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NBC Story about Hacking at Sochi is 100% Fraudulent (erratasec.com)
497 points by julespitt on Feb 7, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 160 comments

The longer version of the report shows more details:


On the phone they went to a website and ignored warnings in order to download and execute a malicious APK. On the PC they followed a link in a scammy looking phishing email to download and open a malicious Office document. On the Mac they visited a website that had an ad suggesting that they needed an "antivirus program" so they downloaded and installed it.

So the devices were hacked not because Sochi is especially dangerous, but because of pure stupidity. Nothing can help you if you deliberately ignore warnings, and deliberately install Trojan horse malware. The exact same thing would have happened in the US.

Next they will jump on a frozen lake and die then report Sochi is dangerous because if you jump on a frozen lake it's risky

(Yes, I know there are no frozen lakes in Sochi, it's an example)

> (Yes, I know there are no frozen lakes in Sochi, it's an example)

I'm sure he can find a frozen lake in Moscow to jump on.

After all, the reporter was in Moscow -- not Sochi -- for the hacking story.

> So the devices were hacked... because of pure stupidity.

Well, more they were hacked because someone smart deliberately got them hacked. I don't actually know someone inept enough to achieve all three without help. It's actually quite hard to find malware these days if you use Google and the like to find sites as they are quite good at blocking them.

A bit offtopic but the recent "Russian anti-gay law" media coverage is as credible as this hacking story: http://www.blacklistednews.com/The_Olympics_of_Hate_in_a_Nat...

That analysis isn't entirely accurate either. For example:

> Since 1993 gay sex was made legal in Russia, in 12 US States gay sex is a crime.

The law is still on the books, but ever since Lawrence v. Texas[0], gay sex is legal in all 50 states (and all US territories). They're on the books simply because of inertia - there's no impetus to pass a new law repealing a law that's already been invalidated.

Others include:

> In Russia you cannot be fired from your job for being an LGBT individual, in the United States you can

This depends highly on the state. Some states even protect transgender individuals.

Also, comparing Russia's laws to the US's laws is inherently flawed. For example, I could mention that Iran conducts more sex reassignment operations than any other country in the entire world, except Thailand![1]

But before we go ahead and praise Iran for being progressive with regard to transgender rights, let's understand that they do this because they assume that homosexuality and being trans are the same thing, and the government pays for forced gender reassignment of gay people[2].

So it's very easy to make the US look bad in comparison to other countries, especially since the US is more federated than many other countries (ie, states have more leeway), and the US is larger (so it's easier to cherry-pick examples). But that doesn't mean the US is actually worse.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_v_texas

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transsexuality_in_Iran

[2] There's some subtlety to this (we could debate the exact nature of the word "forced"), but that's basically how it works.

> In Russia you cannot be fired from your job for being an LGBT individual

This is entirely incorrect, you sure as hell can and good luck finding a judge overruling it.

There are polygraph companies in Moscow that help out gays to employers, and they are completely open about it.

Too bad the kind of people who give polygraphs to root out and fire the gay people in their company don't give a shit about the science (or lack thereof) of polygraph tests.

Welcome to Russia.

Even army, schools and universities use quackery like polygraphs and Voll/Schimmel EAP to "detect drug users."

- http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=auto&tl=en&u=...

- http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=auto&tl=en&u=... (no direct link to paragraph, search for "Voll")

Well, polygraphs, while not providing undeniable proofs, give statistically significant results. U.S. govt agencies use them widely as part of security clearance.

> there's no impetus to pass a new law repealing a law that's already been invalidated.

Well... in 2000 (!), Alabama repealed its laws against interracial marriage, which had been invalidated in 1967 in Loving v. Virginia.


And the reason it took until 2000 was inertia. It was a completely symbolic repeal of a law nobody had enforced for some time. I’m not sure what your point here is.

EDIT: Grammar.

> This depends highly on the state. Some states even protect transgender individuals.

Are you seriously saying that you can legally fire somebody for being gay in some US states? Wouldn't you get sued for discrimination if you did that?

Are you seriously saying that you can legally fire somebody for being gay in some US states?

Yes. I'm surprised that you're surprised. Under Obama the tide has definitely turned in favor of gay rights, but gay people are still very far from being equally protected under the law nationwide.

And if the next US President is a Republican, many Obama-era gay rights advances might very well be rolled back.

I'm European, this might explain my surprise. My understanding was that employers were usually very careful to avoid lawsuits for wrongful termination when firing people. I had not understood that in some places, discrimination against people with the wrong sexual orientation is fair game, while discrimination against people with the wrong skin colour isn't.

Not to mention that most states have moved to at will employment, which means that you can be fired for no reason.

But "at will" means you can be fired for any reason except if the reason is "being in a protected class". Those include pregnant women, for examples.

It is so ridiculous it is funny. In the US, the law guarantees NO paid maternity leave, but you can't fire a pregnant lady. So, as soon as she gives birth, you can stop paying her (but not fire her), and then, two weeks after she comes back from maternity leave, you can fire her (because she is no longer in a protected class). So, basically, all this protection amounts to is ... about two extra weeks of severance.

US is pretty sad when it comes to labour law and employee rights - and most people living in the US are somehow under the illusion that it is better for them.

Does anyone know if sexual preference or sexual orientation is a recognized protected class?

It is true that the US does not guarantee maternity / paternity leave, however many companies do have it, and some are very generous. It's a great incentive to get good people on board.

While I agree that a minimum is a good idea (though not sure how it would be legislated in practice) I also appreciate that the lack of labor regulation in the US results in a labor force and companies that are more responsive to change than in Europe and other places that are heavily regulated.

As for protected classes, it seems that sexual preference is kind of covered under Title VII, but it's flimsy (this is at the Federal level): http://www.eeoc.gov/federal/otherprotections.cfm

In european countries you get between 3 and 12 months of paid maternity/paternity leave by law (in some countries, maternity only, in others, 12 months divide between parents). In some countries you can extend this by 3-6 month of unpaid leave while still protected against termination.

> I also appreciate that the lack of labor regulation in the US results in a labor force and companies that are more responsive to change than in Europe and other places that are heavily regulated.

companies that are more "responsive to change"? What does this mean? Yes, they respond more easily to quarterly results by firing, but I don't know of anyone outside of Wall Street that considers this a good thing.

The US labour situation is all fcked up, sorry - up until last year, health insurance was tied to employers (meaning people kept working in places they hated, or did not start a new venture, for health coverage). Now, it's just ultra expensive and tied to a location. (Moved? unlikely you can keep your coverage)

Some places in Europe are fcked up in the other extreme - e.g. I've heard from people in Austria and in Denmark that they won't hire employees because they won't be able to fire them without a year's notice.

But the e.g. UK, Northern Ireland, Sweden and Germany are doing fine on the both the health care and labour law fronts.

>many companies do have it

The people who REALLY need it don't get it though, those working low income jobs who can't afford to save up for maternity leave.

AFAIK only a small number of "elite" employers offer generous maternity leave, and it's nothing approaching, say, Scandinavian standards.

Yes, you can, in SOME places in the United States. The reason being is being gay isn't a "protected" status in FEDERAL civil rights legislation.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination against racial, ethnic, national and religious minorities, and women. Before that one could say "black people need not apply" on a job description or ask women if they were going to be having children soon on a job interview. Being gay was never defined as a protected group outright.

That being said, SOME States in the United States have taken it one step further and made homosexuals a protected group and disallowed discrimination against them under STATE law. Some companies have specifically outlawed discrimination against gays via official company policy and extended employee benefits to same sex partners.

I don't know if you can see this video outside of the United States, but try to watch it! It gives some examples of people being fired for being gay, and an interview with a completely clueless State lawmaker.



Looks like I'm slightly wrong.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 has been interpreted to apply to gays recently.


In 2011 and 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that job discrimination against Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders classified as a form of sex discrimination and thus violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.


The EEOC enforces the prohibitions against employment discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Titles I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), Title II of the Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act (GINA), and the Civil Rights Act of 1991. These laws prohibit discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, and genetic information, as well as reprisal for protected activity. The Commission's interpretations of these statutes apply to its adjudication and enforcement in federal sector as well as private sector and state and local government employment.

The EEOC has held that discrimination against an individual because that person is transgender (also known as gender identity discrimination) is discrimination because of sex and therefore is covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. See Macy v. Department of Justice, EEOC Appeal No. 0120120821 (April 20, 2012), http://www.eeoc.gov/decisions/0120120821%20Macy%20v%20DOJ%20.... The Commission has also found that claims by lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals alleging sex-stereotyping state a sex discrimination claim under Title VII. See Veretto v. U.S. Postal Service, EEOC Appeal No. 0120110873 (July 1, 2011); Castello v. U.S. Postal Service, EEOC Request No. 0520110649 (Dec. 20, 2011), http://www.eeoc.gov/decisions/0520110649.txt.*

> it's easier to cherry-pick examples

Prior to the Civil Rights Movement, the US was a highly segregated country mostly because of "cherry picked" examples from the deep south. Federal law exists in part to put the entire country on the same page with respect to basic liberties. Its not OK for me to have more freedom of speech in California than in Texas, so why should it be OK for an LGBT individual to have more basic human rights in one state than in another?

The current debate is exactly about the question if the basic human rights are violated or not. As soon as this would be resolved - I mean legally, having an opinion on that is not enough, for enforcement you need laws - if it would be resolved that some laws violate the basic human rights of LGBT people it would provide the basis for making them void.

So far the court only decided that the federal laws banning same-sex marriage are violating the rights of the citizens. They did not decide that recognizing same-sex marriage is a basic human right though, and since the text of the Constitution is also mum on this question, it would require a separate court decision to have federal enforcement of such rights, if recognized.

However not having such decision is in no way comparable with limitations of freedom of expression instituted in Russia. It's one thing to complain that the federal government does not force states to recognize same-sex marriage, especially if it doesn't even have a legal basis to do so right now, and another thing is to prosecute people for opening support centers for gay youth or for debating the topic of sexual relationships and freedoms in public.

Because LGBT is not a federally protected class http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protected_class

Begging the question.

Plus one for first legitimate use of 'begging the question' I've seen in a decade.

What's your agenda? Your comment history is pretty much nothing but this topic. If you think it's so important, submit it to the front page. When it inevitably gets flagged or sinks into oblivion, then you might realize that this is Hacker News, not Russian LGBT News.

Yeah, fuck those stupid gay people, there's no overlap between hacker and LGBT circles! Who cares about something that affects a part of our community, majority rules!

What part of that semi-coherent rant is supposed to make it OK to jump into every comment thread about Russia and post the same unrelated article?

Especially when the person doing so is trying to whitewash Russia's mistreatment of gay people...

Hey man I actually went and read that paper you posted the other day: bullshit-alarm went off louder at every page. It's all ad-hominems, "look, America is also bad," unverifiable facts and hearsay.

If it is actually true (the anti-"Russian anti-gay laws" movement is overblown in Western media), and if you believe that it is true, then you would do better to stop posting this. You are only doing that cause a disservice by looking untrustworthy.

Everything about your posts and the thing you linked to smells of astroturf.

Been lurking on HN for half a year now, I guess this is what finally gets me to sign up.

No, no it isn't. This seems to be your cause celebre. I suspect you're either paid to comment, or are jsut a very disturbed individual.

I agree. Russia is the gayest country going. http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/international/russia-just...

But wait we can still stay on the #Sochiproblems bandwagon right?!

Remember when Georgia attacked Southern Osetia night before China Olympics?

Our western friends are more delicate this time.

And Russian reaction was correct right? Ignore boundaries of sovereign state (Georgia), annex its' territories outside of conflict zone (Gori, Georgia) and all in order to "defend their friends".

Are you aware that Russia perfectly timed it's Kavkaz 2008 military training near the border of Georgian Region of South Osetia? Just several days earlier before conflict heated up.

And what Russia does when conflict begins? Forwards it's Kavkaz 2008 troops towards Georgia as soon as conflict begins. What a coincidence...

BTW, name South Ossetia was created (yes created) by USSR which aimed to take control over Caucasus, and Georgia was kind of too unified by that time, that was against Russian plans.

If I recall the events correctly, the majority of the civilians that were in the conflict zones ran-to the Russian side - instead of the other way around.

That should tell you who the transgressors were that were attacking those same civilians.

Again, if I recall correctly, a good number of those civilians in the "conflict zones" had dual citizenship or at least a Russian passport.

So when Georgia started shelling them, Russia responded.

Not correct.

Russia has been deploying Russian passports in the conflict zone for two decades, by force... So the reason "defend our citizens, friends" was a "Putin-made". http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/georgia/265...

Many Ossetians headed south to the Georgian side as conflict began, before Russian troops took Tskinvali. Many of them now live in a refugee camps near Gori. http://www.demotix.com/news/77308/refugee-camp-gori-georgia#...

And there have been an ethnic cleansing of Georgians after Russian troops arrived: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic_cleansing_of_Georgians_...

You first statement is not supported by the article. It only states that after the Russian military came in they started issuing passports for identification purposes.

The other points can also be challenged considering there are always going to be some numbers in the population that that are pro-Russian and some that are anti-Russian in that region. And there will be further conflict with the anti side.

The very first Google search result on Russian passports in the province of South Ossetia: http://www.loc.gov/law/help/russian-georgia-war.php

We can argue on details endlessly and it's against my intention. The case is complicated indeed.

To keep it simple: Russia has been "operating" in this region for a long time and it's intention has always been to control Caucasus. It still continues such politics.

Suppose one day you notice your neighbor beating a crap out of his kids with a baseball bat, should you ignore boundaries of his property (house) and stop him in order to defend his kids? Although it becomes common this days people would just pull out their phones and start shooting a video for youtube instead.. maybe you are one of those.

Your argument is pointless since there was no such thing as "beating neighbors" by Georgian side.

The only one who was "bearing" the nerves was Russia and here's why: They were bombing Georgian controlled side by the hands of Ossetian separatists for a long, as soon as Georgia decided to end it and react correctly (by correctly I mean taking control over South Osetia, which in fact is withing the borders of Georgia) and that's were Russia decided to defend its "friends". Read my comments above on Russian passports.

> And Russian reaction was correct right?

So, it's Russia bringing itself to war only to screw up media coverage of China olympics.

Nice conspiracy theory...

No, Putin was like Michael Corleone on Olympics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CDlBLvc3YE

Sure, but you have to remember this is HN. Conspiracy theories are always correct.

No Gori annexion happened, actually -- Russian military entered the city, then, after the conflict was over, left.

The readiness to respond was quite amazing though, yes -- but it was Georgian army who started the storm of Tshinval, not expecting the Russian one to appear any soon through a mountain tunnel (or appear at all, actually).

There have been trainings just before that, that's correct; and there have been provocations from both sides of the conflict (Ossetian and Georgian).

Yes, I used a wrong term. Sorry. Anyway there was no need to spread conflict in the whole country.

But still, there was an annexation too, Russia took this part of the Georgian controlled lands: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akhalgori_Municipality

From the link it follows, that it was Ossetia (now recognized as an independent state by Russia) taking control over the (small) territory, not Russia annexing it (although Russian peacekeepers may be around, actually).

Speaking of the conflict scale, it still looks quite lucky that this all ended soon -- with Georgian army leaving heavy armour all along the road to the capital, and panic starting there.

Who are we lying to? :) It's Russia acting by the hands of Ossetian and other north Caucasian separatists.

Georgian and Ossetians (and many other nations too) have been living in peace for centuries before Russian rule. Russia is the only one to blame in provocating every single conflict in Caucasus (except several minor issues).

Agree, Georgia can't be proud of acting organized later, but that's not the point here.

>> Who are we lying to? :) It's Russia acting by the hands of Ossetian and other north Caucasian separatists.

Indeed, who are we lying to, my Georgian friend?* ;)

* - esp. with claims as broad as: >> Russia is the only one to blame in provocating every single conflict in Caucasus (except several minor issues).

By your username, are you a Georgian?

Georgia fucked up, serves them right to get their ass handed to them by the Russians. Should be happy and thankful Tbilsi didnt get the same treatment like georgians gave to South Ossetian capital. Anyway what kind of country does that - start shelling to rubles some city it claims is within its own territory?

If I shoot stones at your house and broke your windows every night, would you finally run after me to fight?

Yes, Georgian. And as I guess you are Russian.

I have nothing against Russian people, actually our nations had a deep relationships for centuries, But I'm really pity for you... Putin makes you to live in dictatorship, withing unfairness, Vors and I can imagine how much that sucks in 2014.

To help you have a better understanding of the conflict let me invite you in Georgia, you'll be my guest. I'll guide you through the places where all happened (OFC Georgian controlled ones) and show you facts of Russias' wrong reaction. I'm inviting you, seriously, no joking :) Let me know if you're interested.

Dude Im not Russian.

But thanks for the invitation, is it still valid? I pretend be good Russian bring vodka and cookies. Then I can show you around my home area, Croatia.

I guess next is for some so called news organization to put toy rocket motors into pickup trucks and crash them?

On a side note, who still takes anything the big three networks push? Let alone lets not forget, Russia isn't politically correct so portraying them in a negative light is allowed if not desired.

Wow that's a ridiculous spin of them to make...

One of the things that I think is going on here is that there is a bias (and for very good reason) towards Russia and other Eastern European countries due to the number of malicious activity encountered from the likes of malware and security attacks.

However, one thing that everyone should keep in mind is that Russians do not "shit where they eat". It is not very common for any Russian group to specifically target people within their own borders as that would bring upon a lot of attention.

It is 100% likely that their connections are being monitored and 100% likely that a dossier is being built on reporters and officials visiting the country, but it is 100% for sure that they're not being specifically targeted with malware. If they are, the person initiating the attack is going to find themselves in a lot of heat.

Engel's Wikipedia article is quite fluffy on that note:


Interestingly. Snowden's revelations showed that the US govt does hack journalist computers.

That's really interesting. I assumed a lot of this "hacker fear" was due to the fact that a lot of these "professional" hackers happen to exist in Russia and Eastern Europe, there have to be a few who are just not that good and do it for fun or internet points. Wouldn't imagine the professionals to be caught up in this mess, as I'm sure they have more lucrative things to work on, but maybe a younger hacker or hacker group might step up and try to fuck around?

This is, of course, assuming all of this is being perpetrated by regular civilians, not the Russian government. Seems that a "dossier built on reporters and officials" would be more interesting to a government rather than a hacker group, don't you think? Is the Russian government being accused of/watched for this kind of shit?

During ethnographic research on security perceptions in business environments, we found that most Americans in the IT domain imagine hackers to be evil foreigners -- usually Russian or Chinese. A similar research program across Europe showed the total absence of such projections in the mind of IT security professionals.

It all came back to me as I watched the American media in the last few weeks, bringing a number of negative stories on Sochi and Russia -- much more so than in the European media I monitor.

Is this baseless? I.e. it is known that both China and Russia (together with other ex-USSR space) has extensive and flourishing cybercrime economy, and enforcement there in that area is very weak. So I wonder for a random victim of cybercriminal what is the chance the latter is indeed a foreigner?

Also I assume the research was done before Snowden revelations, where it was known that foreign governments engage in cyberwarfare, but there was not known US government does the same and the US government denied it does. Reinforcing the image of the threat as the foreign one.

At 2:37 in the video, the "special software" that allegedly showed that the computers had been hacked is a tcpdump revealing nothing but pings and DNS PTR queries.

This is like a 60 Minutes report on "hacking" where a guy from Symantec ran Windows Task Manager for a credulous Leslie Stahl and postured about how all that activity could be viruses.

Reminds me of VB GUI IP tracking[1] and double keyboarding[2].

[1]: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkDD03yeLnU

[2]: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8qgehH3kEQ

> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8qgehH3kEQ

So this is what the pair programming experience is like!

I like to imagine the next scene is the two >1000 hacksaws explaining ssh, remote X and basic Cisco admin to the yank-happy cord monster.

Ever been on IRC? It's exciting stuff:


Not to forget classic coding scene from Swordfish:


Double keyboarding? That's certainly new to me.

Not sure I think HN should be a place to post memes like this all the time, but still: thanks for posting.

The double keyboarding was a joke by the writers of the show. Unfortunately, I think the VB GUI was supposed to be serious.

Reminded me of NextGenHacker101's Tracer-T instructional video:


To Google. And the DNS traffic is most likely from the ping or tcpdump itself.

But actually, one of his closing remarks is unintentionally helpful: "The best way to protect yourself ... if you don't really need a device, don't bring it" [lest it get stolen by US customs as you're returning home].

Can we please get back to discussing how Russia is abusing the US yogurt company Chobani by not letting its yogurt cups into the country.

This is all over the news wire, every outlet is reporting on it, the Obama administration has intervened, and it needs to be on top page of HN like now.



Is there any story about Russia right now that's not actively searching to criticize something?

The U.S. blocks the spontaneous import of goods which haven't been certified for the U.S. market all the time, yet when russia applies the same criteria, they're somehow differently evil and/or unsporting?

Sounds like freedom hating.

"The relationship between the United States and Russia is deeply strained,..."

What a wasted opportunity for a "strained yogurt" pun.

Even more wasted was a 'the relationship has soured'.

You can see huffingtonpost and drugereport post completely opposite, manipulative, news as far as American politics go. However, when it comes to international news, stories on both align perfectly, there is never a story that's off of the USA-party line. Russia bad! Putin bad! Olympics bad! I haven't seen a single positive thing, and I very much doubt there isn't a single positive to report. I read plenty in Russian press, even anti-establishment.

It's funny to watch the Olympic coverage in Canada because it has been a steady stream of Russia bashing including lots of innuendo about corruption in building Olympic facilities and how they are not ready in time and how it is dangerous for gays (even though they visited one of the 3 gay clubs in Sochi" Of course all that was the senior journalists who have been bought by the establishment. People like Peter Mandsbridge who simply cannot be trusted. Then the athletes all arrived and a full team of journalists and the mood completely changed.

Everyone is gushing about how amazing the place is, how great the food is and the accommodations. Several people have commented on how this or that is better than it was in Vancouver. So now I'm thinking that maybe junior journalists still have some ethics in them and will do some actual investigations of stories.

That's interesting, I haven't seen the later comments in US media so far. What I have noticed over time, though, is same kind monotonous, pointed, news buzz builds up for every other geopolitical event. Iraq, Iraq, Iraq. Iran, Iran, Iran. Libya Libya Libya. Syria Syria Syria. It's like an extremely well oiled machine. I really wonder how this works on the inside, with all these regular people journalists, some of which I actually know, who I can't imagine to be part of some conspiracy. I don't think very many people actually consciously realize what's happening, but somehow it is. It is probably the 'establishment', cynical elite, that doesn't care for ethics, but for (geo)politic advantage for the party, or country.

There are many things I am sure they would agree on. Murder is bad. Theft is bad. I haven't read any positive thing in the press about murder or theft. Is it because they are all bought by anti-theft cabal or is it because they actually agree on it being bad? Maybe they just think Putin is bad and the preparation for Olympics was completely messed up.

As for positive reports - news usually aren't positive. It always has been so. Nobody reports positive things unless they are exceptionally positive. Fireman saves the lives of ten - news. Drunk driver plows into a tree - news. Drunk man decides not to drive but walk and safely arrives home - not news. A man comes from work, meets his wife and kisses her - not news.

Murder is bad but was George Zimmerman justified? Is the death penalty just?

Never underestimated the news media's ability to split the American public in half.

News isn't usually positive, but what do you think the tone of this coverage is compared to the coverage of the London olympics?

I personally strongly dislike the way gay people are treated in Russia and I am enjoying the drubbing they're getting from Western media.

But the parent comment is right, it's eerie to suddenly hear partisan media singing from the same hymn sheet.

Maybe in London when you get a hotel room doorknobs do not fall off?

Or maybe they do, but nobody makes international issue from that?

Sure, everybody has agreed to hide leaking toilets and falling off doorknobs in London but emphasize it in Russia. I'm sure Elders of Zion or reptiloid Martians are behind that. Keep wearing that tinfoil hat.

In the last American hotel room I went to, doorknob from off.

Yes, there is two things you can count on as purest evil, and that us murder, and anything Russian. Good point.

Except I never said that. But keep talking to your imaginary friend, I'm sure actually addressing points made in discussion is much less entertaining.

Well is there a "Putin good" argument?

Interestingly, most of Russian press (both in internet and, by a vast majority, in print) is anti-establishment. The government only has the TV ^)

It's quite obvious that old habits die hard when it comes to North America vs. Russia. We can't seem to manage to utter a single decent word about them via public media.

I wasn't even aware that sports competition begins today, until today.

Old habits change quickly. Remember the 90s when we were friends? What does not change are geopolitical realities of land vs. sea power.

What does he think he's doing with that MacBook box! @ 1m10s

That was very strange. I was thinking, "Really? Has this guy never opened a box before?"

What was interesting was I repeated this story and later found this site and others and started looking back at what was said and no feel bad that I was "hacked" by the news guy in believing something that wasn't true. I wonder if their hotel story is just as bogus. I had forgotten briefly that you can never trust your news organizations when you live in an authoritarian state :-(

I found that very strange. It doesn't even look like the original box.

Perhaps they bought it in Russia and it has a different kind of packaging than what you get in the US? I'm pretty sure opening the thick cardboard boxes I've seen that way would be quite difficult.

There's no time to explain! Just open the box!

I yet to see a single positive report on the Sochi Olympics. If I was a conspiracy theorist, I might think there's a semi-hidden agenda to discredit the games.

You mean when you come to the hotel you booked months in advance and they say there's no room for you and then when you finally get one you have the bathroom leaking and the curtains falling down - and then you complain about it, it must be the hidden agenda to discredit?

The guys there at Sochi obviously screwed up the hospitality part. If they didn't screw up the games part, as soon as the games open, the tone would change. If they screwed up that too, the tone would stay.

If Shaun White is complaining about your course being unsafe, it's probably really bad http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/sports&id=9420...

I had a privilege and luck to travel and visit that part of Russia in late 90s.

People are very nice (never refuse vodka if you are offered :)). But it is really poor place. There are open manhole in the middle of road - the big one, my friend would take out battery from the car bring it up with car keys, ...

So it is not really "semi-hidden agenda" - it just that Sochi is not Moscow.

Late 90s was horrible and difficult time. Russia is not by any means warm, cozy and polished place now, but it changed enormously since 90s.

I hope when the games start these reports will diminish. However these games are controversial - I recommend this (http://youtu.be/H59qzY_8XbM) documentary that was shot in the years up to the Sochi Olympics that explains a lot of the controversies. More details: http://www.cbc.ca/passionateeye/episodes/putins-road-to-soch...

And now try to imagine which opportunities it gives to some political forces in Russia to say: "Look, they all against us, they are our enemies".

You would be surprised, but unlike USA that was never the case in Russia, as far as i can remember. There's some sentiment among people like "Ah, again they want to show how bad and evil Russia is. Nothing's changed. Annoying".

Why would NBC discredit them? They paid for the broadcast rights.

Any press is good press.

Most news stories about technology where a technologically-illiterate reporter relies on a so-called "leading expert" to tell him what to report are 100% fraudulent. They did this for a surprisingly long time with Bitcoin, where the "expert" would inform the reporter about SHA 256 collisions and the reporter would twist that around into a statement like "so you're saying that Bitcoins can be stolen?" Obviously, they can and have been stolen, but not by some lucky bastard finding a SHA256 collision.

In the end, it is the general public that ends up with these ridiculous misconceptions, while only a handful of people (e.g. the readers of HN) actually see through these ridiculous stories.

Next, apply this analysis to the cases where you watch some news about medicine or politics or crime or whatever you are not expert in -- it is likely just as wrong. (Gell-Mann Amnesia)

So many of the news stories about Russia recently have been fraudulent. Like the uproar about the child protection law that is called an "anti-gay" law, but nobody has found any evidence of the law being enforced. How many silly laws get passed in the USA that never get enforced? That's what democracy is all about. There is no wise all-knowing king who can rule by proclamation; instead we muddle through with a crowd of flawed human beings who got themselves elected by a bigger crowd of citizens who are at least as flawed as the legislators.

And how come the haters of that Russian law, never target any of their venom at the Russian legislators who wrote and passed that law with a large majority?

Investigative journalism is dead. Journalists are now bought and paid for by rich patrons. If you want to find a source of reliable news that you can trust, then sorry, you are out of luck. That era has long since passed.

Because they are afraid. Also, the majority you are talking about is non existent. It is entrenched in the Russian culture to feel hopeless about legislature because everybody knows (or thinks) that nothing can be done and that the elite will do whatever they wish. You know that Stalin killed tens of millions just because they had a foreign sounding last name, right?

If you say that western media is corrupt, than the Russian is absolutely corrupt. I don't believe you though, why would the west 'pick' on Russia? Just because? No, I'm russian and most things are true. Russia is one fucked up place for most people who live there. In most western counties it's luckily the other way around, the majority can live prosperous lives and pursue their dreams and wishes. I'm really tired of people defending Russia, it's people and our politics. I do agree that we get what we deserve. It will take decades or probably centuries before we even get to the level of kindness, sophistication and self respect you have in the west.

Democracy is not about passing idiotic laws, enforced or not, if somebody told you so he lied. But Russian lawmaking process right now has as much common with democracy as North Korean courts have with justice. There is a king - his name is Vladimir Putin - whose word is law, and nobody is allowed to muddle anywhere without his knowledge or initiative. The flurry of insane laws from the Duma - the possessed printer, as it is called in Russia - is not some random mistake, it is a reflection of insanity setting in in Russian politics, unfortunately. To be sure, American politics has its own share of insanity, but of a completely different kind.

>>> Investigative journalism is dead. Journalists are now bought and paid for by rich patrons.

It must be very bleak in the world you live in. Knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing, indeed.

> nobody has found any evidence of the law being enforced

And yet:

"A Russian court has fined a newspaper editor for publishing an interview with a gay school teacher who was quoted as saying 'homosexuality is normal.'" http://www.theguardian.com/media/greenslade/2014/feb/01/russ...

That reminds me of the daft "Section 28" law that the Conservatives introduced in the UK (excluding NI) in the late 80s (now repealed):

The amendment stated that a local authority "shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality" or "promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship"


Selective enforcement of laws on the books is one of the worst corruptions of the modern era. If its never going to be enforced, surely the legislation can be struck from law.

Journalists are now bought and paid for by rich patrons.

That's one way of looking at it. Another way is that activists use it as an instrument of storytelling their agenda. It's even worse when it masquerades as 'quality' journalism, dressed up in broadsheet (or more to the point, Berliner format) and verbiage.

I feel that there is just too much of the wrong motivation behind 'journalism'.

"Like the uproar about the child protection law that is called an "anti-gay" law, but nobody has found any evidence of the law being enforced"

Right now it's like massively enforced, even so far as going after a schoolgirl who claimed she was a lesbian (later dropping charges but only after effectively ruining child's life)

I suspect you won't see this on NBC... or if you do it'll be spun into how a state department official used a bad word.


The NBC video definitely started to lose credibility when the security expert proved he couldn't even open a box normally...

That was actually the reporter.

Right you are - video credibility restored!

Well, its not like they haven't lied before. The whole Chevrolet C/K-Series pickup trucks Dateline story showed what they think of actual journalism. In technology, they had that DEF CON fun from a while back.

The story wasn't 100% fraudulent:

"Personal Privacy Note: Travelers should be aware that Russian Federal law permits the monitoring, retention and analysis of all data that traverses Russian communication networks, including internet browsing, e-mail messages, telephone calls, and fax transmissions." [1]

"Additionally, cyber criminals may use the games as a lure in spam, phishing or drive-by-download campaigns to gain personally identifiable information or harvest credentials for financial gain. Lastly, those physically attending the games should be cognizant that their communications will likely be monitored." [2]

Basically, while at Sochi, you will have very little digital privacy and if you visit Olympic game related websites, they may attempt to (broadly speaking) "hack" your computer.

[1] http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/go/Sochi.h...

[2] https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST14-001

I find it amazing that these days these statements could be equally well applied to the U.S.A.

That must be why the TSA just banned all liquids on carry-ons to there.


What does that have to do with anything in the parent post?

The security researcher posted a followup:


The real scandal is the way that jackass opened that MacBook Air. What the hell!

Also I'd really like to know exactly how they hacked Mac OS X. Because if he downloaded something and then gave it his administrator password, that doesn't count as being hacked.

If you're an average journalist, it does. That looks exactly like in those hacker movies, after all.

It's disheartening that in 2014 the original article wasn't unanimously dismissed as the sensationalist click-bait that it is.

It's sad that this investigation was misleading at best, fraudulent at worst. But let's be serious for a moment. Using the local Wifi in Sochi, during the Olympics or or more likely than not at any other time, probably isn't all that safe of a thing to do. MITM, content modification, etc is quite likely to occur at drastically higher rates than in many other parts of the world. Russia is a hotbed of this kind of thing, and the vast influx of relatively wealthy Olympic visitors make a prime target.

I was immediately suspicious when I heard that, and when I watched the clip which actually showed Moscow and not Sochi I just realized it's some baloney of which news is full now and stopped watching. Good to confirm my decision was correct.


I suggest looking closer at Andy Borowitz's other headlines.

A few before the shirtless Putin article:




It's satire.


They didn't "translate" it. The piece you're referring to is satire.

NBC has a comment at the end of CNET's story about it: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-57618533-83/sochi-hack-repo... " NBC, for its part, defended its report.

'The claims made on the blog are completely without merit,' according to a representative from NBC News."

I just saw a tech news organization mention this and it just seemed entirely too alarmist to be true. Turns out it was...

This is hilarious. And the winner of the Olympic Gold medal for FUD is ... NBC.

But wait ... no need to be afraid:

"So what can you do?"

"Purchase ... antivirus software ... before you leave the country"


I can't wait coming to the US. Then I finally can connect to a US WiFi and go to these famous websites named facebook.com and google.com.

While I appreciate the debunking effort (the original article smelled fishy and lacked details), the advice at the end is laughable. "don't click on stuff" really? That's your security advice?!

i think they just removed that hilarious unboxing scene. original here: http://youtu.be/CNfQwrtKxWk?t=1m10s

This is what happens when there's no consequence when public figures are lying.

Politicians and journalists should lose their job / title FOREVER when they are caught lying.

Well, I thought it was very fishy. It looked like propaganda.

Pretty much everything we hear about Russia through English-speaking media is propaganda...

Here let me help you here. Your comment should read. "Pretty much everything we hear through the media is propaganda." There much better now.

Can't say I disagree... A lot of distraction techniques too.

Yes. That is why we did not hear about the untraditional girl who got to second place in Russia's American Idol type of program. It was the Russian people who liked her voice and voted her up there. Did I mention that she was an American and covered with tatoos? Actually she was born in Uzbekistan but grew up in America. Check out Nargiz Zakirova for more info.

And in the same show a native born black American girl who did not even speak Russian, made it into the knockout rounds. Her name is Karmen Moxie.

As opposed to other winners of Russian singer contests which are regularly given extensive coverage in prime time on CNN. Come on. 99% of US population probably don't know Russia has American Idol-like program, and of those who do, 99% don't care who won it.

I don't even care about the US 'Idol' contest...

Neither should you. So you're doing it right.

I don't think you mean Fraudulent.

adjective 1. obtained, done by, or involving deception, especially criminal deception.

I think you mean "inaccurate".

> The only thing that can be confirmed by the story is "don't let Richard Engel borrow your phone"

Leno's quip tonight: "I didn't know they had Target stores over there!"

Not surprised from NBC, this wouldn't be the first time they were wrong.

All in a day's work.

That's not 100% fraudulent, that's like 80% fraudulent.

Wtf is up with how that guy opens the MBA box?

lol all 4 comments on that article are about the way the guy opens the MacBook box...

You never know there, could've actually happened. it's he said she said ..

Side note: The story is not fraudulent, it is false.

My GF was watching that Comcast-NBC story and I stopped to look and I was very much perplexed by the end of it. It just screamed of ridiculous FUD and I loudly scoffed at it and walked away from the idiot box incredulous of what I'd just witnessed.

I've seen a lot of sensationalized bullshit via the corporate mass media before, but this took the cake. I wondered if it was "just me", but now I'm seeing many others online and offline also noting how ridiculous it was with more than obvious, dishonest fear mongering at play.

It got me thinking about how much Comcast must serve others in order to maintain its corrupt, despised, anti-competitive oligopoly. Considering the fact that multiple polls show that Comcast is one of the most despised corporations in America, I don't think it would be too difficult to get many Americans behind breaking up their oligopoly if the issue was pushed.

But, the government never pushes it. Comcast owes a great... no, massive debt to the government for its very existence, incredible anti-competitive growth and ability to continue to plunder Americans by becoming an increasingly gargantuan oligopoly and near monopoly (when it comes to higher speed Internet access in many areas).

I also don't think anyone who's been paying attention doubts that war profiteers have taken over our government from the outside (via lobbying) and the inside via their own politicians with Washington’s revolving door – legislators and their staff members becoming lobbyists, and vice versa.

That said...

Russia deserves a lot of criticism to say the least, but the anti-Russian propaganda from the mass media coming from the USA, etc. is getting pretty thick, heavy and over the top. It's almost palpable at this point and it's obviously stressing our relations with Russia. Between that and some interesting issues with the Ukraine I'm starting to think the war profiteers would very much like to push for and ramp up a new, profitable Cold War between Russia and the USA again.

The war on terror thing is getting old and harder to justify with limitless money and wars. With the Internet and average citizens utilizing it to spread info to each other, it's becoming increasingly difficult to start deceptive, profitable (open) wars or even just air strikes on places like Syria, for example.

I'm not saying any of this is true and I sure hope it's not true, but the propaganda is really getting laid on thick lately and I'm not sure what the end-game is here. Even though many of the criticisms are certainly true against Russia, it seems like it's really getting "poured on" in the last few years and it's increasing tension with Russia on a scale I haven't seen since our last Cold War with them.

I know it seems like I'm wearing a tinfoil hat and I'll understand if anyone thinks I'm sounding looney... but, I think the risk is something to watch for even if it is remote.

I mean, for all I know this is simply a bunch of geopolitical pushing around that has nothing to do with any long term war profiteer agenda. I sincerely hope that's true. But, if there's something else going on, I hope we've all got our eyes wide open here and make sure we're not being led (yet again) into something that sucks away lives and treasure for the benefit of the very few. It's happened before (see Iraq) and I see no reason why the war profiteers won't keep trying and trying again.

Finally, thanks from Saint-Petersburg :)

So does this mean that NBC is fraudulent?

We should remember that... around the time of the next election.

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