US-Russia internet row: Russians accuse Google and others of cyber attacks

Moscow and Silicon Valley’s war of words has intensified.

Russian internet giant Yandex summoned a group of US journalists to a presentation of what they called important achievements made by Yandex, and anti-westernsaid organisations have retaliated.

Google’s Russia chief accused of attempting to muzzle criticism Read more

Yandex said the day’s events, dubbed “Russia’s Disruption Day”, represent the latest in a long line of anti-western propaganda campaigns by its Russian rival and “enemy”.

“Several years ago Yandex was prohibited from launching websites in this country, then they tried to kill us with money,” Yandex VP Petr Grishnov said.

“Today, they launch cyber attacks by sabotaging the infrastructure of some of our biggest competitors. We have seen them do this many times,” he added.

Meanwhile, a website with a duplicate version of the New York Times website and links to the country’s largest Russian daily, Moskovsky Komsomolets, was being used to provide the news in Russia, including denial of services, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and even phishing operations.

“This website is spreading negative opinion about Russia,” an employee working for Oleg Vozdzyrymnie, Russia’s largest state telecoms operator, told the business daily Vedomosti.

“The news that appeared there did not make sense. Its aim was to flood the service with ‘inauthentic’ materials,” he added.

Google Russia executive accused of attempting to muzzle criticism Read more

The website is being used to update misleading news articles about the investigation into the assassination of the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, and to attack the Skripal case and Russia’s Internet censorship, said another employee of Russia’s largest state telecoms operator, Rostelecom.

The employees spoke on condition of anonymity.

“The hackers were hired by EnStream [the Russian telecoms network connecting the European continent], [owned by] the Putin administration,” Vondy Novikov, head of Facebook Russia, tweeted, adding that many media outlets that were censored on the Russian government’s orders were being added to the list.

Similarly, other major technology firms that were also targeted on Sunday include Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia and The Moscow Times.

Yandex deputy CEO Liliya Shevtsova called out EnStream, a Russian company that provides internet bandwidth to the European Union, citing a recent statement from British ambassador to Russia Laurie Bristow.

The Kremlin tried to distract attention from the Russian accusations, by pointing to the measures taken by Yandex to combat the spread of false news on Russian and foreign platforms.

The company announced plans to train IT specialists to fight fake news and adopt measures including having its journalists vet videos, articles and other material being shared on social media and digital platforms.

“Today’s speech is Russia’s Disruption Day. Yet despite a growing number of anti-Westernsaid organisations, Yandex, one of the world’s leading technology companies, is being invited to get into the censorship game,” said Voroslava Malysheva, one of the media professionals who travelled to Moscow.

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