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Last Week Online #65 – Mixed signals from Russia

Anna Loverus
Anna Loverus
2 min read

Russia committed extensive cyberattacks against Ukraine and United States, while claiming to withdraw its military forces.

State-backed Russian hackers behind two major cyber attacks

According to newly declassified US intelligence, Russian government hackers have likely obtained access to Ukrainian military, energy, and other critical computer networks. The purpose of accessing the systems should be to gather intelligence and position themselves to disrupt those systems if Russia launches a military assault on Ukraine.

At the same time, Russian state-sponsored hackers have obtained sensitive defence information technology by targeting US contractors, according to an alert released on Wednesday by CISA, FBI, and NSA. This comes when tensions between Russia and the West are high due to the Russian border with Ukraine.

Targeting security-cleared US defence contractors, the Russian hackers have been acquiring information in various areas, including weapons and missile development, vehicle and aircraft design, surveillance and reconnaissance, and combat communications systems. The compromised entities include contractors supporting the US Army, Air Force, Navy, Space Force, Department of Defence, and Intelligence programs. Though there is no mention of classified documents being stolen, the stolen information gives a comprehensive understanding of US military operations.

Snapchat allows users to look out for their friends

On Friday, Snapchat announced that they are rolling out a new feature that will allow users to share their real-time location for 15 minutes or a few hours with a friend. The new global feature is meant to help users look out for each other, making sure their friends get home safe at night.

There is no option for users to send their real-time location to all of their Snapchat friends at once for safety reasons. Both parties have to accept each other as friends on Snapchat before sharing their location with each other. And when users decide the turn on the feature, they'll receive a reminder that the tool is meant to be used with close friends and family only.

This feature comes when Apple is under heat for making stalking more easily accessible to everyday people using their Apple AirTags.

Also, the news comes just one day after Snapchat announced that users will finally be able to change their usernames (once a year) without impacting users' accounts, such as their friend lists or Snap scores.

Twitter will let developers label bot accounts

Twitter will let developers apply labels for bot accounts to let users know when an account is running automatically. Starting Wednesday, you'll be able to see the tag "Automated" on the account's profile and under the account's name in your feed.

The account owners will need to opt in to apply labels to their accounts. The feature will be available to automated accounts created by developers who use the Twitter API. However, many bot accounts – especially not the more harmful ones – will not have the label attached, nor will Twitter audit accounts that choose to apply the new tags.

Who Is Behind QAnon? Linguistic Detectives Find Fingerprints

The New York Times – Using machine learning, separate teams of computer scientists identified the same two men as likely authors of messages that fueled the viral movement.

Last Week Online

Anna Loverus Twitter

Thinker and doer. Loves running, wine, and human behaviour.

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