Weekly News Digest #76

Internet is fighting Russian disinformation about Ukraine

Although the democratic world has imposed powerful sanctions on Russia, people in Russia are not actively protesting to stop the war. Putin’s regime has been feeding Russian citizens with propaganda for decades so they simply refuse to accept the truth: their soldiers have invaded Ukraine and are killing women and children living in this country. However, Russian propaganda is telling Russian people that Ukraine is bombing its own cities, it is complete disinformation. 

Taking into account the absence of free press in Russia, the only way for the democratic world to deliver the truth to Russian citizens is through the Internet. The Internet has no restrictions and using this channel the democratic world can open the eyes of Russian citizens to the crimes against humanity performed by the Russian army. 

There are many forces trying to deliver the truth to people living in Russia including the Anonymous hacker group, the Ukrainian IT Army, Reface Startup, to name a few. 

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3 big questions related to crypto raised by Russian invasion of Ukraine

  • Can Russia use cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin to avoid sanctions?
  • Can traceable nature of the blockchain and lack of liquidity prevent Russia from actively using crypto to avoid sanctions?
  • Has Bitcoin already taken the status of “digital gold”?

The role of cryptocurrencies has been widely discussed following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russia has been hit with powerful sanctions imposed by the Western world aimed at cutting the country off the global financial system. As a result of sanctions, the ruble has plunged. And there is an active discussion on whether cryptocurrencies can be used by Russian politicians, business people, and common citizens to avoid sanctions. 

For detailed answers to these 3 questions:

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Ukraine’s IT Army: hundreds of thousands of technical enthusiasts are attacking Russia

Ukrainian IT enthusiasts are attacking the Russian government, media, and financial institutions. The Ukrainian IT industry keeps on working while taking part in the country’s resistance. The IT Army of Ukraine is uniting more than 400K enthusiasts both in Ukraine and abroad. 

According to Viktor Zhora, deputy chief of Ukraine’s State Service of Special Communication and Information Protection, the Ukrainian IT army is also providing intelligence and attacking military systems. The Army is also trying to deliver to Russian citizens the truth about this war by sending to them pictures and videos about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the crimes committed by Russian soldiers against humanity.

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US Treasury warns crypto firms on cyberthreats that may come from Russia

The US Treasury Department has reached cryptocurrency companies about their security controls since there is a high risk that Russia may launch cyberattacks against them as a response to Western sanctions. Even before Russia invaded Ukraine, governments had issued many warnings to crypto exchanges regarding the risks coming from Russia. 

Approximately 13% or 14% of Americans have invested in cryptocurrencies. The rising popularity of cryptocurrencies has been among the reasons behind the growing security risks in this field. Industry players should consider taking additional security measures.

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Ukraine has spent $15M of donated crypto on military gear

According to the deputy minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine Alex Bornyakov, Ukraine has already purchased military gear including bulletproof vests using donated crypto. The Ministry has managed to find suppliers of bulletproof vests, bandages, food, and night-vision equipment in Europe and the USA within 2 days following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Some of the suppliers have accepted payments in crypto. 

The government of Ukraine has already received almost $57M in crypto and is expecting to double this sum in a few days. Most of the money donated comes in Bitcoin and Ethereum. The major share of donations come from common users but companies are also stepping up. However, the situation has been also used by fraudsters who are targeting people who want to help Ukraine to lure them to send assets to illicit addresses. 

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