back to article Russia is the advanced persistent threat that just triggered. Ready?

Stress-testing security is the only way to be sure it works. Until then, the worst security looks much the same as the best. As events in Ukraine show, leaving the stress-testing of assumptions until a threat is actually attacking is expensively useless. Yet if an untested solution is no solution at all, the problem becomes …

  1. UCAP Silver badge

    A man prepared to commit two-thirds of his armed forces to invade a democratic neighbour in the face of universal revulsion is not going to have qualms about lashing out at anything within reach on the internet.

    Reports over the weekend suggest that Putin is now threatening to invade Finland and Sweden.

    1. b0llchit Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      That would be suicide, with NATO and all.

      1. UCAP Silver badge

        Finland & Sweden are not currently members of NATO.

      2. imanidiot Silver badge

        Finland and Sweden aren't officially in NATO. While they are "friendly" with NATO forces there is no "mutual defense pact" with them and officially they are both independent and neutral (Finland considers itself to have equally close ties with Russia for instance iirc). An attack on them would thus not necessarily invoke a NATO response unless specifically requested bij either nation.

        1. MacroRodent

          NATO response (lack of)

          > An attack on them would thus not necessarily invoke a NATO response unless specifically requested bij either nation.

          As things currently stand, there would be no NATO response, period. That is why the idea of an actual NATO membership has recently gained popularity at amazing speed in both countries.

          1. DS999 Silver badge

            Out of curiousity, does anyone know

            Once they were able to complete whatever constitutional requirements they have for entering a treaty (which if it just needs a political approval rather than a vote of the population) how quickly could they become official members of NATO?

            Could that happen essentially immediately, or is there (as I expect is likely the case) a ton of process requiring a bunch of information, with built in delays since it was never envisioned someone want to join NATO overnight, or that NATO would want to welcome a new member overnight?

            I don't think Russia invading Finland, let alone Sweden, is a pressing concern given how large a percentage of his overall forces have been committed to Ukraine and how long that buildup required. But if the process of welcoming a new member takes many months / years, then maybe NATO ought to look into a way of streamlining that in certain cases, just in case.

            1. Stork Silver badge

              Re: Out of curiousity, does anyone know

              AFAIK it requires approval of all current members.

              I expect the Baltics would happily approve.

            2. Peter2 Silver badge

              Re: Out of curiousity, does anyone know

              Generally speaking, it'd take time.

              Countries wishing to join have to fulfil the entry criteria about being a democracy, free market economy, rule of law, minimum military capability, training and interoperability etc. For instance, all NATO countries use the same sorts of ammunition, ie bullets, shells and interoperable command control and communications gear.

              Ukraine was short on basically all of those areas as of 2008 and had been given an action plan towards membership which they were steadily working through.

              Finland is realistically already at a point where them joining wouldn't be an issue tomorrow morning.

              Sweden is more of a problem; while they meet most of the criteria they fail dismally on the "minimum military capability" part. NATO is supposed to be an alliance full of powerful members willing to fight for each other, not practically undefended countries wanting somebody else to garrison them so they get the defence, plus the economic benefits of the troops being based there and spending money in their economy from somebody else's tax base, as Germany has been doing from the fall of the Soviet Union until this weekend. (note their sudden doubling of their defence budget)

              Could that be ignored? Yes. Will it? Up to the politicians in charge of each country as I think you need a unanimous agreement between all NATO countries to add another member.

          2. Robert Grant Silver badge

            Re: NATO response (lack of)

            > That is why the idea of an actual NATO membership has recently gained popularity at amazing speed in both countries.

            It's a bit like saving money by waiting to buy insurance mid car crash.

        2. b0llchit Silver badge

          No, they are not NATO, but both are EU members. Many of the EU members are in NATO.

          If Russia attacks a EU country, then there would probably be a EU response, which probably would trigger a much broader conflict. NATO will most likely respond once that happens.

          1. imanidiot Silver badge

            Yes, but actually No, or more precisely: it gets very complicated.

            There is a mutual defence clause in the latest EU treaty (Lisbon, clause 42.7) but Sweden and Finland have both joined on the basis of being neutral and NOT being NATO members.The language of the article seems to make the efforts expected of a country contingent on their requirements based on NATO membership obligations:

            Article 42.7 Lisbon Treaty (EU)

            “If a Member State is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other Member States shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power, in accordance with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. This shall not prejudice the specific character of the security and defence policy of certain Member States.

            Commitments and cooperation in this area shall be consistent with commitments under the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which, for those States which are members of it, remains the foundation of their collective defence and the forum for its implementation.”

            Note the second part of that: "shall be consistent with commitments under the NATO". An attack on Finland or Sweden thus puts the whole thing into entirely murky territory, because other nations do not have any commitments under NATO to provide armed forces thus doing nothing would be consistent with those commitments.

            1. b0llchit Silver badge

              I fully agree that it gets very complicated.

              That said, Sweden has had a neutrality stance for a long time, which would be violated with a Russian attack. In that situation it will be most probable that Sweden seeks assistance from its EU allies. Once that happens and one Russian foot steps the wrong way all hell happens (a wrong step defined as in real, virtual or pure propaganda to get into the fight). NATO may then be required to join.

              I do believe that Sweden will get all EU support, regardless the fine-print in the treaties. If not, then the most if not all of the EU exercise will be over. Once EU support is rolling, then you can calculate the chances of an escalating conflict. Finland's situation is slightly different, but will get the same EU support when it asks.

          2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            If Russia attacks a EU country, then there would probably be a EU response, which probably would trigger a much broader conflict. NATO will most likely respond once that happens.

            The EU is not a military alliance. There would certainly be an EU economic response, but most of the good economic sanctions are being used over Ukraine. So there's not much more to do there.

            NATO, Finland and Sweden all inter-operate and train together. They've got the readiness and the skills.

            But we're not fighting to defend Ukraine because we don't want to start WWIII. Nuclear uncertainty is uncertain. Far better to deter an invasion by using the implied nuclear threat of NATO self-defence - than to make the implied threat of intervening in a war if Russia has already started it - which might lead to Russian nuclear "self-defence".

            Also of course, Putin can't now invade Finland, because he's just bogged most of his army down in Ukraine. And they're going to be busy for a bit. And after that, they're clearly going to need some retraining. Fuck knows what their excuse for a war plan is, but they need to thinnk about sacking shooting some generals and get in some better ones. They've done a pointless parachute drop, a couple of pointless helibourne assaults and an even more pointless amphibious invasion. It's like a bad jazz band, where even the drummer has to be allowed a couple of solos...

            To be fair, the helicopter assault could have worked. If they could capture an airfield and fly in heavy weapons, to get round behind the main formations of Ukraine's army and attack Kyiv. Particularly if they had air superiority so could stop the Ukrainians moving their forces easily. You also need air supreriority to be flying tranpsort planes around, and to control sufficient perimiter round the airfield to stop them being shot down with shoulder-fired SAMs. But they don't have air superiority because they did the ground assault on day one, with only a small number of air and missile attacks, and so haven't managed to take down Ukraine's air defences. I'm guessing they don't have enough cruise missile stocks to have destroyed all the air bases (airbases are big it takes many more than just one hit) and their airforce doesn't seem to be up to the job of continuous, sustained attacks.

            What we don't know is how badly chewed up the Ukrainian army are getting in the mobile battles outside the cities. Are they just slowing the Russian advance down at heavy cost - or is it a genuine contest? But the Russian units getting into the cities so far are more lightly armed and being beaten back. There's some paratroopers (but not elite ones - I guess its uncool to have light infantry in the Russian army, so they all have to be called paras) and Rosvgardia and OMON units - who are paramilitaries more used to guarding borders and buildings or beating up protestors than actual fighting. Those poor buggers should never have been put into the front line

            I guess the Russians are short of manpower for city fighting, while the mechanised infantry are tied up fighting the war of manoeuvre to surround the cities. And because they've assumed Ukraine would be a walk-over they've been sending small columns into the cities to see what happens.

            The problem is that in the "good old days" a Red Army general could affort to be a callous bastard and reckless of human life (even his own sides'). Because the Red Army was huge, and there were loads of your own soldiers to use as cannon-fodder. That's not true in the modern Russian army. It's big, but not that big. Perhaps their generals have forgotten?

            1. S4qFBxkFFg

              "their airforce doesn't seem to be up to the job of continuous, sustained attacks"

              The theories I read say they can't rely on the mobile SAM launchers in the field being able to reliably distinguish between hostile/friendly aircraft, and shortages of precision munitions (quite a lot already having been spent on keeping Assad in his current position). If Putin decides he can tolerate the unintended damage associated with unguided weapons, expect that to change.

              They're probably also not too happy at how many NATO surveillance aircraft are flying racetracks in Romanian airspace, the data probably going, without much detour, to Ukrainian air defence.

            2. Robert Grant Silver badge

              > The EU is not a military alliance

              Not solely, no. But there is the EU Common Security and Defence Policy which involves pooling military personnel and assets. E.g. it holds the third largest number of nukes after the US and Russia.

        3. Danny 2 Silver badge

          Finland and Sweden...are both independent and neutral

          5,000 anti-tank weapons of the model “Pansarskott 86”, a single-use anti-tank launcher known internationally as Bofors AT-4, would be sent to Ukraine...

          Sweden officially abandoned its stance of neutrality at the end of the Cold War but remains officially “non-aligned” and outside military alliances.

          https://www.thelocal.se/20220227/sweden-to-send-bofors-anti-tank-weapons-to-ukraine-in-break-with-doctrine/

      3. Tail Up

        Dismissed, possibly, NATO will be...

    2. imanidiot Silver badge
      Coat

      Because attacking Finland worked so well for them last time...

      --> The thick fur lined one with the fur hood and mitts please -->

      1. DS999 Silver badge
        Trollface

        Between that

        And the multiple failed attempts over the past couple centuries at invading Russia, it is almost as if invading a country with harsh winters and short hours of daylight during those harsh winters is a bad idea no matter who is doing the invading.

        I wonder if that's why Putin waited until spring was around the corner to take on Ukraine, because it sure would have been harder for the west to get Germany on board with harsh sanctions if this happened when they were at the start of winter heating season rather than at the tail end of it...

        1. Denarius Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Between that

          @DS999. An excellent and often unrealised point. About 20% of USA gas (the real vaporous stuff) comes from Russia now, thanks to you know who on accession. Europe is in an even worse state, with Angela obeying her controllers orders to defuel and de-industrialise Germany with the help of useful idiots. Likewise other states such as Nederlands, UK shutting down their own gas fields so they now have to buy Russian gas or freeze in winter. Situation strategy model fits a long information warfare disinformation campaign that benefits only two countries. Did I mention that most devout green leadership historically have a marxist background and so feel a natural affinity for Marxs two holy lands ?

          No need for conspiracy, because mere stupidity, expressed as a decades long focus on quarterly financial results is sufficient explanation for how a low level strategic misinformation game can win against an initially more powerful foe.

          Mines the bright silver flame coat with the body armour inside

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Between that

            "About 20% of USA gas (the real vaporous stuff) comes from Russia"

            Bullshit. Almost all of the US's natural gas imports come from Canada. About 98%, in fact. Almost all the rest comes from Trinidad and Tobago. Absolutely none of it comes from Russia.

            With that said, the vast majority of natural gas consumed in the US is produced here, in the US.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Between that

            Did I mention that most devout green leadership historically have a marxist background and so feel a natural affinity for Marxs two holy lands ?

            May I presume you mean Donald Trump and Tucker Carlson?

          3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Between that

            Who's this Angela you speak of? You do know Germany's Chancellor is some guy called Olaf, and has been for a little while now, right?

            As for your "all greens are Marxists" idea, there's a number of quite big leaps you've made there from environmentalism to leftism to Marxism to fraternity with historical Marxists, none of which is likely to survive any actual scrutiny from anyone with a working brain, so this rings some pretty big "far-right-conspiracy-theory-nutjob" alarm bells.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Between that

              While not seeking to defend Denarius in general, it is fair to note that the name 'watermelon' (*) has been applied to the green movement for >40 years, reflecting the opinion (held only by some, obviously, but quite widely held for all that), that much (much, not all) of the green movement is actually driven by hard-left ideology, which is masked by a concern or pretence of a concern for environmental matters.

              (*)a watermelon has a thin green skin covering the more voluminous red core.

              1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

                Re: Between that

                Has it? It's not a term I've ever heard used. This might just be because I don't hang around with the sort of people who are likely to use it, who I suspect will be the right-wing corporatist types, who have a vested interest in undermining environmentalism, and for whom slinging mud of this sort probably has its own cost-centre in their chart of accounts.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Between that

                  (The AC that posted the 'watermelon' comment)

                  "who I suspect will be the right-wing corporatist types,"

                  Well, the people I heard it from (~30 years ago) were professional (and properly academically / professionally qualified) Environment scientists / risk assessors, whose day job was technical due diligence on industrial plants, cleaning up polluted soil and groundwater and such.

                  So the 'right-wing types' may well use it, but so do people that actually know something about protecting the environment.

                  1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

                    Re: Between that

                    In that case, it may well be industry slang for those who pretend green credentials to hide a radical leftist agenda, but I don't reckon it's in common parlance, or that there are a lot of people of that ilk.

                    Of course, one person's moderate left-of-centre activist is another's far-left radical, and the rather simplistic left-right spectrum is open to wild distortions from those on "both sides". Just remember that a lot of the press in this country is owned by oligarchs billionaires whose own political outlook is rather far to the right of that centre ground.

                    1. jake Silver badge

                      Re: Between that

                      For the record, the only place I've seen "Watermelon' used in that way is from my Finnish relatives. It's certainly not used here in California, the traditional ancestral home of the folks it is applied to.

                  2. bombastic bob Silver badge
                    Devil

                    Re: Between that

                    it is worth pointing out that MOST people seem to believe that pollution and environmental damage are bad, that environmental cleanup is good, and that clean air, clean water, etc. are all very very good things.

                    The assumption that "the right wing" wants dirty air, dirty water, and gross pollution everywhere is as bad as assuming that all environmentalists are commies.

                    However it seems that those at the front of the 'green' movement, with their shrill anti-scientific claims about various aspects of their movement [that I shall not enumerate at this time], ARE generally the 'watermelon' types, at least In My Bombastic Opinion, especially when you look at the SOLUTIONS to the alleged problems that they have proposed...

                    1. Binraider Silver badge

                      Re: Between that

                      $DEITY forbid centrist policies founded on common interests be on the table!

                      30 years of branding everything as XXXTREME or SEXXXY to generate interest rather than objective is of course party responsible.

                      Nasty times lead to extreme views taking root. It's not good for anyone. When was the last time you heard an actual debate in parliament instead of rhetoric. The folks that actually write the details of bills are far removed from the front line of politics.

                2. Denarius Silver badge

                  Re: Between that

                  my point precisely. You dont get out of your echo chamber. Try talking to farmers dealing with bureaucrats who know how to run a property from an air-conditioned office.

            2. Denarius Silver badge

              Re: Between that

              Did you notice I wrote of long time span, not last year ? Merkle hung around for how long ? As for young Jake, true in recent history, not in last 6 month and probably a brief anomaly. As for watermelons, an old term. You youngun's dont read much, do you ?

              Continuing to corporates and the collectivists, have any of you noticed both dislike free independent citizens and nation states ? Both want surveillance dystopias for their own reasons and both will try to use the other. It happened last century in Germany. If you dont study history over centuries, you dont understand the present as someone said.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Between that

                You wrote "About 20% of USA gas (the real vaporous stuff) comes from Russia"

                I replied "Bullshit. Almost all of the US's natural gas imports come from Canada. About 98%, in fact. Almost all the rest comes from Trinidad and Tobago. Absolutely none of it comes from Russia."

                You come back with "true in recent history, not in last 6 month and probably a brief anomaly."

                Horseshit. Facts here. Data on that web page goes back to 2016, but a downloadable spreadsheet goes back to 1973. It shows no trade in natural gas from Russia at all.

                I don't know where you get your "facts", but you might consider vetting them a trifle more thoroughly. It would seem they are a trifle confused.

                I've been following the so-called "greens" since Palo Alto started started brainwashing teaching kids about recycling in schools in the mid 1960s. If that makes me young, I can live with the moniker. I still have only heard the "watermelon" term in that context from my Finnish relatives, until this thread.

            3. Denarius Silver badge

              Re: Between that

              Did I say all greens are marxists ? Straw man attack. Nope, just many of them seem to think from that world view and sound like marxists. Unless you are one, in which case you cant hear how like utopian materialists they sound. Sometimes people have ideas, sometimes ideas have people. In my experience most greens are useful idiots with good intentions and little knowledge of the actual environment issue they feel a concern over in last two decades. Useful for political influence.

              In short, EU and pals will have get along with Russia on Russian terms because they have to. Wont change until there is a return to energy independence in EU or there is another Russian revolution or collapse. Perhaps China will want the territory it lost to Russia in 19th century back.

              1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

                Re: Between that

                I think the general observation to be made here is that a lot of politically active people are also quite naïve. The world works in a certain way, and contains people who are saintly altruistic and conscientious and also complete selfish arseholes, and everyone else in between.

                Utopian ideals are a noble goal, but it is not possible to flip a switch and go from where we are now to peace and equality for all, the best we can do is gradual change, and to push to make that change happen as fast as possible.

                It's worth noting, as well, that although for some, a Marxist world is their idea of Utopia, it's certainly not a view shared by most on the left, in the same way that a corporatist world with all the wealth hoarded by a very few individuals is not the idea of Heaven for most on the right.

                As for environmentalism? Well, it makes sense that we should make best endeavours to not cause our own extinction. Most people will agree that AGW and pollution are real problems that we genuinely need to tackle, although you'll find plenty of whackjobs hiding under rocks if you go looking for them who will argue otherwise, until their elderly parents start shouting at them to get out of the basement and find a job.

                Environmentalism naturally sits somewhere to the left of the "political spectrum", so it's hardly surprising to find some proper radical Marxist types extolling its virtues, however, I think you'll find that the number of genuine full-on Marxists is very small, and the vast majority of leftists sit comfortably in the "lets be reasonable" ground of the centre-left, which is also the home ground of environmental concerns.

            4. Binraider Silver badge

              Re: Between that

              Indeed, for those that follow German politics, their Green party has been amongst the most hardline (by modern German standards) on promoting the recent shift in the Bundestag to up the military budget to 100bn/year.

              There are other blockers to making that happen, but the idea that all greens are Commies is ludicrous.

          4. DS999 Silver badge

            Re: Between that

            The US is a net exporter of natural gas, and they certainly don't import anything from Russia. Where do these clueless people come up with their so wrong they clearly know nothing about anything facts?

    3. wolfetone Silver badge

      "Reports over the weekend suggest that Putin is now threatening to invade Finland and Sweden."

      They can't even give the young men they sent to Ukraine enough petrol to run the tanks or food to sustain themselves (leading to looting by the young Russian conscripts). They're not going to have the fuel, weapons or resources to have a pop at another country.

      1. Danny 2 Silver badge

        They can't even give the young men they sent to Ukraine enough petrol to run the tanks or food to sustain themselves

        Russia had to invade or withdraw because they sent their troops to invasion positions too early. Those troops were tired, cold and hungry by the time they were ordered in. A local in Belarus reported the camp near him was drunk on vodka that they bartered for with diesel fuel. The troops going in now will be better rested but hopefully more aware of the true situation.

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        "They can't even give the young men they sent to Ukraine enough petrol to run the tanks or food to sustain themselves"

        I don't know about fuel, but in the case of food it might not be a matter of soldiers getting enough food, but whether they'd rather acquire something other than MRE's for a change. One article stated that Russians soldiers were "asking" for lard and alcohol. I expect that the Russian army isn't supplying alcoholic drinks to their troops in the field. The lard? What's the take on deep frying MRE's?. Perhaps Big Clive will take on the challenge.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Lard is a compact, high energy food source. It is especially tasty in US-style biscuits[0], which make for an easily cooked bread substitute. I've cooked this in an engine bay before, and also in a hastily constructed rock oven.

          The Alcohol speaks for itself. If I were a young Russian kid forced to join in on this miserable and utterly useless agenda, I'd probably turn to booze, too.

          [0] 2 cups AP flour, 1 Tbs baking powder, 1 tsp salt, 1/3 cup lard, 1 cup water (or milk). Can add about 1/2 tsp baking soda to change the pH for additional browning, but it's not necessary. Mix the dry ingredients, cut in the lard (rub the lard into the flour with your fingers), then quickly stir in the liquid (do not over mix, or they get tough). Drop by the heaping tablespoonful onto a baking sheet, pop into a 450F oven for 12-15 minutes, turning the sheet once. Makes about a dozen.

          1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

            That's crackers!

            Or, as I call it, hot water crust pastry (minus the baking powder). 10oz flour, 3oz lard, 1/4 pint of milk or water. A pinch of salt. Lard and milk/water brought to the boil and mixed in with flour and then kneaded through. It's left to cool.

            That which is not used for the pie will be folded over several times, like puff pastry, to trap air, cut up and cooked as pastry biscuits. To a British audience, they look and taste like cream crackers.

          2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Exactly, if you're fighting (or trying to do pretty much anything for any amount of time) in sub-zero temperatures, you need a high-energy food source. That means lard or other similar fats. There's a reason arctic peoples eat seal blubber, and I doubt it's for the taste.

          3. MachDiamond Silver badge

            I put in the baking soda myself, but use vegetable shortening rather than lard.

            I'm still really curious about a deep-fried MRE, but would rather somebody else try it first.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Try the lard. It's healthier than Crisco, and contains no palm oil (which is heavily contributing to the destruction of the environment). And it's a lot tastier, too. If you don't render your own, the best of the supermarket brands seems to be Armour ... at least according to the kitchens of my friends.

              You can keep the MREs, deep fried or not. I'd rather live off the land.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Why stop there.... why not CONQUER THE WORLD WITH HIS MIGHTY RUSSIAN ARMY AND WEAPONS SO FIENDISH THAT ENEMIES WILL CRUMBLE BEFORE HIS GREATNESS! Putin's not delusional, he's hoping they're gullible and he can buy time with some bluster.

      Georgia is eyeing up Volgograd. It could take the whole peninsular, dominate Azov and Caspian seas, and whose to stop them? The MIGHTY Russian army???! The one that needs Belarussian help to save them??

      He's doing "peace talks" , i.e. stalling while he resupplies his military because he didn't plan for this. Well yeh, but he gets that Europe is sending Ukraine a fookton of the most advanced weaponry right? Those US missiles are coming from German stockpiles not shipped across the ocean. His APC's drive down a road, they're tracked on satellite, Ukrainians pop out of a hole, shoot it with a missile and his men are all dead. For what?

      He loses that fight no matter what, he retreats, suffers decades of sanctions, Iraq style, struggles to hold power with an ever diminishing army he can fund. Dies, is airbrushed out of history. This is the best scenario for him here.

      I don't even think the cyber angle comes into it, the West has the most detailed of data on his army, even conversations between Putin and his top generals, suggesting vast intel superiority.

      The hackers in Russia, they would be better off in a democratic Russia too, they can just phone in the hours, not work hard, what do they personally care if Putin loses and his regime crumbles, they can get proper IT security jobs in a modern democracy once he's gone.

      It's better for them personally, to let Putin fail.

      1. lglethal Silver badge
        Go

        I'm actually super surprised Georgia hasnt already moved to retake South Ossetia. Moldova could certainly also move on Transnistria, Japan on the Kuril Islands, anyone else in the 'Stan's with a bit of a historical grudge about the border location. NOW is your time to shine!

        For all Russia's talk, they have seriously weakened their own position. It will be interesting to see what develops, but here's hoping Russia runs home with it's tail between it's legs, and Ukraine gets the compensation it seriously deseves...

        1. Jedit Silver badge
          Mushroom

          "NOW is your time to shine!"

          If by "shine" you mean "with the fire of an earthbound Sun" or "glow in the dark for the next 10,000 years", perhaps. It's one thing to expect Putin to show restraint with the Armageddon dildos when he gets his nose bloodied in Ukraine, and quite another to suggest that he would hold back if Russia should be invaded on multiple fronts.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "NOW is your time to shine!"

            There's no viable target that can save him. No place he can nuke that could stop him losing control of Russia. Where does Putin nuke that can save Putin and wouldn't actually hasten his own end? There isn't such a place.

            It's funny/sad, Belarus is saying "nukes will be stationed in Belarus". Luschenko trying to pretend he is a nuclear threat, as if he would control those nukes! Luschenko can clearly see the end there. Trying to puff himself up. He needed Russian military help to suppress the pro-democracy movement there, yet he proposed to send troups to help the Russians take Ukraine??? And when they die, who will keep him in power in Belarus? So he pretends nukes can save him. Nukes that wouldn't be controlled by him! Where does "he" nuke? Minsk?

            Where *does* a failed dictator flee? Viktor Yanukovych (the Russian puppet that Paul Manasfort put in power in Ukraine) fled to Russia. Donald Trump (the Russian puppet that Paul Manasfort also put in power) fled to Mar-a-Lago, and perhaps to Moscow later if those prosecutions get too close.

            But where would Putin get sanctuary? Maybe the Chinese would let him live there? A fake beard and a poncho and live in Venezula perhaps???

            And who would give him sanctuary if he ever fired a nuke? No-one, he'd be safe nowhere. None of his people would be safe, they'd know their death is imminent and painful, and their only hope is to behead Putin and make gory Tik-toks about how they made his last seconds a living hell as proof of their repentance for his attack.... "Please don't kill me and my family and my people, look here, we plucked out his eyeballs and fed them to him, we are truely truely sorry for what he did"

            1. Denarius Silver badge

              Re: "NOW is your time to shine!"

              As usual AC, wrong way round. A part of the disinformatioin campaign. Old man and Hilarious were influenced by by links to Russia and the other place

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: "NOW is your time to shine!"

                "A part of the disinformatioin campaign."

                Projection is an ugly thing.

              2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
                Facepalm

                Re: "NOW is your time to shine!"

                Ohai ther Vlad.

                Seriously, this sort of weak nonsense is worse than the obvious trolls on FB posting obviously faked videos straight from the Kremlin propaganda dept.

            2. Jedit Silver badge

              "Where does Putin nuke that wouldn't actually hasten his own end?"

              You're misunderstanding the situation. The question now is not whether Putin meets his end; that was decided when he invaded Ukraine. The question is rather how he meets his end.

              Putin has done everything he can to frame NATO opposition to his aggression as an existential threat to Russia. And he has said - and this is a minor paraphrase at most - that if Russia has no place in the world, why should the world continue to exist? There is a very real possibility that he will use nuclear weapons not to save himself, but to take everyone else with him.

              1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

                Re: "Where does Putin nuke that wouldn't actually hasten his own end?"

                The nuclear option is a worry. By the middle of the war, Hitler had (at least partially) stopped believing in the wonder weapons or military victory. But as he said, if the Germans were unable to sieze glory when he gave them the chance, then they deserved to go down in flames.

                So a lot of the rest of the Nazi leadership were busily working on their own mad delusions of course. Tehey all knew they'd lost the war by 1943 - but they kept on fighting, hoping for something to come up. And lots of them were expecting to ally with the UK and US to finish off the Soviet Union.

                Himmler was planning to "save some jews" as bargaining chips, so that he could make an anti-Soviet alliance in exchange for not killing them.

                Goering wanted to be in charge, though God knows why. Perhaps he was too high on morphine at this point to care? But what shocked them all at the end was the realisation that Hitler no longer gave a fuck about Germany. He wanted to burn everything he could reach, and ordered the destruction of the little infrastructure and industry that Germany had left. What did he care about whatever population survived the war, since he wasn't planning to?

                So we're now basically hoping that Putin's not so irrational and such an egotist, that he'd rather let the world burn than go quietly. Like Hitler, he's just spent 2 years in a bunker, almost never leaving. Just in this case its been Covid self-isolation. What effect has that had on his mental state? While I'd imagine a few of his allies are now starting to look at their options, and realise their boss maybe no longer shares the same objectives as them.

                His reaction to these sanctions should be telling. If we tank the Russian economy, and he doesn't care, then clearly he is no longer planning for the long term. Even if, like the senior Nazis, nobody seems to have quite been able to admit it to themselves.

                Not that Putin is Hitler of course. It's just the historical parallels fit so well in some ways. Particularly for those around him, who might want to have some stake in the future of Russia after Putin's fall/death.

                1. bombastic bob Silver badge
                  Megaphone

                  Re: "Where does Putin nuke that wouldn't actually hasten his own end?"

                  Not that Putin is Hitler of course

                  Don't be so sure... the comparison is becoming clearer In My Bombastic Opinion...

                  If nothing else, he's a short statured control freak with delusions of world domination and an army that's capable of starting a war of conquest in Europe in response to perceived grievances by neighboring countries, while simultaneously lying to his own people about it and stifling protests and dissent through fear and intimidation.

                  But, admittedly, Hitler was a better general. Putin's tactics seem to be focused around TERROR and INTIMIDATION, which is why he has a 40 mile long convoy with an obvious destination just sitting there waiting to be strafed, why he sent assassins to take out Zelenskyy (and they were 'eliminated'), why this has been the opposite of Gulf War I from Putini's perspective, yotta yotta and his army's morale is at an all time low from what I understand. And there may be a bit of an attitude about ethnic Ukrainians not dissimilar to the way Hitler treated Jewish people.

                  And evil men do evil. There's also that, yeah.

                  1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

                    Re: "Where does Putin nuke that wouldn't actually hasten his own end?"

                    bombastic bob,

                    Hitler was always planning a genocide from the start. It's in Mein Kampf - if you can make yourself read it (don't it's a terrible book - in both senses of the word). That puts him into a special, very small league table of evil. Several genocides really - as he wanted to kill all the Jews but also kill large numbers of the Slavic peoples, just keeping enough of them around to be slave labour for the Germans that he'd install in their former territories.

                    Putin is vicious and callous - and doesn't give a fuck about human life. See what he did to Grozny in order to recaputure it in 1999/2000 - which was basically to destroy it with artillery. That's what they're doing to Kharkiv and Mariupol now - using multiple launch rocket systems with explosive warheads and cluster bombs. On civilian targets. That and heavy artillery. The death toll will be horrifying.

                    But he did try to do it without the massive butchers bill first. And killed a lot of his paratroopers and Spetznaz units in incredibly stupidly planned operations in the process. So I think he's got that Soviet disregard for human life, but I don't think he's actively out to kill people unless its useful to him.

                    In one other way he's not like Hitler. His army is crap. I've been reading some debate amongst military anaylsts. Pretty much everyone agrees the invasion plan was shit. But the implementation has been a complete clusterfuck. And they've had to have operational pauses to let the logistics catch up after only 2 or 3 days! But they're only 50km from the border. General Paulus' pause, in his original plan for Operation Barbarossa, was at Smolensk (which was about halfway to Moscow). And his supply lines were by rail and horse and cart. Their logistics plan seems to be, "Fuck it! I'm sure it'll be fine." If they try that while invading Poland, then the Poles will take great delight in taking them apart. And heaven knows what the US A10s will do to them, lined up on the roads like that.

              2. bombastic bob Silver badge
                Pirate

                Re: "Where does Putin nuke that wouldn't actually hasten his own end?"

                There is a very real possibility that he will use nuclear weapons not to save himself, but to take everyone else with him.

                This is why Russia (i.e. the people themselves) needs to make Putin go away. It could very well be their own survival at stake.

                Apparently Putin is already rounding up protesters, but the protests continue. But protests are not enough. I'm surprised if Putin's generals aren't waiting for the right time for a coup d'état, or something very very similar.

          2. lglethal Silver badge

            Re: "NOW is your time to shine!"

            Considering that South Ossetia and Transnistria are not Russian territory - merely Russian recognised "States", but which are not internationally recognised as such, then it would merely be Georgia reclaiming it's own land from rebels. Same with Moldova.

            OK the Kuril Islands are actually Russian territory, but then that was just me being fanciful, Japan has a defence force which is categorically forbidden to make war except in defence, so that was never going to happen. The various Stan's realigning borders though, if any of them are particularly pissed about any specific border, then I could see now being a good time to forcefully start conversations about realigning those borders, Moscow is a little more distracted and a lot less able to do anything about a unilateral movement in those areas...

          3. DS999 Silver badge

            I don't see that happening

            You're assuming Russian generals would obey a Putin order to launch a nuke, and the poor kid in a silo or mobile launch vehicle would obey such an order from a general. I'm not saying they definitely would or would not disobey such an order, but Putin would have to worry about what happens either way.

            If the order was obeyed he's a mass murderer who will be everyone's kill list and forced to spend whatever remains of his life in hiding - and anyone willing to be around him after that would know they are certain to become collateral damage when he's taken out via drone strike or worse if he ever leaves the Kremlin's basement. If he's in his palace outside of town instead where civilian casualties and damage to Russian heritage would not be a concern you bring down the entire structure and bury him alive.

            If the order was not obeyed he's on the kill list for enough patriotic generals and enough of those around him who decide he's an imminent danger to the Russian nation and its people and must be killed even at the risk of their own life in case he's obeyed next time.

            1. mcswell

              Re: I don't see that happening

              Putin's nuclear threats, and his questionable stability, have gotten me thinking. What country in its right mind entrusts the launching of nuclear weapons to one person? And that goes for the US, too. Trump was bad, but I don't think he was that nuts. But that doesn't mean some future president might not be.

              Maybe it's time to bring back the Roman experiment, the Triumvirate. It takes three people's decision to launch nukes. The full Triumvirate need not be given much power beyond that, but they should have at least that, and each member should have their own personal security force and their own chain of succession.

              And at least Russia, US and China should put this in place, for their own security and peace (pun intended) of mind; and preferably all nuclear nations should. Since we already have a tripartite division of powers in the US, the Triumvirate could be the President, either the Majority Leader or the President pro tempore of the Senate, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

              1. Binraider Silver badge

                Re: I don't see that happening

                You may be surprised to learn that the UK is the only country that directly entrusts it's Captains to be capable of independent nuclear launch.

                US and others require communication with HQ to proceed.

                One key reason for the UK capability is that, no matter what you do to our little island, you can be assured that our enemies don't have a country left.

                1. EvilDrSmith

                  Re: I don't see that happening

                  Yes, but only under specific circumstances (No messages from the Admiralty, and Radio 4 being off air, I think it is...)

                  Other than that, it's a dual-key system.

                  The PM can authorise the use of nuclear weapons, but cannot order their use.

                  The head of the Navy (with the authority of the monarch - the head of state, because the armed forces serve the state, not the government) can order their use, but only if authorised by the PM.

              2. DS999 Silver badge

                Re: I don't see that happening

                The US system doesn't trust one person either. Trump could have pushed a "button" (or whatever the football contains) but that only passes on an order with the necessary codes or whatever to launch. The order would not have been executed if there was a sudden order out of the blue to nuke Iran or something crazy like that.

                It is during tenuous times like these where Russia is invading its neighbor and its unstable leader is talking about nuclear weapons that you'd have to worry about the chain of command being less protective. They would have to be concerned that the president knows something about the current situation they don't.

        2. Binraider Silver badge

          Only a fool fights a a war on two fronts. And we are fighting 12.

          -Londo Mollari

          An alliance of non-nuclear powers with grudges against Russia could absolutely make a move.

          This with put Putin in an untenable position to continue. The question is will he resort to President Clarke's schorched earth in the process?

          All the Babylon 5 references today. But seemed relevant.

          1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

            I would'nt be surprised if the Ukrainian president echo this (since we're into B5 references)

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzJaQtZty5M

        3. 9Rune5

          I'm actually super surprised Georgia hasnt already moved to retake South Ossetia.

          No can do. The majority of the people there do not welcome the Georgians.

          That is what started that mess in the first place; people rebelling against their Georgian overlords. Depending on your world view, Putin either took advantage of the situation or liberated the ossetians. Or both.

          Either way, the Georgian military would have to fight not only the russians still stationed there, but also the locals. And they run the very real risk that Putin will simply take Tbilisi at the end.

          It is my belief that Putin sped up the negotiations by showing that it would be easy to capture Tbilisi. Georgia folded and two regions are still in play (Abkhazia is rarely mentioned, but my Georgian wife says Georgia have no control there). I think he wanted to repeat that strategy now, but met with a more substantial opposition. Georgia was burdened with a weak president (these days a jail bird), but Ukraine seems very different in this regard too.

          There are fundamental issues at hand. At what point can a group of people secede? Why was it okay for Taiwan to secede from China? Why was it not okay for Catalonia? Why was it not okay for South Ossetia? Why was it okay for Kosovo to secede?

          That leads to the question of what happens after mass migrations. Is Abkhazia a muslim region? Since when? Same goes for Kosovo. First dibs? Majority rule? What?

          It seems NATO and Russia both answer these question depending on what gives them a chance to expand their territories. The Swedish diplomat Carl Bildt, to name one, had opposing views on this. It would be interesting to watch him debate himself into a corner.

          (Either way, Putin needs to stop his aggression -- the situation became too messy the minute the idiots shot down that passenger aircraft back in 2012 or so)

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            There are fundamental issues at hand. At what point can a group of people secede?

            Why was it okay for Taiwan to secede from China?

            They didn't. China seceded from them. The Kuomintang lost the Chinese civil war to the Communists and so retreated to Taiwan. They even kept the UN Security Council seat and mostly the interantional recognition that they were still "the real China". Until Nixon went to China, and started a process where most countries recognised the People's Republic of China, and they got the UN Security Council seat, and in fact the whole thing - as the Republic of China got kicked out of the UN entirely. Hence the name Taiwan or even in some sports "Chinese Taipei" - when the country is still the Republic of China. Everybody pretends they're still a province of China that just happnens to be a bit awkward about it. And hopes the rest of China will eventually recognise reality, rather than try what Putin's just done in Ukraine to force the point.

            Why was it okay for Kosovo to secede?

            Because the Serbs were on their third genocidal war in 10 years (Croatia and then Bosnia), and so NATO governments decided they'd had enough and did something, rather than wait for the corpses to pile up like the last two times. It's still diplomatically awkward. Spain for example doesn't recognise Kosovo as an independent state because they also don't want to tempt the Catalans or the Basques to get ideas.

            It seems NATO and Russia both answer these question depending on what gives them a chance to expand their territories.

            The difference is here that Kosovo isn't NATO territory. Whereas Crimea has been annexed, and is part of Russia - and most of the populations of Transnistria, Donetsk, Luhansk, South Ossetia and Abkhazia have been given Russian passports, to go with the Russian "peacekeeping" troops stationed there. And their leaders who often answer to Moscow, whereas NATO has attempted to set up genuinely representative governments.

            NATO got involved in Bosnia and then Kosovo because our governments were shamed into it by the people, who'd had enough of seeing the slaughter and expected our governments to do something about it. They weren't government policy taken with the expectation of national gain - they were actually drains on our resources.

            Russia got into Crimea out of greed for territory. South Ossetia & Abkhazia, Luhansk and Donetsk were about destablising Georgia and Ukraine - they were leverage. Conflicts that Putin could turn on and off in order to screw with their politics and diplomacy.

            Catalonia, like Scotland and Quebec, should have been granted an independence referendum - given how consistent the support is for separatist parties in Catalonia. But sadly the rest of Spain does not agree.

        4. Blank Reg Silver badge

          The UN could encourage further domestic trouble for Putin by declaring that any region of Russia that wishes to break away will be immediately recognized as a legitimate independent country., unless they would rather join some other country.

          Why should Putin be the only one that can unilaterally decide what land belongs to which country?

      2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: yeah right

          "You mean the country that wont let yank cargo planes overfly to resupply Ukraine ?"

          The USA is actually using German air bases as staging areas as they move troops and equipment around Europe to counter the Russian threat to NATO states. I suspect that most, or perhaps all, direct aid ("defensive weapons only", whatever that means) that the US is sending to Ukraine will also pass through Germany.

      3. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        I wonder how Kaspersky will do once Putin has been ousted...

        Unrelated, mil.ru is no longer claiming to be a tea pot.

    5. EvilDrSmith

      I understood that the threat was that if Sweden and Finland sought to join NATO that there would be 'military and political consequences.'

      Which I suspect is the sort of thing to make the Swedes and Finns more keen than ever to join NATO.

      However, not quite the outright threat to invade suggested by the reports seen by UCAP.

    6. Dagg

      Actually one way to lose a war is to open another front. Just as the Nazis.

    7. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      What’s going on, El Reg?

      UCAP .... 209 posts • joined 1 Jul 2020 ...... and silver badged?

      Reports over the weekend suggest that Putin is now threatening to invade Finland and Sweden. .... UCAP

      What/Whose reports ? Supporting links please otherwise it can be deemed as pathetic nonsense.

      1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

        Re: What’s going on, El Reg?

        Anonymous posts are not shown in the comment roll, but they do count towards the badge.

        One of sources is here:

        https://news.yahoo.com/russia-threatens-military-political-consequences-175354322.html

        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          Re: What’s going on, El Reg?

          Thanks for the additional free info for intel, Solmyr ibn Wali Barad, which is always how everything works best and at a pace which is leading.

          The human race must be systemically prone to being punitively retarded in not realising that simple observation, with all the available evidence which abounds, highlighting the shenanigans requiring secrecy and obfuscation to prevail in order to not render practitioners worthily in dread fear for the lives. Such though is always only a temporary respite allowing them to compound their crimes and implicate others, who may or may not be destined for scapegoathood and the carrying of an explosive can to be passed on to others if any other fools to be fooled and used as useful useless tools can be found.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Stop

    "if the data is safe from physical compromise then it's doubly so from virtual"

    I completely disagree with that sentence.

    I think it is way harder these days to secure from virtual intrusion than from physical.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: "if the data is safe from physical compromise then it's doubly so from virtual"

      "I think it is way harder these days to secure from virtual intrusion than from physical."

      Nah. If you unplug, they'll have to get physical before they can get virtual. This does not work the other way around.

      1. stiine Silver badge

        Re: "if the data is safe from physical compromise then it's doubly so from virtual"

        All in all, I'd consider that a defeat.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: "if the data is safe from physical compromise then it's doubly so from virtual"

          "All in all, I'd consider that a defeat."

          Why? Because you can no longer access Facebook and other useless time-sinks from your work computers?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "if the data is safe from physical compromise then it's doubly so from virtual"

        The problem with unplugging is that you can't get any work done. It becomes a sort of self-inflicted denial of service attack.

        It could be far more interesting to see how much internet crime diminishes if we rip all the Russian AS numbers out of the BGP map. They're welcome to hack amongst themselves.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: "if the data is safe from physical compromise then it's doubly so from virtual"

          "The problem with unplugging is that you can't get any work done."

          Oh, horseshit. In fact, quite the opposite ... ALL you can get done on an unplugged network is work, because there is no way of accessing antisocial-media time-sinks.

          Until some smart-ass manages to install Decwar or VTtrek, of course ...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "if the data is safe from physical compromise then it's doubly so from virtual"

            The horseshit is on the side of the morons who all wanted to go cloud because they could for once say something about It that sounded half intelligent (on account of the "cloud" expression being nebulous enough to cover any absence of true insight).

      3. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

        Re: "if the data is safe from physical compromise then it's doubly so from virtual"

        How do you unplug AWS or Azure?

    2. Chairo

      Re: "if the data is safe from physical compromise then it's doubly so from virtual"

      Obligatory XKCD reference: https://xkcd.com/538/

  3. Flywheel

    If ever you get the chance to watch "Occupied" - saw it on Netflix a while back - you'll get some idea of the Russian mindset and methods - it was truly chilling.

    In other news, my newly set up, self-host web server took a tremendous beating over the weekend - I mean, I'd seen intrusion attempts before but never on this scale. Someone must be pretty desperate to use my computing power!

    1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      It's a good show, but I'm not sure that Netflix are noted for the accuracy of their insight into the "Russian Mindset", whatever that is. Of the Russians paying attention - and given the state of the Rouble this morning, that's most of them - I doubt they share many goals in common with their leader.

    2. TimMaher Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: In other news.

      Yeah and my Eve Online connection has been dropping randomly for the past few days.

      Coincidence surely?

      Anyway, I hope that your server survives.

      Mine has a tinfoil hat in the pocket.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: In other news.

        I would have thought that, if anything, Eve severs would have had a lighter load without all the Russians, unless they're all DDoS'ing it again due to sour grapes.

    3. jake Silver badge

      You honestly think a program designed to titillate the drooling great unwashed masses can provide insight into the psyche of an entire real-world nation?

      They sure saw you coming, didn't they.

      Oh, look, some yummy Kool-Aid!

    4. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

      "If ever you get the chance to watch 'Occupied'"

      The plot doesn't make sense. Russia occupies Norway for refusing to produce oil and gas? Russia produces oil and gas and it would be grinning from ear to ear over the price spikes.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What if Russians voted for Zelensky?

    Russia isn't Putin and Putin isn't Russia, he's just a man surrounded by lot of incompetent yes men. He's does *not* represent the people, nor their country. Clearly not elected or popular as he claims, he imprisons his opponents and kills his rivals, runs fake elections. You don't do that if you're actually a popular elected leader with the backing of the people!

    Russians could vote for Zelensky and have the sort of freedoms Ukraine has. As a real elected leader Zelensky would be more representative of Russian people than Putin, because Zelensky would be *their* choice, not Putin choosing Putin. Of course the Russian people are not free, Putin could never allow that free vote because they don't choose him!

    But there is a group of Russians that can vote for Zelensky. Russian *soldiers* could vote for Zelensky.

    They could vote by abandoning their vehicles and surrendering. The fewer soldiers under Putin's command, the fewer soldiers he has to suppress the people back at home. The safer their families are from Putin. The more quickly Putin falls from power (and off a balcony) and the better their life could be.

    They have to be quick though, all the new weaponry Ukraine has now, it makes it easier and safer to simply point shoot and kill them. They need to get those white flags out and get out of their vehicles ASAP. They've seen the drone footage, that Turkish drone didn't stop and ask them to surrender first, it was push-button-Russians-dead-sip-coffee-next-Russian-target, not even a warning.

    1. b0llchit Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: What if Russians voted for Zelensky?

      They already did vote for the Russian equivalent and down voted the establishment. The problem is that the opposition got sidelined and killed just before they could establish themselves for real. The establishment pretends to have won by means of manipulation, brute force and suppression. Pop the bubble... Haven't you understood the newspeak of the Russian media yet?

    2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: What if Russians voted for Zelensky?

      The more quickly Putin falls from power (and off a balcony)

      Traditionally, I believe defenestration is the preferred Russian technique.

      1. Potemkine! Silver badge

        Re: What if Russians voted for Zelensky?

        I thought it was in favour in Prague?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Airgap Russia?

    It occurred to me that disconnecting Russia and any countries that peer with Russia from the internet might be the safest thing, a nice airgap. It is probably a daft idea on many levels, and very likely to be quite impractical, especially if we want to keep telephone contact, but an interesting thought experiment perhaps?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Airgap Russia?

      If you would try this at IP level, maybe, but identifying the Autonomous Systems that are geographically in Russia shouldn't be that hard, at which point you can rip them out BGP.

      I think this is the time I may have to re-introduce geo-blocking to my websites. It's not perfect as they often use sites they have hacked already as a proxy, but it's still an improvement over the regular web security. I already moved the 2FA check to the logon page instead of being it a second step because that still leaves morons think a dictionary attack would work.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Airgap Russia?

        I actually meant something far more physical. If (and its a big if) there are a few cables coming out of Russia, just cut them off. I mean *airgap*, not something logical. Basically cut the whole of Russia from the internet. Then anyone physically inside Russia would simply be unable to reach any of their botnets. Russia wants its own internet anyway (https://www.theregister.com/2017/12/01/russia_own_internet/), so this should help them along :-). I am pretty sure this wouldn't be possible even if we wanted to, but as I said, an interesting thought experiment.

        1. vogon00

          Re: Airgap Russia?

          OK, I wrote something on this a day or so ago - see my post in this this thread.

          I don't agree with a physical method of air-gapping Russia involving damage to infrastructure, mainly because we want to be able to un-gap them once things settle down and Russia is playing nicely, or much nicer than it is at the moment. That's hard to do, and expensive, if someone has stuck an axe through the fibre(s) or pulled up a few km with a tugboat.

          So much easier if, as another AC has said, it is done with BGP at the AS level...no soldiers, no damage, just a bit of blackhole routing which is reversible if necessary.

          The hardest part of this is to persuade all the different entities at the far end of the fibres linking Russia to the Internet to act as one and degrade or cease service.

          Air-gapping Russia has the immediate benefit of preventing their offensive 'cyber warfare'. It's also cheap leverage for the western states.

          Personally, I think we MUST air-gap them and only re-instate their internet privileges once they have totally withdrawn from the Ukraine and repaired the damage they have caused to Ukrainian infrastructure...in other words, significant 'reparations'.

          I'm sure this idea will fall down in a number of areas, however I say try it and teach the barmy Russian leader that we still have something Russia wants that can be taken away from him due to bad behaviour.

          Oh yeah - why the F is RT/Russia Today still available on the UK's Free-to-air 'Freeview' broadcast TV network? Last thing I want is Putin's dis-information broadcast directly onto my TV! Please, please drop that LCN from the MUX:-)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Airgap Russia?

            I didn't mean physical damage, at least not anything that involves more than a few minutes work, but at some level there must be bits of equipment that can just be switched off or cables pulled. Clearly it isn't going to be down to pulling a single piece of wire out or switching off one box, of course. I have no idea what the connections look like physically, but some kind of physical disconnection that can't be reinstated in any way remotely. I don't know anything about BGP, only that misconfiguring it can break things, but if that could work then fine, maybe, until someone else can break in remotely and put it back again. I would prefer something physical that can be quickly and easily reinstated when appropriate.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Airgap Russia?

              I would assume that countries big enough to have communications satellites, would have multiple connections to the internet inside other countries, that go through their own satellites, so they can't be cut off totally. At a minimum they need enough to be able to still wage cyberwar

              If the world cuts Russia's fibre connections, then we should not complain when they cut all the oceanic fibres. It is easy to do, and it's what I would do. I suspect it would do far more economic damage to the West than to Russia.

              Although it would probably be a plus for europe, by harming US based cloud hegemony.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Airgap Russia?

                That's a fair point about retaliation. I think that possibility alone would be enough to scupper the thought.

          2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

            Re: Airgap Russia?

            Last thing I want is Putin's dis-information broadcast directly onto my TV! .... vogon00

            Don’t turn on the channel, vogon00. That fixes it. It aint rocket science. Democracies allow alternate views, fascist states don’t.

            1. jake Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: Airgap Russia?

              Hey, amfM ... you forgot ::mic drop::

            2. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

              Re: Airgap Russia?

              https://www.topnewslive.net/the-war-in-ukraine-russian-authorities-ban-media-from-using-invasion/

            3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

              Re: Airgap Russia?

              You know shit has got worrying when AMFM is making serious, coherent posts.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Airgap Russia?

                You should attempt to parse his output more often. There are some gems hidden in there. Shame he likes to obfuscate his point so much ... although in the last couple months he has been quite a bit more readable.

                1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

                  Re: Airgap Russia?

                  I do sometimes like to read his posts, but often I find all my spoons used up by trying to parse client requirements into something sensible, so don't have the mental capacity left to do the same with our Martian friend.

            4. vogon00

              Re: Airgap Russia?

              Fair point....I don't have to watch it if I don't want to. Same goes for other viewers.

              I am all for people making their own decisions, and exercising free will as is their right, but it's just that it feels wrong to allow the government of a state most of us revile ATM for their piss-poor behaviour. Also, they are supposedly very, very good at disinformation.

              There really is no excuse for invading, let alone killing civvies. Russia - get the fuck out of Ukraine.

          3. Tail Up

            Re: Airgap Russia?

            And you may speak Russian freely here, vagon00

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Airgap Russia?

            So what if it costs a lot to repair ? That would be Russias problem if they want to rejoin the world, along with paying for damage caused to the Ukraine.

            So what if it takes a long time to repair ? That would be Russias problem, and anyway will take less time than it will to repair the Ukraine.

            Call both consequences a punishment if you like.

            By opposing this I can only think you want to be able to reconnect to Russia asap for your own benefits ?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Airgap Russia?

              No, if Cretin Putin decides he wants to stop the war you want Russia to be able to manage the withdrawal logistics. Having to repair physical damage would delay that by weeks, whereas an electronic fix could be measured in minutes (plus propagation time).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Airgap Russia?

        Won't help with attacks launched from Botnets or proxies on this side of the digital curtain.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Airgap Russia?

          That depends on where they are controlled from. Anything controlled from within Russia would be unable to control botnets on the other side. Of course, if they have people located outside their borders then they would still have control, but they *may* also be more reachable by the law.

    2. Binraider Silver badge

      Re: Airgap Russia?

      As appealing as this may seem, the internet is one of the few routes we can overcome the state owned media. We need comms routes open to those channels to remind ordinary Russians why they've seen the Rouble destroyed, again. Why their airlines aren't allowed to fly. Etc.

      It's no accident that in interviews with regular Russians, it's the older generation probably with no internet that believe the tosh on broadcast media. And no accident that the protestors in Russia, are generally the a younger, more technologically aware generation.

      But targetted efforts against government institutions, absolutely. Vandalise, deface, deny. By any and all means necessary.

  6. badflorist

    "If you're not behaving as if your livelihood, even your life, depends on this..."

    Frantic much? A lot of fear, uncertainty and delusion in this one.

    The whole article reads as if everyone is aboard an engaged nuclear submarine.

    If you're depending on "password123" to save your life, GAME OVER!

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      But people's lives may depend on it. If you're in Ukraine and running a hospital for example. But also having a database of information that might be useful to the Russian government is now a major risk, if Russian troops turn up at your datacentre and ask for everything. Not a problem if it's just a list of electricity subscribers, but a mobile phone company holds records of people's text messages, a bookseller knows which of its customers have bought material not appproved by the Russian government. All this sort of information could be useful to a dictatorship with a sudden internal security problem - i.e. that it's just conquered a hostile population, and wants to govern them.

      1. badflorist

        "...that it's just conquered a hostile population..."

        Sorry, this isn't that, but we wish it was.

        I know this site is about IT and as such is spinning up the IT angle, but conquering is all very physical, very visible. especially in places like the Ukraine where everything out in the open is a physical target.

        if there's an air strike that can have it's roots traced back to anything computer related, then it's a tactical strike. However, when the jets, tanks, troops and mortars show up to conquer... "securePassword" just doesn't matter.

        Ask any of those fleeing the Ukraine: "How secure is your password?" How demeaning would that feel to those people?

        To be a bit rude, using the current war in the Ukraine for pushing some computer security agenda is misguided. Ever wonder what the refugees might think *IF* they even bother to read such an article? It's a REAL war, not some high profile computer breach... ACTUAL WAR!

    2. juice Silver badge

      > Frantic much? A lot of fear, uncertainty and delusion in this one.

      Fear, yes. Uncertainty, yes. Delusion? You might want to look in the mirror...

      Russia has been dabbling with cyber hacking, espionage, propaganda and theft for the last few decades. While tacitly supporting "private" hacking groups, so long as they were attacking and stealing from non-Russians.

      Now, with Russia actively being at war and with embargoes slamming into place against them, we're going to get a lot of things happening.

      First, a lot more of the tools being used for state-level hacking are going to leak into the public domain, simply because they're being used more. I'd expect a flurry of new zero-day exploits to appear Real Soon Now. And once those are picked up by commercial black hats, there won't be a safe server in the world.

      Secondly, as with North Korea, Russian hackers are going to be targeting anything with financial value that can either be stolen or ransomed. Because their economy is about to seriously tank and they'll be desperate for money in general and foreign currency in particular.

      Thirdly, you're going to get lots of amateur "affiliated" people on both sides going on hacking and defacement sprees.

      And so on.

      It's all going to get very very messy, and thinking "it won't affect me" is frankly more delusional than expecting trouble.

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Flags Up

      Let's start with the fact that the city in question is named Київ, which is spelt "Kyiv" in the Roman alphabet, and is pronounced "Keev", not Kiev, which comes from the name the Russians gave the city during the Soviet occupation, Киев, because the Russian language has different vowel sounds to Ukrainian. Hint: It's not a Russian city, and has never been ethnically Russian.

      Then we'll move onto why your post is offensive and tone-deaf.

      1. Tail Up

        Re: Flags Up

        Кий Kiy Kiev

        in ancient Rus

        stick with the History

        not with Wikipedia

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: Flags Up

          It may have escaped you, but Kyiv is not (currently) occupied by ancient Russians. The Ukrainian population of Kyiv are culturally and linguistically distinct from ethnic Russians, due to the history of the city - historically it's not just Russia who have invaded it, so the language, and thus pronunciation of the name of the city, has been influenced by other Slavic languages. Personally, I think that today, nobody should be invading, and perhaps we should allow the people who currently live there to decide what to call it?

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