Russian hackers in the Soviet domain

Russian hackers in the Soviet domain Hacking has long been in the public eye, news reports of foreign gangs or lone teens in bedrooms seemingly able to take down governments with a few keystrokes. One of the more recent major cyberattacks is the recent theft of credit card data from US chain Target over the December holidays, in an attack that originated in Russia.

Nor is this an isolated incident – leading online security website The Hacker News provides a section dedicated to news about the Russian hacking and cyberwarfare scene. However, is there something more to cyber attacks originating in Russia and their chosen targets? There have been a few clear examples of nationalism being the push for Russian-based cyber attacks. In 2007 the government of Estonia was subject to a DDoS attack following the moving of a Soviet war memorial, which led to protests from Estonia’s Russian communities. The same was seen again in 2008, accompanying the Russian invasion of GeorgiaContinue reading

‘Papers, Please’ and ‘The Kite’: Post-Soviet imagery and emotional response in indie games

Originally posted on 29/01/14 at http://playing.global.vladstrukov.com/

The gaming community are no strangers to Soviet imagery in big-name titles; from the Command and Conquer series, to the Call of Duty franchise, the Soviet Union has often featured in a war-like and violent capacity. However, perhaps because they are not subject to the whims of publishers and advertising companies, an altogether different representation of the former Eastern Bloc can be found in the games of small indie developers.

The games Papers, Please developed by the US-born, Japan-based Lucas Pope and Ukrainian studio Anate’s The Kite, both take a different approach to the utilisation of Communist and post-Communist worlds to convey a message. Both games attracted international attention from the indie gaming community in the last two years for the powerful emotional responses they elicit, as well as intriguing gameplay and novel concepts. Continue reading

Scamming and racism in the Steam community

Originally posted on 04/02/14 at http://playing.global.vladstrukov.com/

Steam is a gaming distribution and play platform, available across the world and in a multitude of languages. Since accounts can contain up to hundreds of dollars worth of software and games, as well as the market for virtual goods in exchange for real cash, the software is particularly attractive to scammers.

One group often under fire for scamming and phishing attempts are Russian and Eastern European users, with the more elaborate schemes being featured on mainstream gaming websites. But why has Steam scamming almost synonymous with Russian users, potential victims deliberately avoiding Russian players?  Continue reading