Tag Archives: Russian

Exclusive: Russian high tech project flounders after U.S. sanctions
October 17, 2018 12:00 pm|Comments (0)

MOSCOW (Reuters) – U.S. sanctions targeting Russia’s nascent high tech industry have caused a Russian microchip company significant financial woes and delayed the launch of an initiative meant to produce substitutes for Western products, the firm’s owner said.

FILE PHOTO: Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visits a plant of Russian microchip company Angstrem-T in Zelenograd near Moscow, Russia August 3, 2016. Sputnik/Dmitry Astakhov/Pool via REUTERS

President Vladimir Putin has stressed the need to develop Russia’s domestic tech industry to make it less dependent on Western equipment. But Moscow’s efforts to manufacture Russian microchips and other high tech products have been thwarted by U.S. sanctions against a string of Russian tech companies.

Angstrem-T, which makes semi-conductors, has accumulated significant debts and is set to be taken over by state development bank VEB after failing to reimburse an 815-million-euro ($ 944.75 million) loan dating back to 2008, said Leonid Reiman, chairman of the company’s board of directors.

Reiman, Russia’s former minister of communications and information technologies, said the company’s inability to reimburse its debt was in part tied to U.S. restrictions on the import of dual-use technologies and its addition to U.S. Treasury sanctions in 2016.

The U.S. moves were prompted by Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014 and its support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. It has imposed further sanctions against Russia since 2016 over other issues.

Prior to the sanctions Angstrem-T purchased most of its equipment from U.S. multinational firm Advanced Micro Devices and bought a license from IBM to produce chips.

The company is heavily reliant on U.S. products, but the sanctions now bar it from doing business with U.S. firms.

“Although we initially received the (U.S.) State Department’s consent for this project and the delivery of the technology here, the sanctions caused the deadlines for its completion to be drawn out,” Reiman told Reuters.

“The factory is working, the products are being produced, but the question of procurement remains.”

FILE PHOTO: Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visits a plant of Russian microchip company Angstrem-T in Zelenograd near Moscow, Russia August 3, 2016. Sputnik/Dmitry Astakhov/Pool via REUTERS

VEB, which Reiman said could become the majority owner of Angstrem-T by the end of the year, declined to comment.

IMPORT SUBSTITUTION

When Angstrem-T began producing its first chips in 2016 after nearly a decade of false starts and delays, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev depicted the initiative as a way Russia could surmount already existing U.S. sanctions.

“It’s good that we are starting to produce these ourselves,” Medvedev said at the factory’s opening, a month before Angstrem-T itself was targeted by the U.S. sanctions. “It’s a question of import substitution.”

Reiman would not disclose the magnitude of Angstrem-T’s debt. According to a Russian database that aggregates company data, the firm had 87.4 billion roubles ($ 1.34 billion) in debt last year. During the same period it recorded revenues of 101 million roubles.

A source in the field of microelectronics in Russia said the sanctions and repeated delays in the project had caused Angstrem-T’s products to become outdated.

The market for the 90 and 130-nanometre microchips it produces has significantly shrunk in recent years, according to the source.

A draft Russian government roadmap for the development of the microchip industry seen by Reuters says that once VEB’s takeover is complete, Angstrem-T should shift its production to the more modern 28-nanometre chips.

Such chips are used in products made by companies like Apple, Samsung and Sony.

The ministry has for several years lobbied for Russia to build a modern microchip plant, but to no avail.

Reporting by Maria Kolomychenko; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Gareth Jones

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IKEA teams up with Russian Post to deliver online orders
October 11, 2018 12:00 pm|Comments (0)

MOSCOW (Reuters) – IKEA Group on Thursday signed a delivery cooperation agreement with Russian Post in a bid to reach more customers as it develops its local online business.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of IKEA is seen above a store in Voesendorf, Austria, April 24, 2017. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader/File Photo

In a joint statement, the two companies said they were currently negotiating the terms of the agreement, which is expected to start in 2019.

“The cooperation with Russian Post is an important step towards creating an efficient system of multi-channel sales,” said Pontus Erntell, the furniture retailer’s Russia country manager.

“The large network that the federal (postal) operator has will allow all residents of Russia to have access to our offering,” he added.

IKEA, known for its flat-packed self-assembly furniture, owns 14 hypermarkets in 11 Russian cities. In the past year, it has focused on bringing customers online and that business now accounts for 8 percent of its Russian turnover.

Erntell earlier said that IKEA was looking to sign strategic partnerships with Russian companies to boost its local online business.

State-run Russian Post has 42,000 branches across Russia.

Reporting by Maria Kolomychenko; Writing by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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Cyber researchers, Ukraine warn of possible Russian attack
May 23, 2018 6:05 pm|Comments (0)

TORONTO/KIEV (Reuters) – Hackers have infected at least 500,000 routers and storage devices in dozens of countries, some of the world’s biggest cyber security firms warned on Wednesday, in a campaign that Ukraine said was preparation for a future Russian cyber attack.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said it was investigating the malware, which targets devices from Linksys, MikroTik, Netgear Inc (NTGR.O), TP-Link and QNAP, advising users to install security updates.

Ukraine’s SBU state security service said the activity showed Russia was readying a large-scale cyber attack ahead of the Champions League soccer final, due to be held in Kiev on Saturday.

“Security Service experts believe the infection of hardware on the territory of Ukraine is preparation for another act of cyber-aggression by the Russian Federation aimed at destabilising the situation during the Champions League final,” it said in a statement.

Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O), which has been investigating the threat for several months, has high confidence that the Russian government is behind the campaign, according to Cisco researcher Craig Williams. He cited the overlap of hacking code with malware used in previous cyber attacks that the U.S. government have attributed to Moscow.

Cisco, which uncovered the campaign several months ago, alerted authorities in Ukraine and the United States before going public with its findings about the malware it dubbed VPNFilter.

It also shared technical details with rivals who sell security software, hardware and services so they could issue alerts to their customers and protect against the threat.

Cisco described the mechanisms that the malware uses to hide communications with hackers and a module that targets industrial networks like ones that operate electric grids, said Michael Daniel, chief executive officer of Cyber Threat Alliance, a nonprofit group.

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“We should be taking this pretty seriously,” said Daniel, whose group’s 17 members include Cisco, Check Point Software Technologies Ltd (CHKP.O), Palo Alto Networks Inc (PANW.N) and Symantec Corp (SYMC.O).

Cyber security firms, governments and corporate security teams closely monitor events in Ukraine, where some of the world’s most costly and destructive cyber attacks have been launched.

They include the first documented cases where hacks have caused power outages and the June 2017 NotPetya cyber attack that quickly spread around the world, causing network outages that lasted weeks at some companies. Victims included Beiersdorf AG (BEIG.DE), FedEx Corp (FDX.N), Merck & Co Inc (MRK.N), Mondelez International Inc (MDLZ.O) and Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc (RB.L).

Cisco said it does not know what the hackers have planned. The malware could be used for espionage, to interfere with internet communications or launch a destructive attack like NotPetya, according to Williams.

The Kremlin did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Russia has denied assertions by nations including Ukraine and Western cyber-security firms that it is behind a massive global hacking program that has included attempts to harm Ukraine’s economy and interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

VPNFilter has infected devices in at least 54 countries, but by far the largest number is in Ukraine, according to Cisco.

Netgear representative Nathan Papadopulos said the company was looking into the matter. He advised customers to make sure their routers are patched with the latest version of its firmware, disable remote management and make sure they have changed default passwords shipped with the device.

A Linksys spokeswoman had no immediate comment. MikroTik, TP-Link and QNAP could not be reached.

Reporting by Jim Finkle in Toron to and Pavel Polityuk in Live; Writing by Jim Finkle and Jack Stubbs; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Jeffrey Benkoe

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Twitter may notify users exposed to Russian propaganda during 2016 election
January 17, 2018 6:02 pm|Comments (0)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Twitter may notify users whether they were exposed to content generated by a suspected Russian propaganda service, a company executive told U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday.

The social media company is “working to identify and inform individually” its users who saw tweets during the 2016 U.S. presidential election produced by accounts tied to the Kremlin-linked Internet Research Army, Carlos Monje, Twitter’s director of public policy, told the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

A Twitter spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment about plans to notify its users.

Facebook Inc in December created a portal where its users could learn whether they interacted with accounts created by the Internet Research Agency.

Both companies and Alphabet’s YouTube appeared before the Senate committee on Wednesday to answer lawmaker questions about how their efforts to combat the use of their platforms by violent extremists, such as the Islamic State.

But the hearing often turned its focus to questions of Russian propaganda, a vexing issue for internet firms who spent most of the past year responding to a backlash that they did too little to deter Russians from using their services to anonymously spread divisive messages among Americans in the run-up to the 2016 U.S. elections.

U.S. intelligence agencies concluded Russia sought to interfere in the election through a variety of cyber-enabled means to sow political discord and help President Donald Trump win. Russia has repeatedly denied the allegations.

Reporting by Dustin Volz; Editing by Nick Zieminski

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Even If Dana Rohrabacher Was a Russian Asset, Would He Know?
August 22, 2017 1:00 pm|Comments (0)

Even If Dana Rohrabacher Was a Russian Asset, Would He Know?

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher is totally onto the Russian spies trying to recruit him. But knowing he’s a target doesn’t necessarily protect him from their influence. The post Even If Dana Rohrabacher Was a Russian Asset, Would He Know? appeared first on WIRED.
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Even If Dana Rohrabacher Was a Russian Asset, Would He Know?
August 21, 2017 11:45 pm|Comments (0)

Even If Dana Rohrabacher Was a Russian Asset, Would He Know?

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher is totally onto the Russian spies trying to recruit him. But knowing he’s a target doesn’t necessarily protect him from their influence. The post Even If Dana Rohrabacher Was a Russian Asset, Would He Know? appeared first on WIRED.
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Even If Dana Rohrabacher Was a Russian Asset, Would He Know?
August 20, 2017 8:00 am|Comments (0)

Even If Dana Rohrabacher Was a Russian Asset, Would He Know?

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher is totally onto the Russian spies trying to recruit him. But knowing he’s a target doesn’t necessarily protect him from their influence. The post Even If Dana Rohrabacher Was a Russian Asset, Would He Know? appeared first on WIRED.
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Even If Dana Rohrabacher Was a Russian Asset, Would He Know?
August 17, 2017 1:50 pm|Comments (0)

Even If Dana Rohrabacher Was a Russian Asset, Would He Know?

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher is totally onto the Russian spies trying to recruit him. But knowing he’s a target doesn’t necessarily protect him from their influence. The post Even If Dana Rohrabacher Was a Russian Asset, Would He Know? appeared first on WIRED.
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Even If Dana Rohrabacher Was a Russian Asset, Would He Know?
August 14, 2017 7:40 pm|Comments (0)

Even If Dana Rohrabacher Was a Russian Asset, Would He Know?

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher is totally onto the Russian spies trying to recruit him. But knowing he’s a target doesn’t necessarily protect him from their influence. The post Even If Dana Rohrabacher Was a Russian Asset, Would He Know? appeared first on WIRED.
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Even If Dana Rohrabacher Was a Russian Asset, Would He Know?
May 20, 2017 5:40 am|Comments (0)

Even If Dana Rohrabacher Was a Russian Asset, Would He Know?

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher is totally onto the Russian spies trying to recruit him. But knowing he’s a target doesn’t necessarily protect him from their influence. The post Even If Dana Rohrabacher Was a Russian Asset, Would He Know? appeared first on WIRED.
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