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Russia

Blog   |   Burma, China, Internet, Kazakhstan, North Korea, Russia, Sweden, Tunisia

Protecting yourself from denial-of-service attacks

It's my second link to a report by Hal Roberts (and others at the Berkman Center) in as many days, but I worry that this this detailed document on denial-of-service (DOS) and hacking attacks on independent media and human rights groups might get missed in the holiday season.

The news headlines in the last few weeks have been full of stories of how DOS attacks can bring down even high-profile websites, often with relatively little technical expertise on behalf of the attackers. Such attacks are nothing new to online journalists across the world, however. Just this year, CPJ has dealt with cases of independent news sites being taken offline by remote Internet attacks in China, Burma, Vietnam, Russia, Kazakhstan, and now Belarus.

The Berkman Center's report details over three hundred other cases from 1998 onwards, from Sweden to North Korea. More important, the researchers interviewed the victims of these attacks, and categorized what defenses were practical and effective -- and what did not work.

If you're an online journalist with powerful opponents, I'd strongly encourage you to read this document and pass it along to your tech-savvy associates. Even a small amount of preparation can help keep vital news and opinion available online when you -- and your readers -- most need it.

December 21, 2010 3:31 PM ET

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Blog   |   Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Internet, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam

Fighting bogus piracy raids, Microsoft issues new licenses

CPJ has documented for several years the use of spurious anti-piracy raids to shut down and intimidate media organizations in Russia and the former Soviet republics. Offices have been shut down, and computers seized. Often, security agents make bogus claims to be representing or acting on behalf of the U.S. software company Microsoft.

December 7, 2010 3:10 PM ET

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Blog   |   Ethiopia, Iran, Russia, Venezuela

CPJ Press Freedom Awardee: 'I always wanted answers'

Left to right: Nadira Isayeva, Dawit Kebede, and Laureano Márquez in Washington. (CPJ/Rodney Lamkey Jr.)

The last few weeks have been extremely busy for everyone at CPJ as we've been preparing for the 2010 International Press Freedom Awards. Today's press conference in Washington will be followed by a series of events culminating in our awards ceremony Tuesday in New York. As always, the awardees make it special. 

Blog   |   Journalist Assistance, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Russia, Uganda

Help journalists in need: An appeal

Beketov must be transported to trial in an ambulance while his attackers walk free. (Foundation in Support of Mikhail Beketov)

Mikhail Beketov is lucky to be alive, although I'm sure there are days when he doesn't think so. On November 13, 2008, the environmental reporter who campaigned against a highway that would have destroyed a forest in Khimki, a town outside Moscow, was beaten nearly to death by men with metal bars. The attackers made a special effort to destroy his hands and left him to die in the November cold. He would have if neighbors had not noticed him and called the police 24 hours after the attack.

Blog   |   India, Internet, Russia, South Korea, UK

Internet blotter

October 22, 2010 4:18 PM ET

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Blog   |   China, India, Internet, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, UAE

Use your Blackberry to map global surveillance

The University of Toronto's Citizen Lab has announced a research project to analyze the global infrastructure of Research In Motion, maker of the BlackBerry. It's looking for BlackBerry users from any country to take part--especially those in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, India, Indonesia, Russia and China.

All of these countries have at some point demanded that RIM make their BlackBerry network more surveillance-friendly. Some have threatened to ban BlackBerry services outright if their demands are not met. Other reports suggest that RIM has made concessions to some of these countries' demands.

One possible concession RIM might make is to move its Blackberry Internet Service (BIS) servers to locations within those countries' jurisdictions. BIS servers are the bridges between the internal BlackBerry network and the wider Internet. A locally-hosted BIS server would make it easier for domestic security services to monitor BlackBerry users' general Web traffic.

RIM has kept quiet about what agreements, if any, it has made with any government. Nevertheless, it is theoretically possible to work out the location of these BIS servers externally. If you're a journalist who uses a BlackBerry, all you have to do to help with this project is to visit the RimCheck website using your BlackBerry device and fill out a short form. The site will record the IP address of the machine your request comes from, and will attempt to determine where in the world that server could be located.

The conclusions that the RIM Check project draws from this study will be published when the group has collected enough data. Concrete statistics like this will mean we'll finally be able to see if BlackBerry's send their data exclusively through Canadian servers as some believe or whether RIM has distributed these servers globally--potentially allowing users' unencrypted Net traffic to be as monitorable as that sent through a local Internet service provider.
October 21, 2010 5:27 PM ET

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Blog   |   Russia

Mission Journal: A visit to Russia's Supreme Court

Chief Justice Vyacheslav M. Lebedev of Russia's Supreme Court told CPJ, "The independence of journalists is just as important as the independence of judges." (Reuters/Mackson Wasa)

At the end of our recent mission to Moscow, our delegation squeezed in one final official meeting. Vyacheslav M. Lebedev, the chief justice of Russia's Supreme Court, had sent word only the night before that he would receive us. The meeting had been brokered by Aleksei Venediktov, the legendary founder of the radio station Ekho Moskvy, who told us that Lebedev had a keen interest in freedom of expression issues.

Blog   |   CPJ, Russia

Russian journalists detail FSB and 'New Nobility'

How do you crack Russia's vaunted security service? You go to low- and mid-level officials for information, say Russian journalists Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan, authors of the new book, The New Nobility: The Restoration of Russia's Security State and the Enduring Legacy of the KGB. At a luncheon for CPJ supporters on Thursday, Soldatov and Borogan detailed how today's Federal Security Service, or FSB, enjoys the impunity of the noble classes of bygone eras. And, of course, the authors discussed how they managed to get information about the secretive agency.

October 8, 2010 9:22 AM ET

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Blog   |   Russia

Mission Journal: Visiting Mikhail Beketov

In Moscow, progress is often followed by heartbreak. So it was on the day after our meeting with Russia's top investigator, when we hit the wall of Russia's dysfunctional criminal justice system.

Blog   |   Russia

Russian police selectively target media's 'pirated' software

Western companies that venture into Russia ought to remember this police rule: "Everything you say can and will be used against you." In this particular case--any attempt to bring civilized rules to the Russian market game could, instead, turn into a colossal blow to your image. 

September 20, 2010 4:36 PM ET

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