Cambridge University Ukrainian Society, Weather Data Access, Spanish Disinformation, More: Saturday Ukraine Update, March 26, 2022


Cambridge Independent: Cambridge group opens website to link Ukrainians and UK homeowners. “The website… has been developed by Cambridge University Ukrainian Society (CUUS) to enable those fleeing the war to get in contact with prospective sponsors in Cambridge or indeed elsewhere in the UK.”


Atlantic Council: Russian War Report: Russia produces “evidence” claiming Ukraine will attack Crimea. “On March 24, the pro-Kremlin Telegram channel Оперативные сводки (‘Operative news’) published photos of medals and certificates that it alleged were going to be used to reward Ukrainian troops ‘for the capture of Crimea.’ … Russian media amplified this message, claiming that the medals were evidence that Ukraine, with the help of NATO, was planning to attack Crimea. This appears to be the latest in a string of Russian false-flag allegations, due to the alleged evidence’s incorrect use of official Ukrainian terminology.”

CNET: These Companies Have Left Russia: The List Across Tech, Entertainment, Finance. “As the Russia’s war on Ukraine continues, a growing number of companies have said they are stopping sales of products and services in Russia. This will make items, including video games, iPhones and the PS5, harder to get in Russia…. Here’s a look at tech, entertainment and finance companies that have stopped sales or other services in Russia.”

BBC: Spotify stops streaming in Russia over safety concerns. “Spotify is pulling out of Russia citing a new law that threatens jail for spreading ‘fake news’ about the country’s armed forces. The music streaming company said safety concerns about staff and ‘possibly even our listeners’ had pushed it to fully suspend its free service.”


InfoSecurity Magazine: West Blocks Russia’s Access to Weather Data. “Western weather-related agencies are curbing Russia’s access to meteorological data over fears that the country may use such information to attack Ukraine with biological or chemical weapons. Data that agencies want kept secret from Russia include near-instantaneous measurements of wind speed and direction, sunlight and precipitation.”

USA Today: Ukraine’s volunteer online army: Meet the ‘cyber elves’ fighting Russian trolls on Facebook. “When Henrikas Savickis is not performing at the National Theater or strumming a guitar with his drama students, this 51-year-old actor, singer and teacher from the Lithuanian city of Kaunas has an unusual side hustle. He’s a keyboard warrior on the frontlines of the Russian offensive in Ukraine. For four to five hours a day since the invasion began, Savickis fires up his laptop to shoot down pro-Kremlin conspiracy theories and falsehoods spread by Russian operatives who camouflage their activities by posing as Lithuanian citizens.”


BBC: Russia considers accepting Bitcoin for oil and gas. “Russia is considering accepting Bitcoin as payment for its oil and gas exports, according to a high-ranking lawmaker. Pavel Zavalny says ‘friendly’ countries could be allowed to pay in the crypto-currency or in their local currencies.”

Mashable: Crypto scammers are filling inboxes with fake ‘donate to Ukraine’ emails. “Scammers are continuing to weaponize Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine in order to propel their immoral money-making schemes. There have been a slew of scams ranging from fake charity websites hosted on freshly registered domain names to phishing campaigns looking to steal sensitive information from potential donors to Ukraine. Now, new research from email security firm Cyren looks into just how cryptocurrency fraudsters are utilizing email spam for their latest Ukraine-related fraud.”

Route Fifty: Ukraine War Puts US Cities, States on Cyber Alert. “Even before Biden’s warning, state and local governments were busy shoring up their cybersecurity in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the elevated threat of cyberattacks targeting the United States.”


Centre for International Governance Innovation: How to Explain the Failure of Russia’s Information Operations in Ukraine?. “After the shock of the 2016 presidential election in the United States, it became commonplace to assume that Russia had developed a dominant information warfare machine as a part of its hybrid warfare strategies. These had helped it achieve lightning-fast victories in Georgia and Eastern Ukraine and supported its often-covert operations in Syria. (Insert a minor mea culpa here.) And yet, despite the devastating destruction of its invasion in Ukraine, there appears to be a genuine consensus that Russia’s much vaunted information operations capability has greatly underperformed. Why is this the case?”

Washington Post: Opinion: Big Tech needs to pull the plug on Russia’s biggest propaganda campaign. “The Z campaign started in the days after the invasion. It has now reached tens of millions of people across social media platforms. It is the rallying symbol of the Russian war machine and an effective weapon in the information war. Strikingly, the QAnon conspiracy has been barred from promotion on YouTube, Facebook, TikTok and Twitter. But as of now, Z continues to grow.”

Boston Globe: Social media platforms must address Russia’s Spanish-language misinformation. “As the Russian invasion unfolded in Ukraine, Facebook and TikTok banned Russian state media in Europe, while YouTube blocked them globally as it became evident that Kremlin-controlled outlets were spreading propaganda. But according to experts, Spanish-language misinformation and conspiracy theories have a longer shelf life than their English counterparts on social media because, by and large, the platforms are not dedicating enough resources and time to fight them. It’s way overdue: Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, and Twitter better catch up and take the threat of Spanish-language misinformation seriously.”

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