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About us: Webplanet.ru is the leading Russian online daily on Internet business, life and development. You can use our RSS-feed. For contact: info [doggie] webplanet.ru
translator | 08.06.2010 04:16

Russian web-magazine OpenSpace.ru is looking for a new owner. It is possible, that Alexander Vinokurov, ex-CEO of “KIT Finance” and the owner of TV channel "Dozhd" (“The Rain”) and Slon.ru site, might be the one.

Slon.ru chief editor, Leonid Bershidsky, confirmed to Webplanet.ru that Vinokurov “was offered to buy an OpenSpace.ru share”. But he also said he doesn’t know about the present state of this negotiations.

OpenSpace didn’t manage to reply to our request by the time of publication. However, OpenSpace and “The Rain” staff messages in social networks indirectly indicate that purchase decision has been made.

The channel representatives hurray OpenSpacers, referring to the address of OpenSpace to its readers and authors, that was published on June 2. In that note, the editors inform that financial troubles of OpenSpace have successfully been fought through.

At the end of May, there was information on Runet, saying that OpenSpace publishing company (“ArtMedia Group”) ceased to exist, due to the arrest of its owner’s Valerii Nosov. It was said that OpenSpace itself would be closed or sold in the nearest future.

Back then, some staff of the portal informed mass media of the project to be already closed. But until now it has been some way or other updated. Among potential buyers, OpenSpace mass media name Roman Abramovich and “Snob” publishers.

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translator | 04.06.2010 20:12

Before the day of July 1, when Belorussian Internet segment (Bynet) bright future is going to become true (in accordance with decree #60), local Internet users decided to point out Alexander Lukashenko at the “weaknesses” of the decree. In order to collect signatures, there was published an open letter to the President, “Decree #60 – No!!!” For that purpose a special website was made.

In this letter they remind that on February 1 the President signed a decree, called “Measures on national Internet segment usage improvement”. Later, “the Republic of Belarus Council of Ministers adopted a number of regulations, calling to explain” the decree. Acts of state are of a great concern to the letter authors, for the acts obviously have 6 weak places.

“Variant readings” - the first and the main place. That means that some decree provisions are understood diversely in different departments. These variant readings result in the second weak place – capital outflow, what is considered to be inevitable.

The other weak places are: great labor and time consumption, that will be needed for email and subdomain registration; free Web-hosting destruction; severe requirements of user ID evaluation, which would cause WiFI Hotspots death; mobility, accessibility and speed privation of the Belorussian Internet.

“We, the Republic of Belarus citizens, consider the regulations, indicated in this letter, not only useless in disputable issues of the national Internet segment usage, but, to the contrary, disorienting status quo” – said in the letter.

So far, there are 1400 people who have signed the letter, asking the President to annul the decree and widely discuss the problem; engage specialists and public members, in order to find ultimate solutions.

Meanwhile, the Government continues to follow the earlier selected direction. In particular, it has become known that they are working out a draft law, prescribing punishment for violating decree #60. Ministry of communications pronounced, that the draft law is going to have not only administrative responsibility, but also criminal responsibility. The cases, a lawbreaker will be imprisoned for, are not specified.

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translator | 04.06.2010 15:44

Russian search engine Yandex has decided to get sustained with young blood, and announced that is looking for cooperation with perspective startups. The company is ready to provide them with its API services, let use social network interconnection graphs, and cooperate in every way.

There are many directions that are of Yandex interest: new business models on the Internet, new services, multimedia technologies, geolocation tools, analysis, personal (e-mail, signups etc.) and public information stream (news, blogs etc.) structuring. Besides that, the company is interested in methods of users’ behavior analysis, and also in web-service and application interface solutions.

Searching for new talents with interesting ideas, the company works close with a few startup communities: StartupPoint, Higher School of Economics business incubator, GreenfieldProject, Academy of National Economy business incubator. Other communities and projects, willing to join, may write to ventures@yandex-team.ru

In order to communicate with startuppers, Yandex is planning to have a specialized Doors Open Day – Yandex.Start. The first this kind of event will be held at StartupPoint.

It’s worth mentioning, that before today’s official announcement, Yandex quietly did the same. For instance, when Yandex was visiting Volgograd, Afishi.ru portal, informing users about cultural events (movies, theatres, parties etc.), tried to become friends with Russian #1 searching engine. It actually didn’t work out, told Sergo Narsia, Afishi.ru founder.

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translator | 03.06.2010 14:02

28 May 2010 Inter-Regional and National Politics Moscow Committee announced a tender for ethnopsychology and conflictology specialists. Forum and social network monitoring, in terms of interethnic conflicts, and also online consulting arrangement, will be among of responsibilities of those specialists, who will get the contract.

The contract initial price is 1.33 million rubles. Besides paper and organizational work, specialists will have to monitor for a year popular social networks. The most popular, such as “VKontakte” and “Odnoklassniki”, are of high priority. The main objectives are (terms of reference quotation):

- organization and implementation of counseling on the Internet, forums, interethnic relationship web-conferences.

- determination of ethnocultural public organizations impact on prevention of ethnoconflict situations in Moscow; […] inter-confessional tolerance level estimation, and interreligious contradictions rise potential; indication of how religious factors impact on different spheres of Moscovite lives.

In other words, they will have to read messages on forums and social networks, and also leave messages warning about liabilities for racism and discremination.

Far not everyone considers such actions to be useful and effective. For instance, Galina Kozhevnikova, Deputy Director of an “Owl” center, specializing in nationalism and xenophobia problem researches, is sure, that there is no use in this contract. “To understand what people write on the Internet, you don’t need to be a professional ethnopsychology or conflictology specialist. Any person, applying common sense, can comprehend what is what. I don’t understand why we need a professional ethnopsychologist here. Galina also notes that nationalistic and ultra-right groups on social networks are frequently closed, and it is hard for a stranger to get in there.

The first attempt to hold a tender failed, for there simply was no one willing to take part in. Second attempt results will be summed up on 5 July.

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translator | 02.06.2010 18:17

Syb Groeneveld, the Creative Commons ambassador in Russia since 2008, will be leaving our country after several failures to adapt licenses to our legislation.

Creative Commons – series of copyleft licenses, comprehensible in both legal and ordinary people languages. The main point of each license is about users’ voluntary refusal of their literary copyrights, letting, for instance, distribute or even commercially exploit their pieces of work.

Prior to Groeneveld’s coming to Russia, his activity on Creative Commons implementation had been more successful. For example, as early as in 2004 with the support of Dutch Department of Education, he managed to adapt the licenses to local laws. Yet our country has turned out to be a far more tough nut.

Despite of being told by some representatives of State Duma, that licensing doesn’t go together with the RF laws (it happened in 2008), Groeneveld didn’t give up right away. He called 4 round-table conferences. As a result there were some decisions worked out, which let adapt licenses with minor amendments to laws. Later in the same year of 2008, free licensing promotion stopped because of money shortage.

In the middle of May 2010, Creative Commons cancelled a big conference in Moscow where Lawrence Lessig (the founder of Creative Commons) was meant to take part in. And that was "the final nail in the coffin".

Nevertheless, when Syb Groeneveld was asked, whether Creative Commons licensing implementation in Russia is still possible, he replied: “ I think it is possible, and we yet need to work not only on free licenses, but also on laws. So far, it seems to me, that Civil Code needs amendments and revision to be done. The message of law is good, but its interpretation frequently suffers”.

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translator | 01.06.2010 00:29

Western IT-newspapers are shitting bricks – a “mysterious Russian” Yuri Milner, CEO and Founding Partner of DST, addressed a meeting at Techcrunch Disrupt conference. Yuri Milner has already impressed the world with his investments in Facebook, Zynga, ICQ and Groupon. He also promised to spend his next billion on buying a pack of leading projects, probably including Twitter.

In his speech at the conference Yuri drew a really fantastic picture of the future Facebook domination: “Facebook is next step of creating a huge human brain to embrace hundreds of million, possibly billions of people. Facilitate exchange of information never seen in history of civilization... it’s going to be one social graph that is unifying all civilization"

Yet, Yuri Miller revealed an amazing scientific discovery called “Zuckerberg’s law”, similar to Moore’s law: "Every 12-18 months the amount of information being shared between people is doubling".

I am not going to write here about the limits that have shoot down Moore’s Law, but if we are offered to play analogies to physics – here we go.

Physicists in Disguise Plot

Having come back to Russia from the US in the mid 90s, I found out that most of my ex-classmates from physical-mathematical school and University had gone into business. Someone began with vouchers, someone with kiosks; as long as there was a number of great physicists and mathematicians among them, they soon found most effective models. At that point science helped them a lot.

For instance, what is a nuclear bomb explosion about? First of all, it is an exothermic nuclear reaction, in other words a nuclear atom transformation which comes along with great release of energy. Secondly, it is an intense chain reaction that involves other atoms to fission.

And what is a financial pyramid? - The same thing. Money is "energy" that has to be taken away from an "atom" - a human being; and preferably from many of them. To accomplish it, we need to start a chain reaction where everyone who gets “fissioned” automatically drags other candidates in the process. Here I am saying “hi” to those who established MMM (the most famous Ponzi scheme fraud in Russia's 90s).

It were nuclear physicists who, being bored without money after the end of Cold War, made “Uranium fuel” for the first nuclear internet-explosion. Before that the Internet had been different. It had naturally developed with mail lists, news groups and conferences. And only in 1991 in CERN, the main European Organization for Nuclear Research, the guy named Timothy Berners-Lee created an infernal machine called WWW (reminds of MMM, doesn’t it?). Links to and from everywhere and everything, crazy cohesion. Later Stanislaw Lem called it a “The Megabit Bomb”.

Not only old man Lee was in it. It took a couple of more physicists to truly develop a new weapon against humankind.

You surely know about the “Long Tail Theory”. It says that earlier only giant corporations could use media influence. And now Google context advertisement lets even a granny with 20$ reach her consumer. Chris Anderson, Senior Editor of Wired magazine, became the main popularizer of this theory. In the past Chris Anderson used to be a physicist in a Los-Alamos National laboratory (the place where Manhattan Project was being brought into life, in other words where first nuclear bombs were made).

As a matter of practice, the “Long Tail Theory” turns out to be the “Dirty Tail Theory” – just another pyramid, letting one giant to rob all the grannies even more than several corporations did (with clickbots, "auto match" and some other web-trafficing tricks that the poor grannies from Long Tail have no idea about).

The next wonderful concept of a boisterous physicist Chris Anderson is "Freeconomics" which turned into common stealing. Praising the future of free products and services, Anderson simply stole texts from Wikipedia and began selling the other's free work under the guise of his book called “Free”. Being an idol of an IT-generation, he personally showed how it is easy to become rich from the User Generated Content pyramid: they give it for free, you sell in for money.

Finally, let's come back to our, so to say, shoed-over-again colleagues. Yuri Milner, graduated from Moscow State University physics department, has a degree in theoretical physics, he conducted research at the Institute of physics in the Russian Academy of Sciences, then quote as saying “is out of conceit with myself as a physicist”. Come on, why being that modest? “Menatep” CEO, an author of the first Russian open tender offer for a public company in post Soviet times – that’s the real physics of a fission chain reaction.

On the Internet, Yuri Milner is known as a buyer of projects based on the latest “nuclear model” version. Timothy Berners-Lee and Chris Anderson have taught how to fission some content (as profitable "energy") from people; Milner deals with so-called "social" services where people give in their personal data (as a new type of profitable "energy") and involve friends to do the same (chain reaction). For the last two years the biggest amount of spam I have received, was from Facebook. And it’s impossible to get rid of it with common filters, because it works as “personal invitations”.

Chernobyl Ghosts

At the beginning of 2008 crises, when Americans started to cry about a “nuclear winter” waiting for their startups, we at Webplanet.ru made a forecast - Russian Oligarchs would get down to buying overblown western Internet projects. By the way, what a good expression they Americans found - “nuclear winter” - for it precisely describes the crises blow-up mechanism on financial markets; as it has been aforementioned, atomic bombs and financial pyramids work the same way. However, two years later, as if nothing had happened, these Yankees praise a new Internet bomb with the same mechanism (Last year Facebook went down on Hiroshima Day. Just another nuclear coincidence, huh?)

Yet I think this social nets euphoria will pass off soon. It is possible that “nuclear” analogies won’t be needed. DST Fund staff mainly consists of Goldman Sachs analysts, and this financial institution has already become the center of several scandals because of its “progressive” ways of earnings. Don’t know whether they promised to make a “global financial brain of the entire civilization”, but lately there have been some clear signs of problems with this brain. To be brief, it doesn’t have the best reputation.

As for the DST social networks themselves, a knock-down might happen pretty soon, too. Russian forums are full of complaints about viruses blackmailing the users of “Vkontakte” (a Russian Facebook clone invested by DST, too).

As for Facebook, it has been overwhelmed with so many things lately, such as legal claims about unfair games, new viruses and this story about user profiles that Mr Zuckerberg is to sell to advertisers. Facebook advertisement model itself is being described as a Ponzi scheme. For those who don’t know yet, 31 May is expected to be "Quit Facebook Day".

And one more thing, Yuri – stop sending me your spam under the veil of “Facebook invitations”. In my opinion, it’s a shameful technique, both for the "whole civilization super-brain" and for a graduate of a decent physics department.

Read more in Russian
translator | 07.08.2009 04:26

It was yesterday, August 6th, about 17:30 in Moscow, when we saw Twitter, Livejournal and Facebook went down. So we run a story about it, here on Webplanet.ru. In our report, we suggested it could be a DDoS-attack to commemorate the day when the first American atomic bomb destroyed the Japanese sity of Hiroshima. August 6th, 1945.

Some hours later, Twitter and Facebook confirmed they were DDoS'ed. So the newspapers started to ask security experts what's the reason for these attacks. To our big surprise, no Western security expert knew about Hiroshima!

Lets see: The Guardian talks to Sophos and Symantec. "This seems like far too much to be a coincidence," said Graham Cluley, a senior consultant at IT security firm Sophos.

John Harrison of Symantec is also very "informative": "We're very surprised to see these types of attacks coming. Usually the people behind it want to use it for financial gain, not simply to take services away... It can be as simple as retribution against other hackers. It seems trivial and backwards, but it could be something as simple as that"

Then, PC World quotes Randy Abrams from ESET (wow, he's Director of Technical Education!). Again, the antivirus guy doesn't see the picture:

"Perhaps the bad guys are upset that Twitter has recently started filtering URLs in order to cut back on the amount of malware the user’s experience".

The Wired also tells fortunes by coffee grounds, with some help from Trend Micro and ThreatStop:

This kind of stuff happens every day... there’s nothing to indicate there’s anything particularly interesting about the attack from a technical perspective... [blah-blah-blah]... It’s not clear what the motivation is for the attack. One of the most famous, and overblown DDoS attacks was launched against Estonia’s media and governemnt by Russian nationalist hackers and wannabes".

Oh, Russians again? No, wait! This is developed by New York Times to the wildest extreme. They found someone called Bill Woodcock, "a research director of the Packet Clearing House, a nonprofit technical organization that tracks Internet traffic". That clever Bill said the attack "was an extension of the conflict between Russia and Georgia".

"It was not clear who initiated the attack, he said, but likely “one side put up propaganda, the other side figured this out and is attacking them". He said he found evidence that the attacks had originated from the Abkhazia region”, says the paper.

Sounds like Tarantino, huh? One side, the other side... And then, just a year later... both sides suddenly go and kill Twitter on the other side of the Earth! Attacks originated from the Abkhazia? Ok, let's call it Russia for this time! Americans never look at the map anyway.

Hopefully, the reader's comment from Mashable.com makes this theory better: lets talk Iran 'cos everybody talks Iran nowadays. Or Chavez from Venezuela. Big hacker, too.

Sorry but we have to repeat this for you, brain-washed and memory-editted Americans: August 6th is The Day You Bombed Hiroshima. The second bomb destroyed Nagasaki three days later, on August 9th.

Read more in Russian
translator | 23.08.2008 00:14

For last two weeks, Western media including many respectfull newspapers was spreading hysteria about "Russian hackers" who attacked Georgian sites during the fight on the border between Georgia and South Ossetia. No, our Webplanet magazine is not going to tell you "Russia is always right". We just say this story is a perfect situation to tell the difference beetween professional journalism and propaganda dummies. It is true that IT topics are hard for a common journalist. Yet the job of journalist is not about being a passive carier for the media viruses. So next time you want to recall "that story about Kremlin cyber-attacks", please take into account these facts:

(1) The first DDoS-attacks on Georgian sites on 8th of August started more than 12 hours after the Russian military operation started. The botnets used for attacks previously had targeted porn and gambling sites. It's casting doubt on Georgia's claims it was orchestrated as part of Moscow's military offensive. This is recognized even by western press ("Analysis: Russia-Georgia cyberwar doubted" by UPI).

(2) On 8th of August, some Russian and Ossetian sites were DDoS-attacked as well. The biggest Russian news agency RIA Novosti (rian.ru) was down for two days, the problem started with their Georgian project newsgeorgia.ru. Ossetian news sites osinform.ru, cominf.org, tskhinval.ru went down, too. Most western news ignored this fact, or dropped just a couple words about it (Jose Nazario, security researcher for Arbor Networks, told CNET News that "he's seeing evidence that Georgia is apparently fighting back, attacking at least one Moscow-based newspaper site").

(3) The words "fighting back" are wrong - the attacks on both Russian and Georgian sites started the same time and stopped the same time. By the 12th of August (when the most papers cried about it) all the attacked sites mentioned were up and running OK, both Georgian and Russian ones. But all these sites had different hostings, different security. This fact leads us to the conclusion that both waves of DDoS-attacks were orchestrated by the same "third party" as a provocation to make media buzz and create more tensions between Russian and Georgian folks. Later our sources among security experts proved this guess: most of the attacks on Russian and Georgian sites on 8-12 August were started from Ukraine which is now used by many badboys as an "Internet off-shore" for malware.

(4) Neither Russian nor Georgian military get its own serious "cyber-troops" nowadays. But this kind of special units for cyber war are well developed in the USA. Before this conflict, the Georgian army was trained by US military experts in Iraq.

The Wired magazine published a good story about it ("Did the U.S. Prep Georgia for War with Russia?"). And its readers recalled the scenario (or should we say "a training guide"?) for this case - Tom Clancy's "Ghost Recon" videogame. The game is about a squad of U.S. Special Forces, with special missions in foreign countries. The game starts in Georgia:

"During the first few missions of the game, the Ghosts battle South Ossetian rebels... The Ghosts fight in the forests, on farms, and in villages while assisting their NATO allies in fighting the enemy".

Now, the game gets real. Could the US Ghosts bring the same "help" to the cyberworld by assisting NATO-bended ukrainian hackers? Ask Tom Clancy if you don't see the whole picture by yourself.

Read more in Russian
translator | 14.04.2008 18:33

Dear Mr. Opzoomer,

I would like to bring to your attention the issue of the web site domains Mama.ru and Doktor.ru outlined below. Since June, 2000 I have been employed as a Director at ZAO DOKTOR.RU, a Rambler Holding company. On December, 2007 I was notified of my employment termination, effective January, 2008. As a director of the company, I have been responsible for managing web site properties “MAMA.RU” and “DOKTOR.RU”.

Prior to my employment by ZAO DOKTOR.RU, I owned these web site properties as well as web site domain names. I transferred ownership of domain names “MAMA.RU” and “DOKTOR.RU” to Rambler. As I will no longer be employed by Rambler, I am now seeking transfer of domain ownership of these sites back to me. So far Rambler has not responded my requests and hence I’m seeking your help and guidance.

On June 1998 I became the owner of two web site domains, “mama.ru” and “doktor.ru”, registered for me by Redcom, a services company that provided technical support for these web sites. In May, 2000 I was approached by representatives of Russian Funds and Orion Capital Advisors, two investment firms that provided first round of funding for Rambler, with a proposal to invest into mutual development of both sites.

As part of the agreement, I was offered employment as well as assured that I will get a share in the about-to-be-opened joint venture that will deal with my websites (offshore company, that was opened eventually without my participation in it), in exchange of transfer of domain ownership rights to Rambler. Note that only ownership of domains “MAMA.RU” and “DOKTOR.RU”, and not the content of these domains, was transferred to Rambler. In addition, the investment firms arranged for funding to be provided by an Internet incubator company NetValue.

Further owners of Rambler disregarded the issue of domain transfer, which I addressed numerous times; nevertheless, they retained me as a director of ZAO DOKTOR.RU.

The challenge of this issue is that the agreement for domain ownership was not properly documented. I currently cannot supply any records of this agreement, that stipulate details of the agreement, or outlines conditions of domain name transfers. The only document that exists is a memorandum of intentions between the first wave of Rambler investors and me.

As there is not a legally binding document outlining domain ownership transfer details, I am having difficulty gaining back ownership of these domain names. I would like to resolve this issue without litigation. Nevertheless, if I don’t get a clear response and Rambler continues using my content on the sites, you will leave me with no other option than to seek legal action.

The history of Mama.ru and Doktor.ru creation can be found in the news archives:



The first versions of these sites, with my copyright, can be found in web.archive.org:



I would like an opportunity to discuss my situation in more detail, and provide you with documents and evidence in support of my case.

Vladimir Voloshin

Read more in Russian
translator | 15.02.2008 20:11

The protection system which prevents the multiple automatic registration of fraudulent accounts at GMail is cracked following the same breakage in Yahoo! and Microsoft Live webmail services. The example of spambot work is published by Russian security blog urs-molotoff.blogspot.com. The bot goes wild with a trojan. After some user's computer is infected, the bot grabs GMail captcha and sends it to a special server where the captcha is recognized and the result is send back to the bot, so it can register a new Gmail account and start spamming.

The address of the spam server is hidden in this example but the authors of the security blog told Webplanet that the bot "is connected to Russian-speaking site".

In January, some group of "Russian researchers" showed how to break Yahoo! captcha with the recognition rate about 35%. A couple of weeks later Windows Live captcha was cracked, too. These protection systems from Microsoft, Yahoo and Google where considered pretty safe so anti-spammers didn't list these mail services in their "black lists". Now they got a problem: "In the past week or so, Websense antispam filters have gone from blocking fewer than 100 Windows Live accounts per day to a number that's in the thousands".

Some people say more spam comes now from GMail, too. We are looking forward to see more sophisticated Turing tests on the Web. Or it's about time to use Philip Dick's tests for androids? Google Androids, in this case.

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