietary tools – we were not a collaboration platform before, we were a games company before – [and] we were extremely frustrated because we couldn't get our intellectual property out of those systems..."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022