Russia

Even If Dana Rohrabacher Was a Russian Asset, Would He Know?

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher
Dana Rohrabacher leaves a House Republican Conference meeting on October 7, 2015 in Washington.

Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican who has represented Huntington Beach, California for 14 terms on Capitol Hill, has a bummer of a nickname: Putin’s Favorite Congressman. On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that, during a closed meeting of House Republicans, Representative Kevin McCarthy—another Californian and, like Rohrabacher, a stalwart ally of President Donald Trump—said (jokingly, it seems) “there’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.”

Then, on Friday, the New York Times reported that five years ago the FBI tried to tell Rohrabacher that Russian spies were literally trying to recruit him, to turn the congressman into a Russian intelligence asset. He told the Times not to worry so much: “I can’t imagine someone in a position of power in the United States government not fully appreciating the fact that whoever he’s dealing with who’s a foreigner that he doesn’t know is trying to influence him.”

No biggie! Rohrabacher is totally onto the Russian spies. And for sure, nobody is seriously claiming that Dana Rohrabacher is taking money from or giving secrets to the Russian government. Except his quote to the Times is a little scary in its predictability. Psychology and behavioral economics say that Rohrabacher almost certainly doesn’t know how compromised he might be by years of friendship and meetings with Russians. “People think other people are more vulnerable to conflict of interest than they are,” says George Loewenstein, a behavioral economist at Carnegie Mellon University. And if you show them the numbers that say everyone is vulnerable? “They say, ‘it’s statistics,’ and they always think they’re at the favorable end of the distribution.”

In this, Rohrabacher is Congress’ version of a physician getting called on by a pharmaceutical sales rep. The reps do everything from pay for super-expensive travel to conferences and big-ticket speeches all the way down to handing out pens emblazoned with drug names and buying cheap lunches. And all of it—all of it—increases the likelihood that a doctor will prescribe the drug, no matter how objectively good the drug is.

Now, this fact used to be tough to get at. Studies of conflict of interest…

Android Pay is coming to Brazil, Russia, Spain, Taiwan, and Canada

Google is expanding its Android Pay mobile payment service to more markets, saying that soon it’ll be available in Brazil, Russia, Spain, Taiwan, and Canada. The company also promised that a streamlined mobile checkout experience would be coming soon for PayPal users, building on top of Google’s existing partnerships with Visa and Mastercard.

Reports surfaced this week that Android Pay would be available in more cities. Previously, only those in the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Singapore, Poland, New Zealand, Ireland, and a few others.

Android Pay launched two years ago as a competitor to Apple Pay and Samsung Pay,…

Did Russia Hack Macron? The Evidence Is Far From Conclusive

Meth Smokers Tried To Enter NSA HQ With Guns, Drugs And A Grenade, Government Claims

Leader of ‘En Marche !’ Emmanuel Macron addresses supporters after winning the French Presidential Election. Macron’s campaign was the subject of a hack, leading to a leak of 9GB of email data. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

It looks like Russia, it smells like Russia, so it’s probably Russia. So goes the current line of thinking in the security community as it tries to figure out who leaked reams of files pilfered from the campaign staff of the incoming French President Emmanuel Macron.

Take, for instance, FireEye, the cybersecurity firm credited with first identifying Democratic National Committee hackers known as APT28 and Fancy Bear as a Russian operation; that crew is now the number one suspect in the Macron attack, which saw data leaked Friday, just two days before the second round of the French election.

FireEye, as others have surmised, said the links between APT28 and the Macron hit are largely based on “TTPs” – tactics, techniques and procedures. The Macron attackers – from their phishing attempts to the public dissemination of data partly aided by Wikileaks’ Twitter account – used many of the same TTPs associated with previous APT28 activity, said FireEye’s head of cyberespionage intelligence John Hultqvist.

There were also two IP addresses both hosted in Europe, which served up phishing sites targeted at Macron’s En Marche campaign: onedrive-en-marche.fr and mail-en-marche.fr. Those sites, set up in March and April, were originally attributed by Trend Micro to Fancy Bear (which it dubbed Pawn Storm) before the leaks.

But Hultqvist could only say the attack was “probably” carried out by APT28, a group the U.S. government claimed was run out of the Kremlin’s…

Museum of Russian Icons

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Often they are images from the Gospels or of the Virgin Mary.
Many have burnished gold leaf. Shaun Ratcliffe (CC BY 2.0)
Front entrance to the Museum of Russian Icons. Vlad B (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Many icons on on wooden panels. Shaun Ratcliffe (CC BY 2.0)
Although housed in an old mill, the interior is completely renovated to show off the collections. Baseballfanatic85 (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Side and rear view, showing the modern extension. Courtesy of Dany Pelletier

The largest assemblage of Russian icons outside of Russia is not in New York or Paris or London. It’s across the street from quiet, manicured Central Park in the…