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Malware Linked To Government of Kazakhstan Targets Journalists, Political Activists and Lawyers, Says Report (eff.org) 23

An anonymous reader quotes a report from EFF: Journalists and political activists critical of Kazakhstan's authoritarian government, along with their family members, lawyers, and associates, have been targets of an online phishing and malware campaign believed to be carried out on behalf of the government of Kazakhstan, according to a new report by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Malware was sent to Irina Petrushova and Alexander Petrushov, publishers of the independent newspaper Respublika, which was forced by the government of Kazakhstan to stop printing after years of exposing corruption but has continued to operate online. Also targeted are family members and attorneys of Mukhtar Ablyazov, co-founder and leader of opposition party Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan, as well as other prominent dissidents. The campaign -- which EFF has called "Operation Manul," after endangered wild cats found in the grasslands of Kazakhstan -- involved sending victims spearphishing emails that tried to trick them into opening documents which would covertly install surveillance software capable of recording keystrokes, recording through the webcam, and more. Some of the software used in the campaign is commercially available to anyone and sells for as little as $40 online.
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Malware Linked To Government of Kazakhstan Targets Journalists, Political Activists and Lawyers, Says Report

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Second best Potassium in the world!!!

  • Boratware
  • This story got me thinking, we hardly ever hear anything about that country. The same as all of western Europe, it's the 8th largest country in the world, geographically, and the largest economy in central Asia. Yet it's mostly invisible in world affairs, it seems. That's interesting.

    • I missed a word in my post. That should be "its about the same SIZE as all of western Europe" (geographically speaking).

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Marquis231 ( 3115633 )

      It's true, Kazakhstan is all too often overlooked in world affairs but they are an up 'n comer in terms of resources and energy. I only hope they won't fall prey to the 'resource curse' like so many other developing nations with abundant natural resources. The people of Kazakhstan also proudly fly what is IMO the coolest national flag.

      I am travelling to Astana next year for the World Expo 2017 (aka World's Fair), I think maybe more people will sit up and pay attention to Kazakhstan when that happens. The th

    • That's because they have a ver low population density, living in an authoritarian government. With only 18 million people there, that's around 6/km. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
  • by Captain Scurvy ( 818996 ) on Friday August 05, 2016 @10:02AM (#52650473)

    This nation gets almost no media coverage despite its profound geopolitical significance. Kazakhstan is a former Soviet republic that is the 18th (as of 2014) largest producer of oil in the world. Western oil companies--primarily Chevron--operate the largest portions of their nationally-owned hydrocarbon assets with some presence from Rosneft that essentially takes a cut off the top. (The overwhelming majority of the technical expertise comes from Kazakh and Western employees.) However, Kazakhstan's leadership still maintains a very noticeable loyalty toward Moscow and the Duginesque "Eurasian Union" geopolitical vision. This makes it anyone's guess as to which way Kazakhstan will lean as tensions with the Former Soviet sphere of influence continue to mount with the West.

    Kazakhs themselves are nominally Muslim, but they are absolutely nothing like Middle Eastern Muslims. They are closer to a thuggish Russian subculture with some lip service given to Muslim and Persian cultural elements--sort of comparable to a third-generation Mexican in the U.S. that can't speak a word of Spanish but still maintains a few cultural ties to Mexico. Some of the most intelligent people I've ever met have been Kazakh; in engineering school, I competed with a Kazakh girl for perfect scores on physics and calculus exams. That being said, some of the most notorious cheaters in the program were also Kazakh; only a small number of them would legitimately learn the material.

    It's a pretty weird country that doesn't really seem to fit cleanly into any major bloc. They speak Russian with mostly neutral accents, but look like Asians, which alienates them from a Slavic identity; Russians call them "chjornozhopy." They are Muslim, but basically "only during Ramadan," and they tend to care less about their religion than most Turks. And they are far more Western than the Chinese or other East Asian nations. It'll be interesting to see how they develop.

  • Corrected title for accuracy .

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.