Goodbye, Gates: Sergey Shoigu to shift army computers to Russian OS

Realnoe Vremya’s experts believe the transition from the foreign software to Russian is a correct decision

Goodbye, Gates: Sergey Shoigu to shift army computers to Russian OS Photo: минобороны.рф

The Russian Ministry of Defence is going to shift all service computers to Russian Astra Linux OS that was created by RusBITech. The experts are sure the decision that was made is correct because Microsoft products that are installed in the ministry's computers now are 'vulnerable to cyber attacks', while Windows closed source codes 'don't exclude the appearance of backdoors' – deliberately integrated defects of the algorithm that enable to get illegal access to data or remote system control. Realnoe Vremya tells about the farewell of the defence ministry to the 'inimical' software.

''Windows has never been used and won't be used in automated troop and weapon control systems''

The slow import substitution process in the Russian IT industry has perked up a bit due to a decision that has been recently made by the Russian Ministry of Defence: the ministry is shifting all its office computers to Russian Astra Linux OS that was created by RusBITech. Izvestiya told about it with a link to the Russian Ministry of Defence and also noted that at the moment 'Microsoft licensed products are installed in Russian military computers'.

''When we are saying the defence ministry is accepting Astra Linux of RusBITech as main system, it means it will substitute Windows in financial, communal, military and educational establishments that don't deal with a military job and military management,'' leading Russian military expert, editor-in-chief of Fatherhood's Arsenal magazine Viktor Murakhovsky explains. ''Windows has never been used and won't be used in the Russian Defence Ministry's battle control systems, automated troop and weapon control systems as well as in very weapons.''

Astra Linux was already chosen as a single operating system for military automated control systems, while the ministry of defence just chose its extended version. Photo: новости.ru-an.info

Indeed, according to Izvestiya, Astra Linux was already chosen as a single operating system for military automated control systems, while the ministry of defence just chose its extended version Astra Linux Special Edition with built-in office package for office computers. It's noted the new OS will be installed in special service smartphones and tablets at the next stage.

''Astra Linux system has being supplied to the ministry since 2013, then it was chosen to provide the defence ministry by the minister's order. Testing in automated systems of the ministry started then, specialists at military universities started to be taught later. The OS has demonstrated it's a reliable solution for almost 4 years of testing,'' tells director of the Competence Centre of RusBITech Roman Mylitsin. ''During the test, Astra started to be used in a big number of facilities of the defence ministry, including the National Defence Control Centre of the Russian Federation. In other words, it wasn't an instantaneous decision when everyone came to a competition and those who gave a lower price won. It's a result of the job that began in 2008, when the OS started to be created, and joint modification of the product with the defence ministry, which began in 2013.''

''Windows doesn't reveal source codes, which doesn't exclude that backdoors can appear''

Realnoe Vremya's permanent expert, IT entrepreneur Elbrus Latypov briefly explained what the Russian OS looked like: ''Judging by its name, standard Linux is used in this operating system (open codes are available on the Internet) that has been just modified. In my opinion, it has nothing revolutionary – a usual modification of the already existing operating system for certain needs of the ministry.'' Military expert Viktor Murakhovsky who managed to work in Astra Linux specifies that the system created with a 'common nucleus' is able to provide security and limited access that is available only for certain users and technical devices.

Military expert Viktor Murakhovsky who managed to work in Astra Linux specifies that the system created with a 'common nucleus' is able to provide security and limited access. Photo: vesti.ru

Elbrus Latypov also noted that unlike Windows, UNIX and Linux were initially more reliable and stable: same MacOS is based on it, this is why it is more reliable in comparison with Microsoft's brainchild.

''In my opinion, the decision of the ministry of defence is a correct approach because the producer of Windows system, as far as it's known, doesn't reveal source codes, which doesn't exclude that backdoors can appear (Editor's Note: deliberately embedded defects of an algorithm that enable to get illegal access to data or remote system control),'' Viktor Murakhovsky thinks.

Representative of the manufacturer Roman Mylitsin also approved the import substitution that is prepared in 2018 already: ''We all remember recent attacks of encrypted viruses – mainly those Windows systems that, for example, aren't updated from Microsoft are hacked. If there aren't updates, you run a risk of being infected. In this case, the Russian Ministry of Defence would have an option to wait, not to update and run a risk of catching an encrypted virus or update but from Microsoft that, as far as it's known, is American, which isn't very good.''

By Lina Sarimova