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Vladimir Putin Has Asked Two Russian Museum Directors to Help Him Rewrite the Country’s Constitution

Tretyakov State Gallery director Zelfira Tregulova gives Russian President Vladimir Putin a tour of “Roma Aeterna – Masterpieces of the Vatican Pinacotheca: Bellini, Raphael, Caravaggio” in 2017. Photo courtesy of the Kremlin.
Tretyakov State Gallery director Zelfira Tregulova gives Russian President Vladimir Putin a tour of “Roma Aeterna – Masterpieces of the Vatican Pinacotheca: Bellini, Raphael, Caravaggio” in 2017. Photo courtesy of the Kremlin.

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announced Wednesday, to institute widespread constitutional reforms and will rely in part on two major Russian art-world figures.

Mikhail Piotrovsky, the director of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, and Zelfira Tregulova, the director of the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow are among those named to a 75-member working group tasked with drafting constitutional amendments are two of the country’s leading museum officials.

Political analysts say the plan to rewrite the constitution, which Putin revealed during his annual state-of-the-nation address, is his attempt to retain power past the end of his term in 2024. In a surprise move, prime minister and former president Dmitry Medvedev announced that the country’s entire government would be stepping down to help make way for Putin’s proposed changes.

Russia & China Manipulating The Atmosphere?

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China and Russia secretly conducted experiments this year aimed at manipulating the Earth’s atmosphere.

In June, scientists from the two countries jointly performed five tests that some have speculated to be military related, and detailed their results in Earth and Planetary Physics last week.

The experiments involved heating the ionosphere, which is an upper, electrically charged layer of the planet’s atmosphere. At Russia’s Sura Ionospheric Heating Facility (SURA) in Vasilsursk, a powerful transmitter was used to pump radio energy into the ionized plasma that characterizes this layer, some 310 miles above the town.

 

Russia's SURA facility.

Russia’s SURA facility. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Microsoft Claims A win Over Russian Plans To Hack US Politicians

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Microsoft has once again turned to US courts to seize six internet domains it says the notorious Fancy Bear hackers had set up for spear phishing US politicians and think-tanks ahead of the midterm elections in November.

Along with the domain seizures, Microsoft has launched a new security service aka Microsoft Account Guard, which will be available at no charge to all current US federal, state and local candidates, so long as they’re using Office 365.

The service includes threat detection and notifications for eligible Office 365, Outlook.com, and Hotmail accounts.

Microsoft will directly notify these organizations if it detects new threats targeting users’ corporate email addresses and personal accounts, while offering early access to security features usually reserved for large business and government customers.

Facebook Takes Down Over Six Hundred Accounts Linked To Russia & Iran

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The majority of the fake accounts appear to be linked to Iran, with some also said to be based in Russia. Twitter said that it has suspended 284 accounts.

Facebook said that it had identified 652 cases. They removed 652 Pages, groups and accounts for coordinated inauthentic behavior that originated in Iran and targeted people across multiple internet services in the Middle East, Latin America, UK and US

The company credited cybersecurity firm FireEye for helping to identify a network known as ‘Liberty Front Press’ which appeared to be behind the campaign.

Facebook said that it had been monitoring some of the accounts for several months, and had deliberately delayed removal. The reason for the delay was because it would have been harder to understand their playbook and the extent of their network. It also limits their ability to coordinate with law enforcement, who often have investigations of their own. Thats why they’ve investigated some of these campaigns for many months and why they will continue working to find out more.

Twitter recently came under fire for taking a very long time to respond to hate speech by Alex Jones. Facebook recently started making two-factor authentication a requirement for some page managers to help verify their identity.

State-sponsored fake news is believed to have played a role in influencing both the US presidential election and the UK’s Brexit referendum.

Connections between suspected Iran-linked 'inauthentic'  websites and social media

Microsoft Says, Russia-Linked Hackers Target US Think Tanks & Political Organizations

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Microsoft’s president Brad Smith wrote in a blog It’s clear that democracies around the world are under attack. Foreign entities are launching cyber strikes to disrupt elections and sow discord.

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The Aesthetics of Russian Libraries Is Causing Their Visitors To Dwindle

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 Councillor Pete Gilbert, Conservative county councillor for Bedworth West, says libraries that look like car parks are not helping halt the slump in visitor numbers across Warwickshire.  He continues to say” the biggest damage that we’ve caused ourselves is the knocking or pulling down of beautiful buildings that lived and breathed books and building these Soviet-looking flat roofed things that don’t inspire anybody.”

On the other hand in contrast to that, the county was among the best when it came to digital visits with eBook and eAudio downloads at an all-time high. 

Russia’s Counterfeit Culture

 

It appears that Russia has a thriving market for fake street wear. Russia’s fragile economy, international sanctions and low wages has kept demand for fakes alive and well. 

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Winter Olympics Was Hacked

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Game organizers have verified rumors that the Olympics were hacked during Friday’s opening ceremony. However, the source of the attack has yet to be revealed. While systems including the internet and television services were affected on Friday evening, organizers assured media that the breach “had not compromised any critical part of their operations,” according to a Reuters report.

Cybersecurity experts noted in January that there were early suggestions that Russia-backed attackers may have wanted a payback as a retaliation against the nation’s ban from the Pyeongchang Games. The Russian federation has not been allowed to compete as a result of anti-doping regulations (though Russian athletes have been taking part of the games as the Olympic Athletes from Russia, or OAR).

Russia denies the hacking and North Korea may also serve as a prime suspect. The hack was short-lived and quickly addressed. “All issues were resolved and recovered yesterday morning

AK-47 Machine Gun Company Creating Rideables

Large Scale Cyber Attacks Bombard Russia & Ukraine

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A large-scale cyberattack is easing its way through a number of Ukrainian and Russian targets today. So far, in Russia, oil producer Rosneft and metal company Evraz have been affected by the attack. In Ukraine, Boryspil airport, the banking system, a state power distributer and even the Ukrainian government have been hit. Flight delays are e

FedEx Also Suffers Malware Attack

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FedEx Corp confirms it has suffered a malware attack on Friday  and said its Windows-based systems were “experiencing interference” due to malware and that it was trying to fix the issue as quickly as possible. Computer systems at companies and hospitals in dozens of countries were hit Friday, apparently part of a huge extortion plot. The so-called ransomware attack appears to exploit a weakness that was purportedly identified by the U.S. National Security Agency and leaked to the internet. It encrypts data on infected computers and demands payment before the information is unencrypted..

A cyberattack that is forcing computer owners to pay hundreds of dollars in ransom to unlock their files has hit almost every corner of the world. This is the biggest ransomware outbreak in history.

Security experts from Kaspersky Lab and Avast Software say Russia was the hardest hit, followed by Ukraine and Taiwan. Researchers believe a criminal organization is behind this, given its sophistication.Russia’s Interior Ministry says it has come under cyber attack. Agency spokeswoman Irina Volk says in a statement carried by Russian news agencies that Friday’s cyber attacks hit about 1,000 computers. She said the ministry’s servers haven’t been affected. Volk also said that ministry experts are now working to recover the system and do necessary security updates.

Russian media also said that the Investigative Committee, the nation’s top criminal investigation agency, also has been targeted. The committee denied the reports.

Megafon, a top Russian mobile operator, also said it has come under cyberattacks that appeared similar to those that crippled U.K. hospitals on Friday.

Microsoft has released fixes for vulnerabilities and related tools disclosed by TheShadowBrokers, a mysterious group that has repeatedly published alleged NSA software code. But many companies and individuals haven’t installed the fixes yet, or are using older versions of Windows that Microsoft no longer supports and didn’t fix.

Hospitals in the U.K. and telecommunications companies in Spain are among those hit by a “ransomware” attack that locked up computer data and demanded payment to free it. The attacks use a malware called Wanna Decryptor, also known as WannaCry.

The Kremlin Denies It

 

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More On The Kremlin 

Declassified Report On Russia’s Election Hacking

 

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The FBI, CIA and NSA released their joint report on Friday afternoon.

Game2:Winter—–A Russian Reality That Allows Everything Even Murder?

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Some Reports say the headlines are misleading and some say its not

A forthcoming Russian reality show called “Game2: Winter” will permit contestants to commit crimes, including rape and murder. On 15 December 2016, multiple web sites reported that a new Russian reality show called Game 2: Winter would allow rape and murder while contestants were participating in Siberia:

Contestants sign waiver acknowledging they may not survive nine-month Siberian wilderness challenge, and if crimes are committed, [contestants] will be arrested.

Each contestant gives consent that they could be maimed, even killed,” reads an advert. “2000 cameras, 900 hectares and 30 lives. Everything is allowed. Fighting, alcohol, murder, rape, smoking, anything.”

Here’s what the Siberian Times say

Contestants will each sign a waiver acknowledging that they might be raped or killed but the rules also state that police are free to arrest anyone who commits a crime on the show. “You must understand that the police will come and take you away,” the rules state. “We are on the territory of Russia, and obey the laws of the Russian Federation.”

One article said;

Each contestant gives consent that they could be maimed, even killed,” reads an advert. “2000 cameras, 900 hectares and 30 lives. Everything is allowed. Fighting, alcohol, murder, rape, smoking, anything.”

Contestants will each sign a waiver acknowledging that they might be raped or killed but the rules also state that police are free to arrest anyone who commits a crime on the show. “You must understand that the police will come and take you away,” the rules state. “We are on the territory of Russia, and obey the laws of the Russian Federation.”

In an interview last month, Pyatkovsky said all potential contestants sign waivers, acknowledging that they could be raped or killed. As of November 18, he said there were already 32 people who had signed up, including one American. A few days later, the list of applicants had reached 60.

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Russia’s Satan 2 Missle

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Russia has finally revealed it’s RS-28 Sarmat missile—better known as the Satan 2 nuclear missile—The new weapon can deploy warheads of 40 megatons, or about 2,000 times as powerful as the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagaski in 1945. Satan 2 is also capable of evading radar defenses and could travel far enough to strike the US East and West Coast.

US and Russia both signed treaties in 2010 restricting the number of intercontinental ballistic missiles the countries would keep in reserve, but despite the truce, Russia said it must maintain a strong nuclear deterrent because of the US military involvement in Europe. The Satan 2 is expected into service in late 2018, and Russian officials say it will fully replace the old Satan missiles by 2020.

Russian Hackers leaked Confidential medical Files of Olympians

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Russian hackers accessed medical files of several Olympian s in Rio. The Russian hacking team goes by the name Tsar Team (Apt 28) gained access to WADA ‘s anti doping administration and management system (ADAMS). Tsar Team is also believe to be behind the Democratic Party Hacks. The investigation into the breach is ongoing, but WADA believes spear phishing was the technique of choice and that other ADAMS data is unaffected. Athletes affected include Serena Williams and Simone Biles.

Serena Williams and Simone Biles are among those affected.

Athletes affected include Serena Williams and Simone Biles. Medical reports listing drugs they were cleared to use are posted on the website of the hackers. WADA is regretful about this situation.

 

 

Librarian Under House Arrest In Russia

 

Natalya Sharina is accused of inciting ethnic hatred for stocking banned books in the library.  Read More

Russian Comrades Raids Ukrainian Library In Moscow

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Russian Biometric Passports To Begin 2015

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Russians applying for biometric passports for foreign travel will be fingerprinted beginning in 2015. The fingerprints will be added to a digital record. The  biometric data is to include prints of two fingers of the passport holder’s hands, the order published Wednesday said. Diplomatic missions abroad, which also process passport applications, will have until Jan. 1, 2016 to implement the new rules, depending on how soon they receive the necessary equipment and software.

Russia began a trial run of fingerprinting for biometric passports in Moscow and St. Petersburg last year, and the Federal Migration Service said that the practice would be implemented on a mass scale in 2015. The service currently issues two kinds of passports for foreign travel — the 10-year biometric passport and a simpler and less expensive five-year passport, which does not include biometric data.

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