no evidence they’ve been bad in cyberspace.

The US Department of Justice this week announced the takedown of twenty-seven domains Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) had used to distribute propaganda and disinformation. Many of the domains represented themselves as belonging to legitimate news outlets; all were run by the IRGC.

The Silk Road contraband market was taken down seven years ago, its proprietor Ross Ulbricht now serving time in a US Federal prison. But Silk Road’s legal story continues as the US Justice Department this week filed a judicial forfeiture action seeking control over more than a billion dollars in Bitcoin derived from Silk Road.  

(The advocacy site Free Ross Ulbricht describes its protagonist as “an entrepreneur passionate about free markets and privacy,” which is one way of looking at it. The US Justice Department’s view of Mr. Ulbricht’s career may be viewed here.)

TASS is authorized to declare that “Russia keeps facing claims of its destructive behavior in cyberspace, which are groundless,” and they have that straight from President Putin, who’s miffed at accusations that Russia’s meddling with foreign elections. The rhetorical technique is unlikely insistence. Russia has indeed been quieter during recent election cycles than it was a few years ago, but quieter doesn’t mean totally silent: consider Reuters’ recent Fancy Bear sighting, and its account of GRU activities against some US Democratic Party email accounts. And in any case the Bears’ lower profile is at least as likely attributable to their adversaries’ deterrence by denial as it is to any putative Russian self-restraint.

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