Reuters: Facebook deletes Russian firm’s accounts over alleged data scraping. ” Facebook has disabled dozens of accounts and profiles belonging to Russian database provider SocialDataHub for what it termed the unauthorised collection of user information, the social media giant said on Thursday.”
The Verge: Bot makers loved The Last Jedi discourse so much they decided to politically influence it. “When it arrived in theaters last year, writer-director Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi was greeted with an immediate backlash from a specific corner of its audience. As Vox’s Todd VanDerWerff pointed out in December, the criticism seemed to come from a few different angles: some felt the film was too progressive, that it was too jokey, that it was not interested in the elaborate universe of fan theories that has accreted since the original trilogy’s release, or that the characters’ journeys weren’t exactly to their liking.”
Ars Technica: First UEFI malware discovered in wild is laptop security software hijacked by Russians. “ESET Research has published a paper detailing the discovery of a malware campaign that used repurposed commercial software to create a backdoor in computers’ firmware—a ‘rootkit,’ active since at least early 2017 and capable of surviving the re-installation of the Windows operating system or even hard drive replacement. While the malware had been spotted previously, ESET’s research is the first to show that it was actively attacking the firmware of computers to establish a tenacious foothold.”
New-to-me, from Electronic Beats: Explore This Online Museum Of Obscure Russian Synthesizers. “Over the course of the 20th century, Soviet Russia developed a huge collection of synths, drum machines, keyboards, organs and toy music boxes that were incredibly different from the synths that proliferated in Western markets. Many of these instruments, like the Ekvodin and the Polivoks, had strange, inventive designs and sounded downright weird to Western ears.”
TechCrunch: Russian hackers ‘Fancy Bear’ now targeting governments with rootkit malware. “Security researchers say that they have found evidence that for the first time Russia-backed hackers are now using a more sophisticated type of malware to target government entities. ESET presented its case Thursday that the hacker group, known as Fancy Bear (or APT28), is using rootkit malware to target its victims. That marks an escalation in tactics, which the researchers say the group’s hacking capabilities ‘may be even more dangerous than previously thought.'” ESET sounds like it should be an explained acronym but it’s the name of a security company.
TorrentFreak: Google, Yandex Discuss Creation of Anti-Piracy Database. “Google, Yandex and other prominent Internet companies in Russia are discussing the creation of a database of infringing content including movies, TV shows, games, and software. The idea is that the companies will automatically query this database every five minutes with a view to removing such content from search results within six hours, no court order required.”
NPR: Russia’s Divisive Twitter Campaign Took A Rare Consistent Stance: Pro-Gun. “Russia’s influence campaign on Twitter pushed pro-gun and pro-National Rifle Association messages during the 2016 election and beyond — a rare example of consistency in a scheme that mostly sought to play up extremes on the left and right. On every issue, from race to health care, women’s rights to police brutality, gay marriage to global warming, accounts associated with the Internet Research Agency sought to amplify controversy by playing up conflict. Except when it came to guns and the NRA.”