Accessibility links

Breaking News

Watchdog

Russian cybersecurity magnate and the CEO of the Moscow-based cybersecurity Kaspersky Lab says cybercrimes have risen during lockdowns introduced across the world to slow down the coronavirus spread, adding that the majority of cybercriminals are Russian-speakers.

In an interview with the TASS news agency that was published on May 14, Yevgeny Kaspersky said that the quarantines "have forced cybercriminals to hunt for prey with greater frenzy."

"Every day we fish out several million files on the suspicion they may have malicious functions. Also, every day we identify more than 300,000 malicious samples we’ve never come across," Kaspersky said, adding that each of those samples can be used hundreds of times.

According to Kaspersky, as people have to stay at home due to the coronavirus, they spend more time surfing the net to buy food and other items and sometimes venture into no-go areas, which has led to an increase in cyberattacks by 25 percent globally.

Kaspersky also said that Russia and some other former Soviet republics train "the best programmers in the world," but that has a negative side, too, as the world’s most advanced hackers are mainly Russian-speakers.

Programmers from Russia and other former Soviet states earn much less than their counterparts in the West, partially explaining the greater proclivity to engage in cybercrimes.

"We are known for having the world’s best programmers and software developers, but also for having the world’s top hackers. They all graduated from the same universities but went on different paths in the end. While one part works to create something new, the other one seeks to hack and destroy. In almost 100 percent of the cases, the hackers’ motivation is the same -- to reap money, and money again, and still more money, and not only from a victim, but also from their clients," Kaspersky said.

The United States has arrested several Russians hackers over the past year.

With reporting by TASS

TBILISI -- Georgia's opposition parties have warned they will abandon a foreign-brokered deal on election reforms if "political prisoners" are not released.

The ruling and opposition parties on March 8 signed a memorandum of understanding in which they agreed, among other things, that parliament should consist of 120 members elected through a proportional voting system, while 30 members would be elected through a majority system.

The sides have since failed to move forward ahead of parliamentary elections set for October.

In a joint statement on May 13, the opposition parties urged the ruling Georgian Dream party to fulfill the agreement, which they said included the release of "political prisoners."

They also warned that "opposition factions will continue boycotting parliamentary sessions" if their demand is not met.

The opposition claims the release of several jailed politicians who they say have been convicted on politically motivated charges was a condition of the deal.

Georgian Dream representatives have denied that.

Earlier this week, the U.S. and European Union ambassadors called on the ruling and opposition parties to uphold and implement the deal, saying it was intended to "depolarize" Georgia’s political system and "create a better environment" for the upcoming parliamentary elections.

The March 8 deal facilitated by U.S. and the EU officials also says that the party or candidate winning more than 50 percent of the vote in a constituency is awarded the contested parliamentary seat.

Under the accord, the electoral threshold for proportional elections will be set at 1 percent and a capping mechanism will mean that no single party receiving less than 40 percent of the votes cast will be allowed to hold a majority of seats in parliament.

Under the current electoral system, 73 of 150 parliamentary seats are claimed by candidates who finish first in district races. The remaining seats are distributed proportionally to the national share of the vote that a party wins.

This led to Georgian Dream, led by billionaire founder Bidzina Ivanishvili, winning 76 percent of the legislature's seats even though it won just less than half of the popular vote.

Load more

About This Blog

"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

Subscribe

Journalists In Trouble

RFE/RL journalists take risks, face threats, and make sacrifices every day in an effort to gather the news. Our "Journalists In Trouble" page recognizes their courage and conviction, and documents the high price that many have paid simply for doing their jobs. More

XS
SM
MD
LG