The Internet Suffix Of The "Evil Empire" Is Alive And Well

More than 120,000 sites are operating in the .su domain space assigned to the former Soviet Union, and a significant number of them are up to no good. Getting rid of the suffix would be "a messy operation."

What's the Latest Development?


First assigned to the Soviet Union a year before its 1991 dissolution, the Internet suffix .su has now become home to what Group-IB's Andrei Komarov believes is "more than half the cybercriminals in Russia." The number of malicious sites in the domain space doubled in both 2011 and 2012, according to the group, one of Russia's official Internet watchdog organizations. Some of the sites help control botnets that send spam, steal from bank accounts, and hold computers' hard drives hostage. In other domain spaces, these sites are usually eliminated quickly, but in this one they can operate for weeks or months at a time.

What's the Big Idea?

Unfortunately, the fix is not as simple as eliminating the space entirely. Among the 120,000 or more sites in residence are a fair number of legitimate ones, for which erasing .su would be akin to "blocking .com or .org," says Komarov. Even the organization that is responsible for the .su domain space, Moscow-based Foundation for Internet Development, acknowledges that they have a problem, but director Sergei Ovcharenko says that by this summer a new stricter policy about terms of use will be in place.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

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Scientists study tattooed corpses, find pigment in lymph nodes

It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.

17th August 1973: An American tattoo artist working on a client's shoulder. (Photo by F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Getty Images)
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In the slightly macabre experiment to find out where tattoo ink travels to in the body, French and German researchers recently used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence in four "inked" human cadavers — as well as one without. The results of their 2017 study? Some of the tattoo ink apparently settled in lymph nodes.


Image from the study.

As the authors explain in the study — they hail from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment — it would have been unethical to test this on live animals since those creatures would not be able to give permission to be tattooed.

Because of the prevalence of tattoos these days, the researchers wanted to find out if the ink could be harmful in some way.

"The increasing prevalence of tattoos provoked safety concerns with respect to particle distribution and effects inside the human body," they write.

It works like this: Since lymph nodes filter lymph, which is the fluid that carries white blood cells throughout the body in an effort to fight infections that are encountered, that is where some of the ink particles collect.

Image by authors of the study.

Titanium dioxide appears to be the thing that travels. It's a white tattoo ink pigment that's mixed with other colors all the time to control shades.

The study's authors will keep working on this in the meantime.

“In future experiments we will also look into the pigment and heavy metal burden of other, more distant internal organs and tissues in order to track any possible bio-distribution of tattoo ink ingredients throughout the body. The outcome of these investigations not only will be helpful in the assessment of the health risks associated with tattooing but also in the judgment of other exposures such as, e.g., the entrance of TiO2 nanoparticles present in cosmetics at the site of damaged skin."

Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
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