Russia blocks access to several Web sites critical of Putin

The Russian government has blocked several Russian Web sites noted for their criticism of President Vladimir Putin and his government.

Russian Internet service providers were ordered Thursday to cut off access to a handful of sites, including those of opposition leader Alexei Navalny and famed chess champion Garry Kasparov, who runs opposition information site The order came down from the prosecutor general's office, according to a statement by state regulator Roskomnadzo (Google translation).

"These sites contain incitement to illegal activity and participation in public events held in violation of the established order," the agency said. … Read more

Ukraine under cyberattack as US-Russia tensions rise

The Ukrainian crisis has reached its next phase: cyberattacks.

Over the last two days, members of Ukraine's parliament, regardless of party affiliation, have seen their mobile communications blocked by equipment in Russia-controlled Crimea, Ukraine's security service confirmed on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

Ukraine is the site of an ongoing conflict with Russia. The US has stepped in, trying to limit Russia's infiltration into the country, but tensions seem to be on the rise.

According to the security service, the phone access has been blocked thanks to equipment installed "at the entrance to (telecom) Ukrtelecom in Crimea.&… Read more

Security firm claims Russian government makes malware

The German computer security and antivirus detection company G Data Security has alleged that the Russian government is behind the newly detected malware known as "Uroburos."

G Data bases its case for Russian government involvement on the complexity of the malware and the presence of Cyrillic words in the malware sample. G Data blog author "MN" points to file names, encryption keys, and behavior of Uroburos as evidence that the Russian government played a role in the creation of the malware.

Another key component, said MN, is that Uroburos looks for a previous piece of malware … Read more

Take a 3D satellite flyover of the Sochi Olympics

Having trouble figuring out what's where at the Sochi Winter Olympics? The scale of the games in Russia this year is particularly huge, and with reports that people on the ground in Sochi are even having trouble finding the doorknobs to their hotel rooms, it's easy to get lost while trying to follow along.… Read more

Sochi: A streaming event of Olympic proportions

For the Sochi Olympics, NBC will plow head first into streaming nearly every moment of the games over the Internet, but still stops short of giving everything to everyone.

The broadcast network NBC and its partners -- distributors like cable and satellite providers and tech companies like Adobe and iStreamPlanet -- have embraced the concept of bringing as much as they can online. What we're getting this year: nearly every moment of competition and more curated video on the Web; easier sign-on and more pay-TV providers on board to let their customers watch online; and more supported devices and … Read more

Google's brilliant, politically charged Olympics doodle

You can't have an Olympics devoid of politics.

Each hosting nation spends so much money staging the event that its rulers can't help but push some agenda or other.

The Sochi Games, which open Friday, have been bathed in the slightly stenchy waters of anti-gay propaganda.

It isn't entirely helpful when your nation's president and deputy prime minister keep insisting that gay competitors shouldn't touch children.

In this atmosphere, Google's doodlers decided to use pointed crayons to design the Sochi doodle.… Read more

In Sochi, the Olympics-size job of running Olympics IT infrastructure

As the Winter Olympics get under way today, one of the main narratives emerging from Sochi, Russia so far is that of gross incompetence, unfinished construction projects, widespread computer hacking, and a general sense that corruption has been the biggest winner.

Yet, with thousands of Olympic athletes and tens of thousands of spectators arriving in Sochi, the show must still go on. The opening ceremonies are tonight, and soon, skiers, skaters, lugers, and so many others will be competing for precious gold as millions of people around the world watch. Behind it all is a massive technology infrastructure, years in … Read more

Amusing @SochiProblems spotlights early Olympics fails

By now you've surely heard about the myriad problems encountered by reporters arriving early in Sochi, Russia, this week in advance of the Winter Olympics. There are the odd toilet arrangements, the mobs of stray dogs, unfinished hotel rooms without doorknobs -- and those are just the fun parts of winter tourism in Russia!

The stories and images of a city that didn't quite manage to transform itself into a world-class resort town before the start of the games (despite the whopping $50 billion spent to reach that goal) are all over the Web, television, radio, and social networks. There are so many hilarious examples of tandem toilets, falling ceiling fixtures, and general disarray that it's almost exhausting, like any other meme with serious legs. In fact, someone should make sure this meme hasn't been taking virality-enhancing drugs.… Read more

SpyEye malware inventor pleads guilty to bank fraud

The alleged architect of the bank-hacking malware SpyEye, which is said to have infected 1.4 million computers, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud. The US Department of Justice announced Tuesday that Russian national Aleksandr Andreevich Panin was the primary developer and distributor of SpyEye.

"As several recent and widely reported data breaches have shown, cyber-attacks pose a critical threat to our nation's economic security," US Attorney of the Northern District of Georgia Sally Quillian Yates said in a statement. "Today's plea is a great leap forward in our campaign … Read more

Russia linked to cyber espionage across Asia, Europe, US

Russia actively engaged in cyber espionage in 2013, a new report from cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike has revealed.

Last year, Russia's intelligence forces hacked into corporate networks around the world -- including those in the US, Asia, and Europe -- to peek into what the firms were working on, according to CyberStrike. The Russian hackers allegedly stole intellectual property from firms in the energy and technology industries, CrowdStrike reported.

Russia now joins a growing number of countries hacking into other networks on foreign soil. It's been well-documented that both the US and China are allegedly hacking networks, though in … Read more