Items tagged with Russia

American military and intelligence officials have raised concerns over Russian submarines and spy ships located near key undersea cables that carry Internet traffic. The fear is that Russians may be planning to sever the fiber-optic cables at some point, and if they do that, it wouldn't be easy to repair them.It's not unusual for undersea cables to be cut, though it's rarely malicious. In most cases, cuts are caused by anchors being dragged on the sea floor or simply by natural disasters, according to a 2012 study by Michael Sechrist, a former product manager for a Harvard-M.I.T. research project. Those types of cuts usually occur within a few miles from shore and can be repaired relatively fast.That... Read more...
Russia's antimonopoly agency has given Google until November 18 to make amendments to features of its Android platform that it deemed anticompetitive. If Google fails to make the demanded changes, it could face stiff penalties of up to 15 percent of its revenue gained from mobile applications in Russia. What's at issue is Google's policy that when a device maker chooses to install Android, it must also install the Google Play store app and several other Google applications. In addition, device manufacturers are restricted from installing apps and services that compete with Google's core offerings. The case against Google in Russia was launched by Yandex, a domestic search competitor that's been... Read more...
A Reddit thread on growing marijuana plants has caught the attention of the Russian government, which appears to be preparing to block Reddit in its entirety. Russia has a history of taking a heavy-handed approach to U.S.-based Internet companies that fail to comply with its requests, so Reddit is likely taking the threat seriously. So far, though, the U.S. website hasn’t flinched. What started as an unexciting takedown request from the Russian government quickly turned into a public mess after Reddit apparently didn’t (according to Russian officials) respond. Russia then threatened to bring out the country-wide ban-hammer, sending the message with a public post on social networking site Vkontakte.... Read more...
If you’re a Firefox user, you should update your browser immediately. Mozilla was informed earlier this week by an astute Firefox user that a Russian news site was was using malicious advertisements to take advantage of an exploit in the browser when installed on Windows and Linux machines. The exploit takes advantage of a vulnerability in the PDF viewer that is built into the Firefox browser. That also means that the mobile version of Firefox, which doesn’t include the PDF viewer, is not affected. Mac users were also spared from this particular exploit, but Mozilla still suggests that they upgrade Firefox to combat against future mutations of the exploit. But for affected versions of Firefox,... Read more...
It looks as though the U.S. Government just can’t catch a break when it comes to cybersecurity issues. If it isn’t China that’s breaching the Office of Personal Management (OPM), accessing the personnel files of 21.5 million people, then the U.S. has to keep an eye for hackers originating from Russia. The latter is pegged as the source for the recent cyberattack on the Pentagon’s Joint Staff email system. If there’s any silver lining to today’s news, it’s that the email system contained “unclassified” information. The cyberattack, which occurred on July 25, affected around 4,000 military personnel that work for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. The email system has been offline since the breach... Read more...
It's now believed that a crime syndicate in Russia is responsible for a security breach resulting in the theft of IRS records containing personally identifiable information for over 100,000 taxpayers. The sole purpose of the theft was to engage in identity theft for the purposes of tax fraud, a scheme that was used to file some $50 million in fraudulent tax returns. Peter Roskam, an Illinois Republican and chairman of a House subcommittee with IRS oversight, told CNN that he heard from IRS Commissioner John Koskinen via telephone that the hack originated from Russia. It's concerning in part because it was recently disclosed that Russian hackers also breached the White House and State Department... Read more...
Like China, officials in Russia aren't happy that so much of the nation's technology is reliant on software that originates from the United States. In an effort to change that, the country's minister for communications and mass media, Nikolai Nikiforov, reportedly announced plans to develop a brand new mobile operating system. The mobile OS will be based on Jolla's open-source Sailfish OS. At present, Sailfish OS is only installed on 0.5 percent of devices in Russia. Meanwhile, Android enjoys an 81 percent market share while iOS claims another 15 percent. That equates to Android or iOS being installed on 9.6 out of every 10 devices in Russia, or nearly all of them. Nikiforov knows he faces a... Read more...
When the U.S. State Department’s email was hacked back in November, it was a black eye for the government. But, to many of us, this seemed the sort of problem that would be quickly eradicated – after all, our guys are the no slouches when it comes to cyberattacks. But as it turns out, the State Department’s email woes don’t appear to be over, and the culprits have yet to be unmasked.Russia has been brought up as a possible suspect, though the NSA hasn’t (at least, publicly) nailed down a culprit at this point – three months after the hack was revealed to the public. The State Department is still working on the problem. “We have robust security to protect our systems and information, and we deal... Read more...
Google has once again found itself in the sights of an anti-competitive watchdog, and this time, it's in Russia. For the first time since 2010, Russia's biggest search engine, Yandex, has dipped below 60% marketshare, and it blames Google's Android OS for causing it to happen. At last check, Yandex counts its marketshare as 59.7%, so it's not exactly well below the 60% mark, but it is a concerning trend for the company. On Android, Google is the search engine hard-coded into the OS itself; if someone wants to use a competing engine, they'd be required to open a browser and then go to their search engine of choice. It's no surprise, then, why Yandex feels like Android has had a major hand in its... Read more...
Russia has a ruble problem and it doesn't appear to be getting any better. Since the start of 2014, the ruble has lost 57 percent of its value versus the U.S. dollar, and the Bank of Russia has raised interest rates from 10.5 percent to 17 percent according to CNN Money. Apple has a presence in Russia via its online store, and the falling ruble has also had affect on its business operations. "Due to extreme fluctuations in the value of the ruble, our online store in Russia is currently unavailable while we review pricing,” said Apple in a statement last week. “We apologize to customers for any inconvenience.” The closure of Apple’s Russian store was short-lived, and it is now back online. However,... Read more...
Few technologies make regulation-happy government officials itch like the Internet. While Spain has been garnering headlines for taxing Google News, Russia has introduced Internet laws designed to keep data about Russian users in Russia. Google now plans to close its engineering presence in Moscow, though it will maintain other operations in Russia. Image Credit: Google The new rules, which will go into effect in January 2015, require tech companies to store customer data in Russia. That’s good news for Russian data storage companies, but Western companies like Google have been concerned by the regulations. Though the reason for the new rules is ostensibly the protection of Russian customers,... Read more...
HP is smarting from a $108 million fine today, thanks to a guilty plea it entered in a San Francisco federal court. HP and its subsidiaries were accused of paying bribes to officials and businesses in Mexico, Poland, and Russia to buy lucrative contracts. The fine wraps up the settlement, which was announced in April. HP has since jettisoned the people it believes were involved in the bribes. HP Z1 Workstaion The bribes reportedly involved contracts with a police agency and an oil company, among other foreign government-controlled organizations. HP was accused of making payments – sometimes cloak and dagger affairs with secret meeting and actual bags of cash – to corrupt officials.... Read more...
A group of Russian hackers known collectively as either "Energetic Bear" or "Dragonfly" is mounting sabotage operations against a number of power and oil companies primarily located in the U.S. and throughout parts of Europe. Among the group's targets are energy grid operators, major electricity generation firms, petroleum pipeline operators, and energy industry equipment providers. Security outfit Symantec says the group is well resourced with access to a wide range of malware tools capable of launching attacks in a variety of ways. They've been operating since at least 2011 and perhaps longer. Initial targets included defense and aviation companies in the U.S. and Canada before the hacking... Read more...
If you picture an HP executive as a straight-laced person in a conservative suit, it’s time to shake up that image, because three HP subsidiaries--in Russia, Poland, and Mexico--have spent years bribing government officials in those respective countries to snag lucrative contracts. "Hewlett-Packard subsidiaries created a slush fund for bribe payments...employed two sets of books to track bribe recipients, and used anonymous email accounts and prepaid mobile telephones to arrange covert meetings to hand over bags of cash," said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Bruce Swartz in a statement. Securities and Exchange Commission (Credit: Wikipedia/AgnosticPreachersKid In Russia, the HP subsidiary... Read more...
Russia seems to be making news these days for all of the wrong reasons, but the latest tidbit doesn't involve military actions or international sanctions. Purportedly in response to the NSA outings in the U.S., Russian government officials have traded in their iPads for Samsung tablets. The telecommunications minister has said that the move is being made to "ensure tighter security," presumably as Apple is a U.S.-based outfit, whereas Samsung is housed in South Korea. The move actually happened a small while ago, but just now came to light. Samsung has made some pretty serious moves in terms of security, with Knox being the most publicized. For what it's worth, the move is said to not be in reaction... Read more...
The YotaPhone from Russia’s Yota Devices presents an intriguing take on the smartphone by offering a dual-screen device wherein one side is a typical 4.3-inch LCD touchscreen and the other is an electronic paper display with e-Ink. The Android-based handset is going on sale today in Russia, Austria, France, Spain, and Germany, and it will also be available in twenty CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States), European, and Middle East markets by the end of Q1 2014. Notably absent from that list is the Americas. So it goes. The YotaPhone concept offers a new way to view notifications by showing them on the eInk side of the unit all the time. This solves that cloying need to constantly “wake... Read more...
Spam text messages are an annoyance, and perhaps more so than spam email, as each spam SMS message could cost a subscriber who doesn't have an unlimited messaging plan money. However, in this case a spam text message prevented a suicide bombing, saving hundreds of lives. Russian security forces reported on the incident with a so-called "Black Widow" on Friday. The unnamed woman is thought to be part of the same group that struck Moscow's Domodedovo airport on Monday. She reportedly intended to detonate a suicide belt in a busy area near Red Square on New Year's Eve. It would have been an attack that might have killed hundreds. Instead, it turns out, a spam SMS message from her cellular... Read more...
Fresh guidance from Intel suggests that while the netbook market is booming worldwide, first time computer buyers aren't driving the market. The company's statements reflect a significantly different understanding of the role netbooks are playing in the market than what Intel first envisioned. Originally, the Classmate PC, like the OLPC XO that preceded it, were intended explicitly for the developing world. In reality, however, netbooks are playing a supplementary role, even in markets where PC penetration is relatively low. "I don't think first-time buyers are going to buy netbooks," Intel executive vice president Sean Maloney said at a media event organized by the company. "The first time you... Read more...
We're not sure what's more frightening about this, the fact that the Russians figured out how to do it or that WiFi networks are effectively now completely insecure.  ElcomSoft claims they can "recover" WPA and WPA2 encypted passwords using any NVIDIA-based graphics subsystem in a workstation, desktop or even a notebook, to crack WPA encyption over 100 times fastest than with a standard CPU.  This might not mean much to the average home user because, let's face it, serious thugs aren't bothering to hack into your home network to leech your bandwidth or steal a single user's personal information.  However, for the corporate sector, this "press release" is a huge wake-up... Read more...
Russia has climbed into second place, behind the good ol' US of A, in producing junk e-mails, according to the security firm Sophos.  One in twelve junk e-mails in the world  is sent from Russia. China takes third, with 4.2 percent of the trash in any given inbox. "Countries that continually remain among the top spam-relaying countries need to ensure that they are doing more to proper defend computer systems," said Mike Haro, senior security analyst at Sophos."If they continue to sit back as compromised computers spread malicious emails and malware, then hackers will continue to look at these systems as easy targets in their efforts to turn them into botnets," which can be controlled... Read more...
Well, not exactly, but pretty close. The Turing Test is a proposition first offered in the 1950s that tests a computer's ability to fool a human into thinking it's another human, using only natural language text interaction. Well, now there's a Russian website named Cyberlover.ru that sells a software utility that engages women in flirtatious chatroom conversation, up to ten at a time, all the while harvesting personal information that the unwitting conversationalists offer up. An Australian anti-virus software firm, PC Tools, has warned that the software could be abused by identity fraudsters trying to harvest people's personal details online. The Russian site denied it was intended... Read more...
For those of you who remember our school teacher friend Mr. Ponosov it may make you happy to know that recently a Russian court in the city of Perm threw out the charges of piracy brought against him. Ponosov's lawyers claimed that the twelve PCs that arrived at his school came with the pirated Microsoft software pre-installed and therefore he could not be held responsible. The case, probably a response to international pressure on Russia to crack down on piracy, may have been triggered by the fact that Russia has been ranked by industry experts as second in the world for illegal use of software and media only after China.  ... Read more...
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