Anons Pelt UK Authorities With Cyberattacks
Today in international tech news: Hackers deliver their particular brand of justice in the UK and Russia, downing government sites on behalf of Julian Assange in Britain and Pussy Riot in Russia. Also: China and Taiwan are uniting -- by data cables, that is -- while China's top two video platforms could soon merge after a shareholder vote.
Hacker group Anonymous is taking credit for hack attacks carried out on various UK government sites as retaliation for the handling of the Julian Assange case, according to The Register.
Among the sites attacked were the UK Justice Department and the Department of Work and Pensions -- each of which went offline, according to The Register.
The Anonymous Operations Twitter handle shot out tweets which seemed to take credit for the sites going down.
UK authorities have been unyielding in their stance that Assange should be extradited to Sweden, where he faces sexual misconduct charges. The WikiLeaks founder has been granted asylum in Ecuador and is currently holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
In other Assange news, The Telegraph quoted Ecuador president Rafael Correa saying "it would be suicide" if British authorities entered the Ecuadorian embassy.
The UK had threatened to enter the premises last week. Correa went on to say the suicide would be political -- as opposed to an invitation for a shootout -- but the choice of words nonetheless garnered loads of media attention Tuesday.
Pussy Riot Inspires Russian Hack
Slogans criticizing Russian president Vladimir Putin were uploaded to the Khamovnichesky District Court site, according to the article. The hack was carried out by a group that claimed to be associated with Anonymous.
The Pussy Riot members were sentenced after being convicted of charges related to an anti-Putin protest staged in a church in Moscow last February.
China, Taiwan Getting Closer ... Sort of
International relations between China and Taiwan have long been frosty, but at least the two nations -- or one nation, depending on whom you ask -- can transfer data like never before.
For the first time, data was sent via cables connecting China and Taiwan, according to the BBC.
BBC says that the cables are symbolic of the ever-strengthening political ties between China and Taiwan, which has been self-governed since 1949. Relations have been improving since 2008, when Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou took office and began emphasizing economic agreements with mainland China.
The two cables, which were laid by both Chinese and Taiwanese companies at a cost of US$6.7 million, run from the south-China city of Xiamen to the Taiwanese islands of Kinmen.
China's Youku, Tudou Hooking Up
Shareholders of Youku, China's biggest online video outfit, have approved the acquisition of Tudou Holdings, a video-sharing platform that has many similarities to YouTube.
Tencent, China's biggest Internet company, and Baidu, the nation's dominant search engine, are upgrading their video services but would nonetheless be small compared to a Youku/Toudo combination. Youku was tops in China's first-quarter video market revenue with a 21 percent share, according to the report. Tudou was No. 2 at 11.5 percent, which Tencent and Baidu both had less than 7 percent.
Apple Might Start Growing in Russia
Apple could be upping its presence in Russia, according to The Moscow News.
Russia has become a key market for Apple even though Apple doesn't have retail stores there or even sell its products directly to Russian retailers.
While it is unclear when the company might open an Apple Store in Russia, Apple could start selling products directly to Russia in 2013, according to The Moscow News.
Rumors of Apple increasing its Russian operations are nothing new, evidenced by this 2011 report. However, this time around could be different, according to The Moscow News, because Apple registered a company called "Apple Rus."