Sanctions Screening Tool (Crypto), Tinder Info-Smuggling, Viasat Satellite Hack, More: Ukraine Update, Afternoon, March 24, 2022


Business Wire: TRM’s Free Sanctions Screening Tool Goes Live (PRESS RELEASE). “TRM Labs, the blockchain intelligence company, now offers a free, API-based screening tool to members of the crypto ecosystem who wish to be alerted when sanctioned crypto addresses are engaging with their platforms, including addresses linked to newly sanctioned Russian designated individuals and entities. Users of the free tool will benefit from TRM’s unique cross-chain coverage, which spans 25 blockchains and enables users to be notified when a sanctioned address matches a corresponding address on multiple blockchains.”


NiemanLab: Putin’s control over Ukraine war news is being challenged by online news and risk-taking journalists. “The Russian media is a powerful propaganda machine. Russian media outlets have been closely controlled by the government over the past several decades, and since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, many journalists and editors have been turned into mere mouthpieces for the government line. But a few recent examples of journalistic defiance show that the Kremlin can’t guarantee full control over Russian journalists during the war. At the same time, Russians’ access to online information about the war constantly challenges the Kremlin’s lies about the invasion.”

ANI: UK to provide $5.4 million to tackle ‘disinformation’ in Russia, Ukraine. “The UK government will allocate more than 4 million pounds sterling (USD 5.4 million) to the BBC World Service for the information war against Russia, the UK Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.”

Bloomberg: Zelenskiy’s Virtual World Tour Proves a New Weapon in Russia War. “As a professional comedian until three years ago, Volodymyr Zelenskiy knows to tailor his material for different audiences. As president of a nation at war, he’s deployed that skill to great effect on a virtual world tour, inspiring and shaming in equal measure. Beamed onto giant screens in the National Diet of Japan and, later, France’s National Assembly on Wednesday, Zelenskiy invited legislators to connect with Ukraine’s plight by playing to their own history and self-image, just as he has now done at least ten times since Russia invaded Ukraine exactly a month ago.”


Independent: The young Ukranian women documenting their experiences of war on TikTok. “While the war has been the catalyst for some to chronicle their experiences on the social media platform, others have pivoted from crypto recommendations and wellness content, to the emotional turbulence of life as a refugee. The home-made footage offers a personal insight into the challenges faced by those fleeing, including hours spent waiting for transport, answering questions about their lives in Ukraine, and their transition to life in a new country.”

Washington Post: Instead of consumer software, Ukraine’s tech workers build apps of war. “In peacetime, the programmers of Ukraine’s tech scene crafted the consumer software that powered homegrown start-ups and some of Silicon Valley’s biggest names. Now, they build apps of war — an unprecedented digital infrastructure designed for both front-line combat and the realities of life under siege. There are glossy online tools for rallying anti-Kremlin protests and documenting war crimes. There are apps for coordinating supply deliveries, finding evacuation routes and contributing to cyberattacks against Russian military websites.”

Mother Jones: How Wellness Influencers Became Cheerleaders for Putin’s War. “The path of disinformation follows a clear pattern. It starts in the shadows of the internet, where crusaders share some conspiracy with their die-hard followers. But these communities are not locked rooms—rather, people with overlapping interests flow in and out, grabbing pieces of disinformation that align with their own interests and then spreading it to their followers, who in turn do the same. In the last few weeks, I’ve watched this happen in real time, as natural-living Instagram accounts turn wild theories about US-supported biolabs in Ukraine into pastel-hued memes.”

The Drum: Slovakian creatives ‘hack’ Tinder to get Ukraine war news to Russians. “As the Kremlin tightens its control on the information Russians can access online, a group of Slovakian creatives are trying to get news past the wall of censorship via dating app Tinder. The scheme has been called ‘Special Love Operation’ and uses photographs and messages to help spread genuine news about the war in Ukraine in the hope of reaching the Russian people.”


Techdirt: Avoidable Viasat Satellite Hack Causes Headaches Across Europe And Ukraine. “For literally more than a decade researchers have been warning that global satellite telecommunications networks were vulnerable to all manner of attacks…. Fast forward to 2022 and a major hack of Viasat’s satellite systems has caused, you guessed it, massive problems for an estimated 27,000 users. The attack on Viasat’s KA-SAT satellite system, suspected to be the work of the Russian government, appears to have been intended to disrupt Ukraine communications in the lead up to war, but managed to impact a very large chunk of Europe.”


InformationWeek: Supply Chain Strategies: 3D Printing Our Way Out of Russia’s War. “Among mounting supply chain obstacles stemming from Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine are financial sanctions, closed air spaces, trapped shipments, and wartime aggressions. Both sides in this conflict aim to disrupt the other side’s logistics. Earlier supply chain management and company resiliency plans are rendered impotent in the face of so many risks. They’re simply no match for willful destruction and the intense reverberations of war. In short, this situation calls for a massive rethink on the structure of supply chains and their ecosystems rather than a tweaking of inventory and supply management technologies.”

Ars Technica: Legally, Russia can’t just take its Space Station and go home. “The fate of the International Space Station hangs in the balance as tensions between Russia and the West escalate following the country’s invasion of Ukraine. However, given that the conflict is now nearly a month old and the old laboratory is still flying high, it appears that the partnership among Russia, the United States, and 13 other nations will continue to hold. This article will consider the future of the partnership from three different dimensions: technical, legal, and political.”

ScienceNews: Social media crackdowns during the war in Ukraine make the internet less global. “The Ukraine war is shining a spotlight on social media’s role as a political tool, says [Joan] Donovan, whose Technology and Social Change Project team has been following the spread of disinformation in the conflict. ‘This is a huge moment in internet history where we’re starting to see the power of these tech companies play out against the power of the state.’ And that, she says, ‘is actually going to change the internet forever.'”

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