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Russia Implicated in Ukrainian Cyberdisruptions

Russia Implicated in Ukrainian Cyberdisruptions

Today in international tech news: Ukraine claims it is being victimized by cyberattacks and that Russia is the likely culprit. Also: A government agency in India ignores eight years-worth of corruption complaints because it didn't have the right password; factory workers at an IBM facility in China go on strike; and Canada investigates its own bitcoin debacle.

By David Vranicar
03/06/14 10:59 AM PT

Security forces in Ukraine, where tensions are running exceedingly high after weeks-worth of turmoil, have accused the Russian army of tampering with its mobile communications.

In addition, cyberattacks have been carried out against Ukrainian news websites and social media, which have been smeared with pro-Russia propaganda.

In other words, for all the historical analogs used to explain the current situation in Ukraine, an entirely new element appears to be in play: cyberconflict between Kiev and Moscow.

Ukraine's communications networks have been targeted, including mobile phones of members of parliament, according to Ukrainian security chief Valentyn Nalivaichenko. Equipment was installed at Ukrainian telecom Ukrtelecom -- located in Crimea, a territory in which Russian troops have set up shop -- that blocks his and others' phones.

Russia has neither confirmed nor denied the allegations.

Russia used cyberattacks during its 2008 invasion of Georgia, perhaps lending some credence to Ukrainian accusations.

Back then, Russia hit Georgian websites and servers with distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS) ahead of its more conventional military invasion.

[Source: BBC]

Indian Police Don't Know Password, Ignore Complaints

Police in Delhi, India, didn't know the password to an online portal used for submitting corruption concerns, leaving unanswered more than 600 complaints.

The portal, launched in 2006, was designed to ensure that corruption complaints sent to the Central Vigilance Commission could be dealt with -- in a timely manner -- by the relevant departments. Alas, a total of 667 complaints collected dust because those responsible for overseeing the portal... ahem... didn't know the password.

Then again, officers responsible for the portal also didn't know how to use it, which may well have rendered a password useless.

[Source: The Indian Express via The Register]

Strike at Chinese IBM Factory

More than 1,000 workers at an IBM factory in southern China have gone on strike in protest of their transfer to Lenovo, which acquired IBM's x86 server business earlier this year.

Protests began Monday, according to one worker cited by the Financial Times, suspending production at the IBM facility in the industrial hub of Shenzhen. The factory will be absorbed by Lenovo as part of the January deal.

Lenovo declined to comment on the situation.

The x86 transaction, worth US$2.3 billion, is expected to be finalized within the year. Of course, the strike might not expedite the deal: Last year, Chinese workers at a Cooper Tire factory seized their plants, ejected managers and withheld financial information after being bought out by India's Apollo Tyres. The shenanigans ultimately wrecked the acquisition.

[Source: Financial Times]

Canada Investigates Shuttered Bitcoin Exchange

Police in Canada are investigating domestic bitcoin band Flexcoin, which went poof this week after what the company claims was a massive cyber-robbery.

Flexcoin, based in Edmonton, is out $600,000 after hackers helped themselves to its online wallet, the company said. Flexcoin's "cold storage facility," which amounts to an offline bank, was untouched; customers with bitcoins there will get them back.

The Flexcoin debacle follows a much bigger debacle at Mt. Gox, the Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange that claims to have been robbed of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of bitcoins.

[Source: Reuters]


David Vranicar is a freelance journalist and author of The Lost Graduation: Stepping off campus and into a crisis. You can check out his ECT News archive here, and you can email him at david[dot]vranicar[at]newsroom[dot]ectnews[dot]com. You can also connect with him on Google+.


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