RUSSIA: #FSB Calls for combined forces against #terrorism with other countries after a recent meeting of security heads in St Petersburg – @AceNewsServices

#AceNewsReport – July.30: Russia calls for consolidation of intel data on terrorism, avoidance of politicization
Preview To counteract terrorism more effectively, countries should consolidate their databases on terrorists into one, the chief of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) suggested following an international meeting of security chiefs in St. Petersburg.

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` Kyiv Appeals Court Arrests Task Force Commander Suspected of Shooting People During Protests '

#AceNewsServices – KYIV – April 22 (Interfax) – The Kyiv Appeals Court has changed the pretrial restrictive measure for Dmytro Sadovnyk, the commander of a special company of the Berkut task force, suspected of massive shootings on Independence Square in Kyiv in early February and ordered that he be arrested.

The request on changing Sadovnyk’s restrictive measure from house arrest to custody was filed by the prosecution service, and the court granted it, a court spokesperson told Interfax on Friday.

The Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office is probing the shootings of people in Kyiv on February 18 and 20.

Three Berkut members including a company commander, had earlier been detained and brought to court, which sanctioned the arrest of the two regular Berkut members and placed the company leader under house arrest.

It was Ukrainian police snipers that shot dead protesters at Kiev’s Maidan square, according to a government inquiry.

(Novinite.com) – Ukraine’s agency UNIAN, quoting cabinet officials, suggests former Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko coordinated the crackdown of February’s protesters.

Reports reveal he used the so-call “titushki”, wrestlers usually hired by different factions (regardless opposition or government) to mar the unrest using provocation.

Later information by the inquiry confirms that Viktor Zubritskiy, who is described as having close ties with Zakharchenko, was the one exerting control over actions by the “titushki”.

Earlier on Thursday Ukrainian authorities detained several members of the Berkut police unit, which was disbanded short after ousted President Yanukovych was replaced by an interim leadership.

The arrests were ordered over suspicions that the members took part in the shooting of protesters which left more than 100 people dead in a few days.

The current inquiry, which looks into 76 deaths at Institutska street, has also revealed that 17 of the victims died “in clashes between protesters and police”, UNIAN has reported.

Ukraine’s Security Service Chief Valentyn Nalyvaychenko even said Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) had been involved in the crackdown, claiming that 26 of its members took part in the operation.

Russia’s intelligence services did not immediately comment on the issue.

Interior Minister Arsen Avakov was quoted by the BBC as saying the detained Berkut men are three, with nine more already identified, while UNIAN puts the number of arrested at 12.

Avakov named Berkut’s Maj Dmytro Sadovnyk as a commander of a unit which purportedly shot dead at least 17 protesters.

A government report on the issue is expected to be released later on Thursday.

UNIAN – Interfax – Novonite – Ria Novorsti – BBC News – Contributions from: va mk

#ANS2014

#berkut, #fsb, #independence-square, #kyiv, #ukrainian

` FSB says that Certain Country’s have tried to `Destabilise ‘ the `Internal Situation’ in ` Russia ‘ following Events in Crimea ‘

#AceWorldNews – MOSCOW – March 28 – The Russian Federal Security Service said on Friday that western countries sought to destabilize the internal situation in Russia, following the latest events in Crimea, and called for urgent measures to ensure the security of Russian nationals, including those living in the newly-formed Crimean Federal District.

“The number of external threats to the state has increased.

The legal volition of the people of Crimea and eastern Ukraine to be together with Russia are driving the United States and its allies into hysteria.

They are trying to destabilize the socio-political and economic situation in this country,” FSB Deputy Director Alexander Malyovanyi said at a ceremony on Friday where President Putin met senior officers who had received new appointments and had been promoted to higher military ranks.

Russian News and Media Sources

#ANS2014

#crimea, #crimean-federal-district, #fsb, #moscow, #president-putin, #russia-3, #russian, #ukraine, #united-states

` Gang Leader and ` Four Militants ' were Killed in a ` Special Operation ' in Dagestan '

#AceWorldNews – MOSCOW – March 25 – A gang leader and four militants were killed in a special operation the Russian North Caucasus republic of Dagestan, the Russian National Anti-Terrorism Committee (NAC) reported Tuesday.

The clash between militants and law enforcers also claimed the life of one Interior Ministry officer, leaving another one wounded, the committee told Itar-Tass.

A few suspected members of illegal armed units were blocked by Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) and Interior Ministry special forces in a house in the Pervomayskoye village in Dagestan’s Khasavyurt District.

The suspects were “told to lay down arms, but they opened fire from automatic weapons on law enforcers”.

All five were “neutralized” during the special operation.

They were identified, including the head of so-called Khasavyurt gang, Tural Atayev born in 1988, an Azeri national, who was one of the organizers of a terrorist attack in the city of Pyatigorsk in December.

Russian News Sources

#ANS2014

#caucasus, #dagestan, #federal-security-service, #fsb, #moscow, #russian-anti-terrorism-committee-nac, #tass

Russia: “In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit Virus Hits Russian Computers” and Demands Money”

#AceSecurityNews says  that New draft anti-terrorism legislation grants the FSB greater access to information about users of popular websites such as Google and Facebook;

The Federal Customs Service starts implementing tough new rules relating to parcel deliveries – much to the dismay of on-line shoppers; IT experts raise the alarm over a new virus that’s apparently on a mission from God – beginning its cyber attack by demanding money in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Father,Son and Holy SpirtAccording to the latest news from the Manila Times and there post MOSCOW has added a spiritual dimension to the world of hacking, a new Trojan virus has emerged in Russia that locks computers and demands money for church repairs.

Victims may feel the urge to pray if their computers are hit by the malware, which claims to be acting “in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” More specifically, the Trojan-Dropper.Win32.Dapato.dggc virus claims to be moved by the last of the three aspects of the Trinity to lock up user’s files.

Father,Son and Holy Spirit2Recovery is promised in return for a donation, which is allegedly to be spent on church restoration, the Kaspersky Lab antivirus company reported on its corporate blog.

A similar trick is often employed in the non-virtual world by Russian beggars, who dress up as priests and pretend to collect money for church needs.

The Russian-language Trojan is distributed as a .zip archive containing unspecified court documents allegedly intended for the user, Kaspersky Lab said on the blog on Monday.

The hackers behind the spiritual computer sabotage have not been identified. The Russian Orthodox Church has not commented on the allegedly pious malware at the time of publication.

Russia is undergoing an alleged religious revival, with numbers of believers – though not churchgoers – skyrocketing in recent years, according to polls.

Separately, Russia outranked the United States, Germany, China and Poland for the number of cyber-attacks on computers in 2013, Kaspersky Lab reported in December. 

 

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“Government Anti-“Extremism” Campaign Hits Internet Content and Access in Russia”

Logo of Reporters Without Borders, animated tr...

Logo of Reporters Without Borders, animated trilingual version (English, French, Spanish). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#AceGuestNews says according to a recent article in RFS the authorities have used the issue of national security to expand Web monitoring and censorship – even while continuing to promote and develop Internet access for the population at large. The Web has played a key role in the political debate prompted by legislative and presidential elections and in the post-election mobilization of the opposition and civil society. These developments provoked a strong official response. The blogosphere has grown stronger and better organized in the face of state attacks.

Government anti-“extremism” campaign hits Internet content and access

President George W. Bush of the United States ...

President George W. Bush of the United States and President Vladimir Putin of Russia, exchange handshakes Thursday, June 7, 2007, after their meeting at the G8 Summit in Heiligendamm, Germany. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Prime Minister (now President-elect) Vladimir Putin said on 9 February 2012: “Negative phenomena exist everywhere, including on the Internet, and should not be used as a pretext to limit Internet freedom.” However, the authorities have used the justification of preventing violence to reinforce their control of the Internet, with the Federal Security Service (FSB) taking steps to close a number of online organizations in late 2011. Most of these groups have clearly called on their members to respect the law and not to let themselves be provoked into violence.

The government list of “extremist” content, as well as the boundaries of the category itself, keep growing. It now includes everything touching on religion and issues of ethnicity, which have become taboo subjects on RuNet – as the Russian Internet is known. That list is the basis of official demands to take down content, and of actions to block site access (see the Russia chapter in the 2011 report on Enemies of the Internet).

The process of domain name registration could affect freedom of expression online by leading to closure of more sites. New rules promulgated by Nic.ru, the biggest Russian domain name-registration company, allow the cancellation of domain names for inciting violence, “extremist” activity, advocating overthrow of the government, activity in conflict with human dignity or religious beliefs. The rules reflected new official regulations. Domain name-registration companies are authorized to suspend names in the .ru and .rf (pΦ) domains upon written notification from “agencies conducting an investigation.” That provision would potentially authorize prosecutors, the FSB, the police, or the drug enforcement agency (FSKN) to order such a move.

In Tomsk, Siberia, the broadcast arm of Roskomnadzor, the federal mass communications supervisory agency, has recently pressured the regional television network TV-2 to stop transmitting two news programs by Dozhd, the first Internet TV network in Russia, whose content is critical of the government.

Anatoly Baranov, owner of the forum.msk.ru discussion platform, states that the Yandex search engine filtered out news items from his site on Yandex.News searches.

Danger of the spread of online monitoring and censorship

English: Flag of Roskomnadzor Русский: Флаг Ро...

English: Flag of Roskomnadzor Русский: Флаг Роскомнадзора (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Roskomnadzor, whose regulatory authority extends to information technology and mass communications, has announced that it has installed on-line software to detect “extremist” material. The sites identified through this process will be given three days to take down content that meets this ill-defined standard. If a site does not comply, two additional warnings will be sent. The site will then be shut down.

The software was to go into operation in test mode in December, 2011. Its full deployment has beenpostponed indefinitely. Nevertheless, it carries the risk of system-wide monitoring of the Russian Weband could lead eventually to the taking down of all content that displeases the authorities.

The justice ministry, for its part, has invited bids to create its own monitoring system of content on the Internet. Such a system would allow close examination of all content touching on Russian government and justice systems, and any European Union statement concerning Russia.

Bloggers under pressure

Prison sentences and violent attacks were less frequent in 2011, except during the election campaign period. Yet legal proceedings and pressures of all kind continue – above all when the activities of netizens focus on sensitive topics and powerful interest groups.

Maj. Igor Matveev of the interior ministry garrison in Vladivostok has been prosecuted on charges that seem to have been prompted by his revelations last June of practices in the military region where he served. He reported that troops were served dog food in cans falsely labelled as containing beef stew. He faces a possible 10-year sentence.

Yuri Yegorov, a former employee of the regional government of Tatarstan’s human rights ombudsman’s office, received a six-month suspended sentence last June, as well as two years of probation, for defamation. He had revealed a case of alleged corruption in the ombudsman’s office, headed by Rashit Vagiov, that took place from February to July 2007.

Leonid Kaganov, a prominent blogger, was forced last May to house his site abroad. In 2009, the FSB had demanded, through his hosting service, the removal of an anti-Semitic poem that was on his site because he had mocked it.

Roman Hoseyev is the target of administrative action for having quoted from “Mein Kampf” on a site in 2005, before the 2010 banning of the book in Russia. He had drawn comparisons between statements by US President George W. Bush and Hitler.

No information has been received about the fate of a Navy conscript who blogged under the nameVasily, publishing on Twitter under the name Sosigusyan. He denounced hazing and poor living conditions in his unit. His Twitter account was hacked and the content about the military taken down, except for the last three posts, which were written by another person.

Propaganda and cyber-attacks

In addition to mounting a campaign of repression against on-line oppositionists, the Kremlin deploys its own cyber-weapons. Several thousand Twitter accounts were hacked at the end of 2011 in order to flood social media with pro-government messages, using hashtags popular with oppositionists (notably, #navalny, from the name of the well-known political activist and anti-corruption bloggerAlexei Navalny, and #триумфалънпая, from Triumfalnaya Square in Moscow).

LiveJournal was taken down by DDOS in 2006.

LiveJournal was taken down by DDOS in 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many Russian bloggers have pointed to a wave of “bots” unleashed against the LiveJournal social media platform. Oleg Kozyrev, an opposition blogger, has counted more than 2,000 of these software weapons.

Oppositionist Navalny’s e-mail inbox has been hacked, with the contents displayed on a site called navalnymail.kz. According to several bloggers, this action could be part of a government-organized campaign to discredit Navalny.

The wave of cyber-attacks peaked at the time of the legislative elections last December. A series of Distributed Denial of Service attacks paralyzed sites critical of the government before and during the vote, apparently to silence the dissidents. Access to LiveJournal, which hosts blogs critical of the Kremlin, was blocked for three days, starting on 1 December 2011. The site had already suffered a DDoS attack the month before.

Among other Web targets are:

  • Echo of Moscow radio’s site, Echo.msk.ru
  • The independent daily Kommersant’s site, komersant.ru
  • The election-monitoring NGO’s site, golos.org
  • KartaNarusheniy.ru, an interactive map created by Golos to track reports of election fraud
  • Gazeta.ru, an independent news site
  • Lenizdat.ru, a Saint Petersburg-based independent news site
  • Slonl.ru and Newtimes.ru, opposition sites which posted the Golos map after Gazeta.ru took it down
  • Ridus.ru, a citizen-journalism site
  • Doshdu.ru, the site of Dosh, an independent news magazine about the Russian Caucasus
  • Zaks.ru, a news site on the northwest region.

Some media organizations and opposition groups, having anticipated these developments, migrated to social networks and called on their readers to follow them on Twitter and Facebook in the event that their sites went down.

Disputed elections, attempted control of online political debate

Most traditional media organizations, notably television networks, are under Kremlin control, genuine political discussions have been possible only online. Any measure deemed necessary to uphold the country’s strongman, Putin, has been considered appropriate.

Even before and during the legislative elections, debates had been hindered by cyber-attacks and by the arrests of journalists and bloggers. Those detained included Alexey Sochnev, the editor of the independent news site Besttoday.ru; Maria Plieva, a prominent blogger in Ossetia; and the president of Golos, Lilia Chibanova.

Golos’ interactive election-fraud monitoring map proved to be a great success as the elections unfolded. Thousands of videos showing irregularities at voting places were posted to the site, prompting Russians to take to the streets in great numbers to denounce election fraud. Navalny and many journalists were arrested during these post-election demonstrations,

The great majority of traditional media organizations – especially television networks – ignored these events. Instead, they provided largely favourable coverage of Putin’s party, United Russia, which swept the legislative elections.

English: Emblem of Federal Security Service of...

English: Emblem of Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation. Español: Emblema del Servicio Federal de Seguridad. Русский: Эмблема ФСБ. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The social media site Vkontakte, which has more than 5 million members in Russia, found itself in the government spotlight. The FSB told the site’s founder and director, Pavel Durov, to shut down seven groups calling for demonstrations last December (including a group rallying to defend the ruling party). A Russian blogger estimated that up to 185,000 netizens subscribed to protest-organizing groups. A spokesman for Vkontakte said publicly that the site would not practice censorship and would not carry out the FSB order. Following the statement, Durov was summoned to appear before prosecutors in Saint Petersburg on 9 December.

Regional discussion forums, very popular at the provincial level, with most participants anonymous, have become a favourite resource for political debate among Russian netizens, and a nightmare for the authorities. However, these sites are less powerful than the national media and easy to censor, though that has not prevented netizens from migrating to other sites, hosted abroad. At least three forums were closed or suspended during the months leading up to the early December elections.

One of these sites is the Kostroma Jedis regional forum, which was targeted following the posting of two satirical videos criticizing Igor Slyunyaev, governor of the Kostroma region, some 300 km northwest of Moscow. In November, other forums were shut down or purged of all political content by their administrators. One such case occurred in the Arzamas, a city 410 km east of Moscow, affecting the mcn.nnov.ru site. Another took place in the west-central city of Miass, 95 km west of Chelyabinsk, affecting the forum.miass.ru site. It is not clear if these were cases of official action or self-censorship. In either case, the closing of these forums signifies a narrowing of the possibilities for political debate on the Russian Web.

In the run-up to the presidential election in March, Golos, the election-monitoring NGO, put up a new version of its interactive map to track election fraud, with stronger defences against cyber-attack. Navalny, the activist and blogger, mounted a site, Rosvybory.org, to assist citizens in becoming presidential election observers.

The campaign of repression mounted for the legislative elections illustrated the official attitude toward protest. And the official response was designed to create a deterrent to popular action in the presidential election period. Tensions grew during the months between the two elections. On 17 February, Reporters Without Borders denounced a wave of intimidation aimed at national independent media. Major targets included Echo of MoscowNovaya Gazeta, an independent newspaper, and Dozhd, the online television operation. The latter organization received a fax on 16 February from the Moscow prosecutor’s office, demanding detailed information on the “network’s financing for coverage of mass demonstrations on 10 and 24 December.”

These barely veiled accusations against Dozhd track precisely with statements by Prime Minister Putin, who had publicly accused demonstrators of having acted at the encouragement of the US state department. Roskomnadzor, the mass communications authority, had already required Dozhd to defend its coverage of the December protests. After examining in detail the images that the network had transmitted, the agency finally concluded that they contained nothing objectionable.

Journalists were again arrested and beaten during the post-election demonstrations of 5 March 2012. The clear goal was to prevent coverage of the demonstrations. However, contrary to what was seen in December, cyber-attacks seem to have been set aside – for now.

Export of the Russian model of Web control?

Russia has played a leading role on the international scene in promoting its vision of the Internet and exporting its Web control strategy. Moscow has proposed to the UN, together with China, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, an Internet conduct code designed to provide “information security.”

The impact of the Kremlin’s policy is all the greater because the RuNet sphere of influence extends throughout the region, influencing countries such as Belarus and Kazakhstan in their Internet monitoring and censorship programs.

#AceGuestViews

 

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