Russian Cyber Attacks Targets and Purpose

Russian Cyber Attacks Targets and Purpose

Russian hackers are causing world wide problems.

Russian Cyber Attacks Targets and Purpose

By Joseph Wales and D. S. Mitchell


A Consistent Threat

Headlines linking Russia to a web of cyber attacks against a variety of sovereign nations has become daily bread for decision-makers and the public alike. Whether it’s the NotPetya attack, the recent shut down of the Colonial Pipeline, or meddling in foreign elections; Russia is a consistent and aggravating threat. Russia uses cyber operations alongside non-military and military methods to pursue its strategic goals. It views this as an ongoing information confrontation.

Back in Time

Russia began attacks on the United States in 1996 with the Moonlight Maze attack. The Moonlight Maze resulted in the theft of a massive amount of classified information from several U.S. government agencies. Those effected included NASA, the Department of Energy, the Defense Department, and numerous private sector entities and defense contractors. The attack caused a serious breach, compromising national security interests, strategies, and capabilities.

Ukraine Intimidation

Russian state-sponsored attacks are on the rise, most famously Russian cyber ninjas are behind the recent mischief in Ukraine. Several cyber events have  knocked out major government websites this month. This cyber-intrusion is aimed to intimidate society and destabilize the situation in the country, stopping the work in the public sector, and crushing citizens trust in the governing authorities.

What It Includes

Russia’s cyber warfare units employ hacker attacks, internet surveillance SORM technology, dissemination of  propaganda and misinformation, political trolling, and all means of social media manipulation. Most of these attacks, although not technically in house operations,  are still coordinated by the Russian FSB. The FSB replaced the notorious KGB, but a change in initials doesn’t change the mission.

How Many From Russia?

Over the past year, 58% of all cyber-attacks observed by Microsoft from nation-states came from Russia. Moreover, these attacks are increasingly effective, jumping from a 21% rate in 2020, to a 32% successful compromise rate in 2021. Russian nation-state attacks are increasingly targeting government agencies for intelligence gathering, which saw a hike from 3% to 53% in a year—these attacks target agencies involved in national security, defense, and foreign policy. The top three nations targeted by Russian cyber attacks were Ukraine, UK, and the United States.

Common Causes For Cyber Attacks

Most often, cyber-attacks occur because the attackers want something:

  • IT infrastructure
  • Clients’ lists
  • Customer database
  • Customers or staff’ email addresses and login details
  • Sensitive personal data
  • Customers’ financial details such as credit card data
  • Business’ financial details

Russian Motives

Putin’s motivation is different.  Putin life goal is to restore the territory lost with the collapse of the former Soviet Union. The Russian president views cyber-attacks as a natural extension for achieving his goals. For instance, how the Russian military hacked Olympic enemies for revenge, and how it hacked the Democratic National Committee to bolster Trump’s chances in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Russians are mainly interested in influence operations without physical manipulation.

Classic Influence Operation

What we saw in the 2016 U. S. elections was a classic influence operation. This was also Putin’s aim when hacking Russia’s perceived Olympic enemies. Russia wanted information it could use against these enemies in social media campaigns. Manipulation of the news, creating new mind sets, instigating social rifts.

China, A Different Animal

On the other hand, China has also been actively involved in passive cyber-attacks. However, in the case of China, their main focus seems to center on economic, technology both military and civilian. They are going after intellectual property and stealing it to improve their advantage in world trade. For instance, they infiltrated and copied the plans of the fighter jets F-35 and F-22. The Chinese now have the largest navy in the world, thanks to learning many western secrets. The issues of Hong Kong and Taiwan are just below the surface.

Any Cut Back Coming?

Evelyn Farkas, a former defense official for Obama, argued that the Russian government would not be stopping state-sponsored cyber-attacks against America or any other nation, unless the consequences  were so painful that continuation of such behavior would be unthinkable. Despite President Biden’s meeting with Putin recently, the Russians seem immovable, denying responsibility for their ongoing computer attacks. During their meeting, Biden argued that some crucial infrastructures such as energy and water systems should be off-limits to any type of attack. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is enough mettle in the whole of the U.S. government to go after Putin and/or Xi Jinping with a cyber sledge hammer. Unless Putin and his cyber ninja forces are caused real pain, the attacks will continue.


Patient Gets Genetically Modified Pig Heart

57 Year Old Gets Genetically Modified Pig Heart

57 year old American man gets genetically engineered pig heart in historic surgery.

57 Year Old Gets Genetically Modified Pig Heart

“It was either die or do this transplant. I want to live. I know it is a shot in the dark, but it is my last chance,” said the recipient of a genetically modified pig heart last week. 

By MAHINROOP PM and D. S. Mitchell


A Major Breakthrough 

American doctors have successfully transplanted a genetically modified pig heart into a desperately ill 57 year old patient. It is an unquestionable achievement, a breakthrough for medical science. The patient, David Bennet is doing well after the surgery. The organ transplant proved that a genetically modified animal heart can serve like a human heart without immediate rejection by the body. Bennet had been connected to Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation, a heart lung bypass machine, in order to remain alive. The patient was informed of the procedure’s risks and that the procedure was experimental with unknown risks before consenting to receive the heart transplant.


Because Bennet faced certain death without the Food and Drug Administration granted an emergency authorization for the surgery last week. The doctors at University of Maryland Medicine performed the procedure called Xenotransplantation.  Bennet had been on cardiac support for almost two months and couldn’t receive a mechanical heart pump because of an irregular heart beat. Neither could he receive a human transplant, because he had a history of treatment noncompliance.

Organ Shortage Crisis

“This was a breakthrough surgery and brings us one step closer to solving the organ shortage crisis. There are simply not enough human hearts available to meet the long list of potential recipients. We are proceeding cautiously, but we are also optimistic that this first in the world surgery will provide an important new option for patients in the future,” said Bartley P Griffith, Professor in transplant surgery at University of Maryland Medicine.

High Risk 

Although the process can potentially save thousands of lives, it comes with many risks including the chance of triggering a dangerous immune response. Such responses can trigger an immediate rejection of the organ, leading to the immediate death of the patient. A  new drug was combined with conventional anti-rejection drugs to suppress the immune system and hopefully will prevent Benet’s body from rejecting the foreign organ.

Ethical and Technical Hurdles

Doctors will monitor Bennet for the rest of his life to determine whether the transplant provides the hoped for lifesaving benefits vs complications. The ultimate focus of xenotransplantation research is on genetically modified pigs because of the physiologic similarities between pigs, human  and non-human primates. Revivicor, a biotechnology company located in Virginia provided the pig heart for the transplantation.

What The Future Offers

Transplant surgeons are hoping that recent advances will enable them to give more people animal organs. Physicians believe that the surgery will kickstart clinical xenotransplantation. As with everything, there are numerous ethical, as well as regulatory issues confronting the wholesale use of animal harvested hearts, and other organs, to sustain human life. Only time will tell.

Russian Mercenary Drama in Mali

Russian Mercenary Drama in Mali

Mali is a landlocked country in western Africa

Russian Mercenary Drama in Mali

By Nicholas Waithaka and D. S. Mitchell

Increasing Instability in Mali

Mali has been a hotbed of political unrest for decades, making it vulnerable to external interference from players like Russia and China. Over the past few months, reports indicate that the head of Mali’s military junta, Colonel Assimi Goita, has negotiated a deal that would bring approximately 1,000 mercenaries from the Wagner Group into the country. Mali has had escalating security and political problems, but a turn to international paramilitary actors may become the proverbial slippery slope.

A Spiderweb Of Interference

The Wagner group, first appeared in Ukraine in 2014, where it assisted the Russian military in the annexation of Crimea. Since then, a spiderweb of paramilitaries, mercenary organizations, and businesses interestingly linked to Vladimir Putin and Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin have emerged under the general name; the Wagner Group.

Encouraging Instability 

In Syria the Wagner Group supported embattled President Bashar al-Assad while securing a foothold in the country’s energy sector.  In other unstable areas around the world such as Libya, Sudan, Madagascar, Mozambique and now Mali, a Russian paramilitary group is providing military support to unpopular, and undemocratic governments. The Wagner Group has become a shorthand name for a mostly opaque and extensive network of mercenary services. In fact, U.S. intelligence services caution the benign name may disrupt our ability to think about what they do and how they operate.

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Lost Afghan Baby Reunited With Family

Lost Afghan Baby Reunited With Family

Despite all the bad news coming out of Afghanistan there was some good news.

Lost Afghan Baby Reunited With Family

At long last, some happy news out of Afghanistan. After an agonizing five months a baby lost during the chaotic American military evacuation has been reunited with family members in Kabul.

By D. S. Mitchell


Left With A Soldier

On August 19th, 2021 thousands of people rushed the Kabul airport trying to leave Afghanistan, in the wake of the U.S military withdrawal. Anyone who was watching on television saw the chaos that unfolded.  After twenty years of military occupation America was pulling out. In the chaos of the evacuation the father of a then 2 month old boy, Sohail Ahmadi, left him in the care of an Afghan Republican soldier. The boy and soldier somehow, yet unclear, became separated.

A Taxi Pick Up

A taxi driver told social service officials and reporters from Reuter’s News Service that he had found the baby alone and crying, abandoned on the floor of the airport. By his report, the driver searched the area for the child’s family but was unsuccessful. On his wife’s advice the man took the baby home. The couple’s initial attempts to locate the parents of Sohail were unsuccessful. The couple gave him the name Mohammad Abed. “If we had not found his family then we would have protected and raised him as our own child,” the taxi driver Hamid Safi told news reporters.

Mournful Goodbye

Sohail’s father, Mirza Ali Ahmadi, said he searched for 3 days at the airport for his missing son. In utter despair he said, he finally boarded a plane to the United States with his wife and their four other children. Months after the departure,  with the help of social media channels, several emergency relief agencies and local police, the relatives of Sohail were tracked down in Kabul just last week. It was at that time the boy was handed over to his grandfather.  The grandfather was elated, telling reporters that Sohail will be cared for by his aunt until he can be cleared to join his parents in the United States.

Tears of Sadness, Tears of Joy

It was a sad goodbye for the taxi driver, his wife,  and their three daughters. Mrs. Taxi Driver, Safi’s wife Farima said, “I felt responsible for him like a mother. He used to wake up a lot at night. Now when I wake up he is not there and that makes me cry. I am a mother. I understand he will not be with us always and he needs to be with his parents,”

Sohail’s Father 

‘We were in a bad condition these past five plus months,” Sohail’s  father reported, after they had had a video reunion, “but now that our son has been found we are happy,”  The case of Sohail Ahmadi has a happy ending, but for many other children separated from their families in a war torn world this outcome is rare and we should celebrate it.

BMW Previews Car That Changes Color

BMW Previews Car That Changes Color 

BMW is leading the way in real and virtual driving experience

BMW Previews Car That Changes Color

Editor: The German car company BMW recently showcased a “color changing” car at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The BMW iX Flow, employs “electronic ink technology” that makes it possible to change the car’s exterior color.  An app is used to trigger the color change. The company even claims energy efficiency. 

By Dani Davis


I saw this come up on Twitter and I said, “Hell, yeah!” Cool as shit. How many times have you loved a car, but the color just wasn’t you? A bright yellow Mercedes comes to mind. Well, BMW has come up with the solution to that problem. The company has developed a car with an ink coating that acquiesces to the driver’s mood with just the tap of an app on the owner’s phone. So, on to what I learned about BMW’s dive  into driver psychology.

The News

Quite literally, BMW has a car that can change its color on demand. The reason is that the exterior has an E Ink coating. The fascinating feature of E Ink is that it can cover the surface of an entire automobile. Believe it or not, this is similar to the technology used in Kindle e-book readers. The BMW’s color changing car was featured recently here in the United States at the CES 2022 Trade Show in Vegas, where it got cheers; and a few jeers from the Twitter-verse.

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The James Webb Telescope Deployed

The James Webb Telescope Deployed

The deployment of the James Webb telescope is a big damn deal. Congratulations, NASA.

The James Webb Telescope Deployed

Editor: JWST is a large infrared telescope with a 6.5-meter primary mirror. It will serve thousands of astronomers worldwide. The project is an international collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Canadian Space Agency. The telescope is named after James E. Webb, who was the administrator of NASA from 1961 to 1968 and played an integral role in the Apollo program. The James Webb Telescope will likely be pointing at stars and seeing its “first light” around mid-March. However, NASA says not to expect the first “showpiece” photos from Webb until May 24, 2022.

By D. S. Mitchell


The James Webb Space Telescope was launched on December 25th from Kourou Launch Station in French Guiana with the help of Ariane-5 ECA rocket. The space telescope was folded and literally ferried  into space because it was too large to fit inside its launching rocket. A team of NASA techies spent several hours on Saturday, January 8, 2022 opening the final mirror, according to NASA. It is expected to take  another five months to complete setup; including aligning the telescope’s optics and calibrating its scientific instruments. The most powerful telescope of all time will begin transmitting later this spring.

Long Held Secrets

It is expected the JWST will answer many questions scientists have pondered for millennia. The James Webb Telescope will replace Hubble, NASA’s current eye in space. JWST is now orbiting  a somewhat mystical area of space where the gravity and centripetal forces of the Sun and the Earth are ‘just right’. This ‘just right’ region allows objects to remain in a relatively “stable” position. This invisible point in space is known as an Earth-Sun Lagrange point. With its final course adjustment complete, the JWST is now orbiting around the sun at a distance of nearly 1.5 million kilometers from Earth.

An Amazing Milestone

Space journalists agree that the deployment of JWST is an incredible achievement. The James Webb Space Telescope will scan the universe for light streaming from stars and galaxies formed billions of years ago. In fact, the telescope is a time machine, carrying the observer back to the beginning of the universe; to the Big Bang. JWST observations will be used to study the history of the Universe, including the evolution of our own solar system, and the formation of distant solar systems capable of supporting life on Earth-like exoplanets. Amazingly, the JWST will be able to provide information about the atmospheres of these exoplanets. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said, “While the journey is not complete, I join the Webb team in breathing a little easier and imagining the future breakthroughs bound to inspire the world’’.

102 Worst Valentine’s Day Gifts Ever . . .

102 Worst Valentine’s Day Gifts Ever . . .

Careful what gifts you choose for Valentine's Day

102 Worst Valentine’s Day Gifts Ever . . .

Editor: Usually Anna outlines the perfect gifts and outings for the holidays, however, today she wants to warn you lovers, there are a few things you should steer clear of on the most romantic holiday of the year.

By Anna Hessel

Don’t Even Think Of Buying These For Your Valentine…

  1. A sponge mop from Dollar Tree
  2. An autographed photo of Donald Trump – I would rather have the sponge mop from Dollar Tree.
  3. Slippers in the shape of a unicorn
  4. A night at a Trump hotel – this will surely put an end to your relationship.
  5. Naming a cockroach after your significant other – naming a cockroach after Donald Trump, however, is a different story but to be safe, stick with a virtual adoption of a beautiful animal headed toward extinction.
  6. Any item made by the “my pillow” guy.
  7. A COVID test kit (well, on second thought…)
  8. Any bottle of lotion that has the word “firming” on the label.
  9. A DVD collection of the Bachelor – if the dude was capable of getting his own date, he wouldn’t need a reality check, I mean show.
  10. A “Trumpy Bear” – yes the damn things actually exist, we live in a sick world.

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David Shadrick “First They Came-2022”

First They Came-2022

Martin Niemoller's poem "First They Came" is a comment on personal cowardice

“First They Came-2022” 

By David Shadrick

(A re-write of the Martin Niemöller poem)

First they came for the Muslims

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Muslim

Then they came for the Mexicans

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Mexican

Then they came for the Blacks

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Black

Then they came for the Native Americans

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Native American

Then they came for the queer guy

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a queer guy

Then they came for the Jews

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me

And there was no one left

To speak for me.



Martin Niemoller “First They Came”

Martin Niemoller “FIRST THEY CAME”

Sometimes it doesn't take a lot of words to tell the story

“First They Came” was written by anti-Nazi pastor, Martin Niemoller. The message is clear.


First They Came

By Martin Niemöller

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me.

Take A Walking Approach To Knee Pain

Take A Walking Approach To Knee Pain

Walking can provide relief for OA

Take A Walking Approach To Knee Pain


By Dani Davis

“Bone On Bone”

I am considered well-aged.  In other words, I qualify for all those senior citizen discounts. At 75 I have been dealing with increasingly debilitating Osteoarthritis (OA) of both knees for at least the last ten years. “Bone on bone” as the doctor keeps reminding me. I have been putting off knee replacement surgery due to both fear of the surgery and my ongoing hope for a better answer.

From Miles to Feet

I have always been active and ready to take on whatever the world has to offer, skiing, swimming, hiking, and walking. In fact, I walked four or five miles every day of my life since I was a high schooler. Walking has  always been the mainstay of my exercise routine. However, as my knee pain has worsened I have retreated from former activities and have been reduced to limping about my apartment or using the electric scooter at the local Walmart. The final blow to my exercise routine came, when my dog, my prime motivator for walking, died two years ago.

Dr. X

In December I met with Dr. X, the surgeon scheduled to do my right knee replacement. He told me I am  within a hair’s breadth of the top end of the weight limit; and suggested I lose a few pounds, strengthen my legs, and workout to build my upper body strength. I told him if I could do all those things I wouldn’t be knocking on his door. He laughed, and told me to, “Try. You have ten months.” “Ten months?” Yes, ten months, I was told. “Mostly due to COID-19 issues such as surgical back-log, shortage of nurses and support staff, plus endless employee sick calls.” The medical assistant came in, opened the computer and tentatively scheduled my surgery for November 16th, 2022.

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