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Tag: RUSSIA

Russia Won't Ban Gmail or Skype Amid Security Concerns

It looks like Russia won't be banning Skype or Gmail, after all. The Kremlin was reportedly considering blocking both services, along with Hotmail, in response to a major cyberattack that crippled the country's most popular blog and an independent news site. Some within the Kremlin had believed the services posed a major threat to national security, but some critics had thought the government may ...

Hacker Goes to Prison for Broadcasting Porn on Moscow Billboard

Last year, a hacker named Igor Blinnikov infiltrated a video billboard, and used it to broadcast porn above a busy road in Moscow. Though the 40-year-old prankster eventually confessed to the crime, calling it a "bad joke," he wasn't able to avoid his legal comeuppance. Today, Blinnikov was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Blinnikov reportedly hijacked the billboard from the comfort of his ...

Vladimir Putin Not Laughing at YouTube Video Mocking Russia's Corruption

Vladimir Putin is none too pleased with a YouTube video celebrating the glamorous lifestyles of Russia's government employees. As Reuters reports, the faux rap video was created by a group of customs officers and features many of the luxuries you'd expect most oligarchs to enjoy: champagne, expensive cars, and topless women. "You can't even imagine how the customs officials have fun," the wor...

Spam Text Message Detonates Suicide Bomber, Prevents Moscow Attack

Russia avoided a potentially devastating suicide bomb attack last month, thanks to one particularly well-timed text message. According to Russian security sources, the attack was supposed to be carried out by an unnamed woman, believed to be part of a radical Islamist terror group. The woman reportedly planned to strap a bomb to herself, and blow herself up in the middle of a crowded Moscow squ...

Medvedev Shooting Game Draws Russian Police Inquiry

While political observers in the U.S. discuss and criticize metaphorical "hit lists" and cross-hairs, Russian authorities are currently investigating a far more graphic, and interactive, assassination innuendo. A pop-up game, which appears as a banner on the Alyans-Telekom website, invites participants to blast a floating caricature of President Dmitry Medvedev. Once executed, the virtual Medvedev...

Elite, All-Voluntary Cyber Defense League Keeps Estonia's 'Net Secure

The small post-Soviet nation of Estonia has created a bit of a paradigm for cyber-security: an elite, all-voluntary force of private and public sector tech pros, from programmers to administrators to top army officials. It's kind of like a cyber-Justice League. Before this starts to sound like a tale of vigilante justice, some history: in 2007, after Estonia made a decision to move a Russian wa...

Putin Orders Government to Go Open Source

Vladimir Putin is throwing his weight behind the free and open-source software movement. The Russian prime minister has apparently signed an order to move the government to an infrastructure built on freely available, open-source software by the third quarter of 2014. The plan would see all major government systems transition to Linux starting in the second quarter of 2012. The move to open-source...

FBI Hunts Russian Man Behind One-Third of the World's Spam

Federal investigators are currently pursuing a 23-year-old Russian man accused of orchestrating the so-called 'Mega-D' botnet that, at one point, had the capacity to send 10 billion spam e-mails per day. The network of 500,000 infected computers was taken down late last year, but one researcher quoted by the FBI said that Mega-D, at the height of its powers, "was likely the largest botnet in the ...

Spam in Decline After Disappearance of Russian Ringleader

Law enforcement agencies periodically dismantle spam organizations, and successful campaigns inevitably lead to fleeting, yet wondrous, periods of diminished e-mail junk. Well, we've apparently entered one of those temporary stays from trash, so enjoy those Viagra-free inboxes while you can. According to the New York Times, Russian authorities believe the disappearance of spam mastermind Igor ...

Japanese Users Have Fewest Online Friends, Study Says

According to a new study from research firm TNS, Japanese social networkers are the loneliest people on Earth. As the BBC reports, the study found that the average Japanese Web surfer has just 29 online friends -- the lowest average among the 46 countries under examination, well behind even China's average of 68 friends. At the other end of the spectrum, Malaysian online consumers have the most so...

Microsoft Anti-Piracy Efforts Used to Target Dissidents in Russia

Microsoft's pursuit of pirates (the software ones, not the eye-patch and parrot ones) has the company wrapped up in a bit of controversy in Russia. Kremlin authorities are allegedly using piracy investigations as a cover for seizing computers and other materials from political dissidents and news organizations critical of the government. According to a September 11th report from the New York Times...

Visualizing the Web by Favicon, Most Dangerous Countries for Web Surfing

There's a load of great tech news happening out there every day, and, unfortunately, we just can't cover it all. Here are a few of the other noteworthy things we saw today on our never-ending journey through the wild, wild Web. The Web's biggest sites get visualized and weighted by this search-able square of favicons. Ego check: yes, Switched is in there. [From: Nmap.org, via: The Daily What]...

Spammers Paying Pennies to CAPTCHA Crackers in Far Away Lands

A few months ago, we told you about a growing wave of spammers who had begun outsourcing their CAPTCHA-solving duties to low-wage workers in developing countries. Now, a recently published study from UC San Diego has revealed just how insidious and exploitative this underground market really is. In the paper (PDF), which was presented at the recent USENIX Computer Symposium, researchers found that...

Russian Spy Sweep Nets Young Microsoft Engineer

Americans are understandably captivated by the Russian spy scandal that has rocked the already strained post Cold War relations between Washington and the Kremlin. The first ten spies have already been sent back to the motherland in a prisoner swap and the eleventh is still at large, having disappeared from the island nation of Cyprus. But a twelfth spy has been discovered working at the Redmond,...

Alleged Russian Spy Ring Mixes Old Tricks With New Tech

The exposure and detainment of an alleged Russian spy ring in New York state this past week has provoked a steady stream of disconcerting references, like "Cold War-era," "old-fashioned cold war thriller," "007-worthy" and "right out of a Cold War spy novel." Salivating scribes eagerly detail, and sometimes ridicule, the purported gang's dated and cliched tactics, particularly the brisk public ...