back to article Russian charged with smuggling US counterintel tech to Motherland

A Russian national has been hit with a five-count indictment alleging he smuggled hardware and software used for counterintelligence operations out of the US to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) and North Korea. Ilya Balakaev's indictment [PDF] was unsealed Friday in Brooklyn, New York. He's being charged with …

  1. Lil Endian Silver badge

    Altair 4X

    The Altair 4X is, of course, not to be confused with the Altair (α Aquilae) or the venerable Altair 8800.

    The former would certainly give the 4X a thorough "gas detecting" soak test, assuming that the 4X has Ingress Protection ratings approaching Graham's number. The latter, it's fair to say, is owed a debt of gratitude by many of us here for its part in our choice of hobby or career, and likely the 4X does too.

    Cheers to the Altairs!

  2. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Kaspersky said steals credentials stored in web browsers including Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Brave and others

    So don't store credentials in web browsers, just in case. Storing credentials there is easy, is convenient and is unsafe.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My immortal "Password124" throws off most bots.

      1. Grogan

        I think perhaps you jest, but sometimes stupid shit like that is all it takes to foil attacks (the omission of the 3 lol)

        I have a stupid PHPBB forum because I have very few people using it anymore and very rarely at that, yet I still want to have one available on my site, and didn't want to spend any coin on vbulletin or anything these days. Forums generally aren't popular, but I don't do social media. It's such a target that it's almost impossible to eliminate spam bot registrations. They know all the captchas and have algorithms for guessing challenge questions.

        I finally thought of one that worked. "How many fingers on your left hand?". Bots... keywords: fingers, hand... 5, right? Wrong, 4 fingers (and a thumb). SOME humans can figure it out though... heh

        1. ThatOne Silver badge

          If it is a rather low traffic place, only allow manual registering, meaning the forum admin creates accounts on demand.

          We found out while making a truly impossible CAPTCHA, something no man or machine could ever guess (only a single person ever managed to get past it in 10+ years!). Bots and spammers would simply keep trying to guess the CAPTCHA, but legit potential users would eventually send us an angry complaint email, to which we routinely answered with an apology, an explanation, and the credentials for their new account... Worked like a charm, and didn't prevent lots of people from registering. As an added benefit, besides never any spam at all (maybe one a year), you only got the users who really wanted to get in, and as a result were passionate and interesting to talk with.

        2. Lil Endian Silver badge

          Are you pulling my phalanges?

          Wrong, 4 fingers (and a thumb).

          Erm, nope!

          There's no definitive answer to "is the thumb a finger?". I agree with you that if we want to differentiate between the opposable unit that it's handy (ahem) to use the terminology as you say. But physiologically there's no consensus.

          In taijutsu there is though. An attack on the thumb is oyagoroshi (parent killer/parricide) while a technique on "fingers" is kogoroshi (child killer/infanticide). Either way, they both really hurt!

  3. Joe Dietz

    Is linking to the Kaspersky report that you quoted at length under sanction? Cite your sources please.

  4. martinusher Silver badge

    Spectrum analyzers?

    >Spectrum analyzers of the kind Balakaev is accused of smuggling are often used to detect radio signals to identify hidden surveillance devices, while the signal generators are often used to securely transmit information as a part of covert operations.

    Those might be the portable devices, the sort that you can get off Alibaba for $75. Except that you'd be better off getting them from a US source because there are numerous variants, some of dubious quality. Bench devices are rather more expensive but the sort that might be used for building, testing and repairing 'surveillance devices' are relatively cheap these days, especially on the used market. Amazon sell a bunch of different units.

    > Altair 4X gas detector,

    A portable device used for mine safety, etc. Can be bought through Amazon.

    I'd guess this was less about 'clandestine exports to the FSB' and more about 'ordering stuff for a friend without realizing that you've just become fresh meat for some ultra hungry enforcement operation. Its the sort of mistake anyone could make (including me -- it would never occur to me that commodity technology, a lot of it "Made in China" anyway, would be on the US's banned list, much less that there were bureaucrats tracking this stuff on my dime (I'm a US taxpayer).)

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like