‘One of the main cyberespionage tools used by a nation state’
Cyber security firm Symantec has discovered a new piece of malware that is said to be so advanced as to practically rule out the involvement of any entity other than a powerful nation state. Called ‘Regin’, this malware has been used to spy on everyone from governments to private individuals across the world since 2008, although not uninterruptedly as whoever is behind Regin abruptly withdrew the original version sometime in 2011, only to introduce a more sophisticated strain in 2013.
Well now, this is disturbing -- it's being reported that a Russian crime ring is in possession of around 1.2 billion stolen Internet credentials, which is the biggest collection of its kind. That includes user names and password combinations, along with more than 500 million email addresses collected from 420,000 websites. With that in mind, now might be a good time to change up your passwords for your more important accounts.
Country came close to outlawing anonymizing software last year
The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) recently floated a tender inviting bids for help with “obtaining technical information” about users of Tor, the increasingly popular anonymizing network. Bidding ends on August 13, 2014 and the ministry hopes to announce the winner of the 3.9 million ruble contract ($111,000) a week later on August 20.
Back in May of this year, Kaspersky Lab announced the discovery of a "highly sophisticated malicious program" called Flame that's capable of stealing valuable information from targeted systems, including audio conversations. Kaspersky Lab later referred to Flame as "the most complex cyber-weapon to date," and following in-depth research, has discovered that the criminal minds behind it are in cahoots with the developers of Stuxnet and Duqu.
Now, stick with us here. We know that as readers of technology blogs, the sun is your natural enemy. But the new Samsung NC215S Solar Netbook can use those sun rays to powers your computer. The downside? You’ll have to go to Russia to buy one.
With the Cold War a thing of the past, Russian scientists are free to concentrate their efforts on projects other than the space race and building a stockpile of nuclear arms. These days Russian scientists are studying computationally heavy topics like global climate change, ocean modeling, post-genomic medicine, and galaxy formation, and they're tapping into Nvidia's Tesla GPUs to do the heavy lifting.
Russia may be popular for its Vodka and caviar, but its stock among the tech savvy has been going down rapidly ever since it was revealed that they are also the No. 1 source of spam in the world. Interestingly enough however this might be set to change with the apprehension of 23-year-old Oleg Nikolaenko who has been accused of spearheading operations responsible for sending over 10 billion spam emails per day.
Nikolaenko’s botnet has been referred to in legal documents as Mega-D, a network of computers that is estimated to be composed of over half a million machines. His advertising efforts have primarily been focused on Rolex counterfeits and herbal remedies, but the true scope of his operations likely won’t be fully understood until the authorities have time to review all the evidence.
According to Valleywag Nikolaenko is facing a fine of up to $250,000 and three years in prison, though a careful examination of the facts would suggest that this might be little more than a slap on the wrist. According to one of Nikolaenko’s clients he alone spent more than 2 million on spam advertising, an admission that would suggest to us that Oleg might just have a cozy little nest egg to retire on when he emerges from prison.
The Russian government is looking to develop and deploy an operating system to compete with Microsoft Windows, Yahoo reports. The new OS is intended to reduce the dependency of Russian business on the Redmond company. Russian lawmakers also cited security as a concern. To complete this project, Russia is earmarking the equivalent of $4.9 million.
The as-yet unnamed OS will be based on the Linux operating system, but many feel this course of action has the potential to result in a poorly designed and supported operating system. This whole thing comes in shades of North Korea's Red Star Linux if you ask us. With high piracy rates in Russia, it may be harder than expected to get businesses to move to this new option.
Like something straight out of a Hollywood script, Hewlett Packard may be involved with some corrupt Russian officials. Or maybe not, but either way, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission plans to find out.
Earlier this week, HP admitted its Moscow offices had been raided. U.S. authorities have since gotten involved in what is reportedly a bribery investigation.
"HP has been in communication with the SEC and will continue to fully cooperate with the authorities investigating this matter," a company spokeswoman said.
At issue is the sale of some $47.8 million worth of computer systems to the office of Russia's prosecutor general, who also happens to be the one that investigates corruption cases in his country. Talk about a twist of irony if, as reports suggest, HP is found guilty of paying almost $11 million in bribe money to land the contract.
"This is an investigation of alleged conduct that occurred almost seven years ago, largely by employees no longer with HP. We are cooperating fully with the German and Russian authorities and will continue to conduct our own internal investigation," the HP spokeswoman said via e-mail on Wednesday.
Russia’s state run anti-monopoly service has launched a formal investigation into Microsoft over cutbacks in the supply of Windows XP. The agency believes that Microsoft has violated antimonopoly legislation by intentionally limiting the stock of Windows XP to Russia in both retail, and OEM editions which come preinstalled on new PC’s. Analysts claim that Windows Vista continues to be available, while the ongoing demand for XP both by the public, and the government, remains unsatisfied.
Microsoft has yet to formally address the issue, but according to the Moscow regional office, nobody from the anti-monopoly service has tried to contact them. "We (have) always answered antimonopoly service questions in full and intend to continue this practice in future," Microsoft spokeswoman Marina Levina said by telephone. Full scale investigations by the antimonopoly service in Russia are rare, and Microsoft will be given more details by July 24th.
The accusations being made in Russia are drastically different than previous antitrust cases leveled by the EU and USA. In both these cases, the complaints were focused on software bundling for which it was fined $708 million in 2004 by the EU.
Could Microsoft be intentionally limiting Windows XP supply in Russia to help push Vista?