Genetic Evasion: using genetic algorithms to beat state-level internet censorship

Geneva ("Genetic Evasion") is a project from the University of Maryland's Breakerspace ("a lab dedicated to scaling-up undergraduate research in computer and network security"); in a paper presented today at the ACM's Conference on Computer and Communications Security, a trio of Maryland researchers and a UC Berkeley colleague present their work on evolutionary algorithms as a means of defeating state-level network censorship. Read the rest

Muslim woman who escaped from a Chinese concentration camp describes gang-rapes, torture, forced medical experiments

Sayragul Sauytbay is a Chinese Muslim of Kazakh descent who escaped en route to one of the notorious Xinjiang province concentration camps for Muslims in 2018, after she was sentenced to serve as a regular inmate following her release after more than a year's incarceration as a camp teacher; after she escaped into Kazakhstan, she was given asylum in Sweden. Read the rest

Google, Mozilla, and Apple are using this one weird trick to block Kazakhstan's surveillance of its own citizens

Google and Mozilla are making changes to their respective web browsers to try and thwart the notoriously corrupt government of Kazakhstan's efforts to launch a surveillance operation against its own citizens. Read the rest

Russia-linked hacker Karim Baratov gets 5 years in U.S. prison & $250,000 fine for Yahoo breach

A Canadian man born in Kazakhstan has been sentenced to five years in prison for crimes connected to the massive Yahoo security breach that U.S. federal agents say was directed by Russian government spies.

“Karim Baratov, an FSB go-to guy for webmail hacking, was sentenced to 5 years in prison this morning, less than the nearly 8 years sought by the Justice Department,” says Daily Beast's Kevin Poulsen.

Below, why 5 years in prison is actually a good outcome for Baratov, who is 23. Read the rest

This is what a wedding cake for some Kazakh one percenters looked like

Reportedly costing $179K, this elaborate cake wowed guests at a wedding Sunday in Kazakhstan. Styled like a castle, the one-ton cake featured many moving parts including a small horse-drawn carriage that brought small representations of the wedding couple to the front door of the castle. From there, the figurines were whisked up to a balcony near the top of the cake.

Watch for yourself:

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Добро пожаловать в НАШ СЛАДКИЙ МИР 😎✌️❤️

A post shared by RENAT AGZAMOV (@renat_agzamov) on Jan 17, 2018 at 7:49am PST

AKIPress named the bride and groom and their social status:

The groom Amirzhan is grandson of a Shymkent oligarch Serikzhan Seitzhanov, bride Aruzhan is daughter of Kairat Satybaldy, a Kazakh businessman, nephew of the president of Kazakhstan.

Interestingly, the impressive cake was crafted by Renat Agzamov (shown below), a former Russian boxing champion turned pastry chef.

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Реализовали сложнейший международный проект🔥 диаметр торта 3 метра, высота 4,2 ( с тележкой) . Вес около 1500кг. С такими размерами доставить заготовки в другую страну - это ОЧЕНЬ сложно ! Но мы справились, потому что у нас самая сильная команда профессионалов в мире!🔥🔥🔥 Перед вывозом торта в зал - ровно 3 суток без сна, но результат того стоит! Благодарю свою команду за мощный рывок в космос 🚀 Просто ценю и уважаю каждого😘❤️. Благодарю принимающую сторону за очень тёплый и душевный прием🙏! Как приятно работать, когда тебя любят, ценят и уважают😘❤️. Ну и самое главное - счастья молодым и благополучия 🙏🙏❤️.

Read the rest

Left-wing activists across the former USSR launch "September," to rally opposition to far-right movements

September is a new website launched by left-wing groups in Ukraine, Belarus, and other former Soviet states, devoted to finding common cause among activists across the region (the name is a bit of an inside joke about the October, 1917 revolution, embodied in the site's strapline, "It’s not October yet, but it’s close"). Read the rest

EFF and partners reveal Kazakh government phished journalists, opposition politicians

At Defcon, researchers from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, First Look Media and Amnesty International, revealed their findings on a major phishing attack through which the government of Kazakhstan was able to hack opposition journalists and arrange for an opposition politician's extradition from exile in Italy to Kazakhstan. Read the rest

Europe and Russia just launched a Mars space mission to sniff out signs of life

A European-Russian spacecraft headed out from our humble little planet to space today, in search for life on Mars. Read the rest

“Nominal” Soyuz launch sends Expedition 44 crew of three to International Space Station

Today's launch was a good one.

Kazakhstan's decaying Soviet space murals

Esquire Kazakhstan features photos of the country's decaying Soviet space murals, which do not have protected status, and are coming to bits. They're still towering, heroic Soviet Realist paeans to space travel, sorrowful as they may be. Read the rest