FAPSI (Russian Federation) - Federal Agency of Government Communications and Information, Федеральное Агенство Правительственной Связи и Информации - Dagger and Cloak

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

FAPSI (Russian Federation) - Federal Agency of Government Communications and Information, Федеральное Агенство Правительственной Связи и Информации

FAPSI (Russian: ФАПСИ) or Federal Agency of Government Communications and Information (FAGCI) (Russian: Федеральное Агенство Правительственной Связи и Информации) is a Russian government agency, one of the successors of KGB.


FAPSI was created from the 8th (Government Communications) and 16th (Electronic Intelligence) Chief Directorates of the KGB. It is the equivelant to the American National Security Agency. On September 25, 1991, the Soviet Union Gorbachev dismantled the KGB into several independent departments. One of them became the Committee on Government Communications under President of Soviet Union. On December 24, 1991 after the disbanding of the Soviet Union the organization became the Federal Agency of Government Communications and Information under President of Russian Federation. On March 11, 2003 the agency was reorganized into the Service of Special Communications and Information (Russian: Служба специальной связи и информации, Спецсвязь России).


According to the press, the structure of FAPSI copies the structure of the US National Security Agency, it includes:

  • Chief R&D Directorate (Главное научно-техническое управление)

  • Chief directorate of government communications

  • Chief directorate of security of communications

  • Chief directorate of information technology (Главное управление информационных систем)

  • Special troops of FAPSI

  • Academy of Cryptography

  • Military School of FAPSI in Voronezh, sometimes referred as the world largest hacker's school

  • Military school of communications in Orel

  • Moscow Department of Penza Scientific Research Electrotechnics Institute (МО ПНИЭИ) - the major manufacture of their software and hardware

FAPSI and the Internet

FAPSI was always interested in monitoring of Internet activities.

In 1994 it bought major Russian internet provider of that time RELCOM. According to their explanation they were not interested in interception of the network traffic, but in Internet experience of the firm and in utilization of "FAPSI's excess computing power and network bandwidth".

In 1995 by decree of President Boris Yeltsin all cryptographic systems except those licensed by FAPSI were forbidden in the Russian Federation. There are widespread rumors that all systems licensed by FAPSI have backdoors allowing the agency to freely access the encrypted information.

Since 1998 they require that all Internet providers in Russia install their hardware named SORM (СОРМ — Система Оперативно-Розыскных Мероприятий, literally System of Operative Investigative Actions) that allows filtering and remote control of internet traffic from FAPSI chief quarters. To add insult to injury Internet providers are to pay for the devices (around US$15,000) directly to FAPSI. Despite the original noisy resistance of Internet providers they complied. It is claimed, however, that no legal document requires ISPs to provide these services free of charge, and some people report that one large St. Petersburg ISP told FSB that it does not decline their request, but is going to bill them appropriately, for which this ISP never saw FSB come back.

Mishaps of the agency

One of the tasks of the agency is to protect government websites from getting hacked. Often they fail to do it by a very simple scenario - the domain is not paid for in time and becomes a trophy of cybersquatting.

In January 2004 site the election site http://www.putin2000.ru/ registered personally for Vladimir Putin was not paid for in time and became a pornographic site. Eventually the site was closed down.

The agency's site, http://www.fagci.ru/, has become a website of a tourist agency (as retrieved in January 2007).

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