Are The Russians Returning To Using Porn And Honeypots For Public Blackmail?

The “honeypot” trap- using pornography and sex to blackmail a person -is a very old way of entrapping people, used by vengeful people and societies around the world and throughout history. But a new “honeypot” may be in use today as a new virus, so far exclusively targeting computers in France, spies on people only when they are using porn:

Antivirus maker ESET has discovered a new Windows malware strain that uses infected computers to send out spam campaigns. However, one of this malware’s most peculiar features is a hidden function that records the victim’s desktop when the user visits an adult website.

Named Varenyky, the malware emerged in May this year, and has only been active in France, ESET said.
Primary feature is sending out spam

The group behind Varenyky uses spam emails carrying malicious invoices to infect users. Once on a host, the malware’s primary purpose is to send out spam of its own.

The outgoing spam, targets French users, and only customers of Orange S.A., a French ISP.

For most of the malware’s lifetime, the spam it sent out has usually been emails promoting links to dodgy smartphone promotions. However, in late July, the Varenyky malware also started sending out sextortion emails.

In these emails, the Varenyky malware operators claimed they infected users computers and had recorded them while visiting adult sites. This is false — in a way.

It is false because the malware did not record the recipients of those random emails. It is true because the malware does record users visiting adult sites.

ESET researchers said the malware includes code that watches windows titles for the word “sexe” and then, using the FFmpeg library, records the user’s screen. In theory, this function should trigger when a user visits a sex-related site in their browser.

The recorded video is then sent to the malware’s command and control server, located on the Tor network.

What the malware does with these videos is unknown. ESET says Varenyky is still under development, as new features are added and old features are removed at a very rapid pace.

Because of this constant churn of features, it’s unclear what the Varenyky group wants from harvesting these videos.

It may be that sometime in the future, the Varenyky users might actually try to extort users for money using real recordings of victims visiting adult sites.

Furthermore, the Varenyky team will certainly be able to tie each of the recordings to users’ real life identities. This is because the Varenyky malware also includes another hidden feature that extracts usernames and passwords from the victim’s browser and email client, which it also sends to its Tor-based command and control server. If it would ever need to extort a user, it would know exactly where it needs to send that recording.

This is certainly a malware operation that everyone is gonna keep an eye on. (source, source)

As soon as I saw the name of the group- Varenyky -knew there was more to this story.

Varenyky- there are multiple spellings for the same word -are delicious dumplings filled with usually fruit paste and then are either boiled or gently fried in butter and are common among Russian as well as Ukrainian cooking. They are the same as the Polish pierogi in essence, except that the Polish tend to use large packets with savory fillings (cabbage, potatoes, cheese, mushrooms, or other fillings, while the Russians and Ukrainians make them small and sweet. Of course there are large and sweet or small and savory ones too, but the general principle (from my experience) remains constant throughout Slavic cooking habits by culture.

The second clue that I found was the target- France.

Slavic culture, whether or not people want to admit it (and many of the more nationalistically-inclined ones do not), is really not “original” in that it is an amalgamation of Germanic, Turkic, and later, Western European cultures. Make no mistake, this is not to deny the authenticity of the cultures and peoples of Eastern Europe, but that in a large way, the East really is bound to the fate of the West, and this includes by cultural transmission. One can see this by the tremendous influence of Germanic culture in all of Eastern Europe and, beginning in the late 17th century, one can see a tremendous amount of direct French influence, from music to food to art.

The French influenced the Poles and the Russians alike in many ways, but given that Poland during that period was actively in a state of decline and being divided up by Russia, Germany (Prussia), and Austria, the actual existence of a deeply-rooted and long-lasting “French influence” tended to permeate more deeply into Russian culture. This was likewise influenced by Russo-Germanic geopolitics, since Russia and France found themselves as natural allies against what Russia saw was increasing Germanic influence in the West as well as France being surrounded by an imperial Spain to the southwest, an imperial Germany to the east, and an imperial England to the north with an apathetic and divided Italy to the southeast.

Given Russia’s historical influence in and contact with France, it would only make sense that today, if there was to be true “Russian influence” in Europe, it would likely have a potentially strong “French connection” because of this history, something which France is acutely aware of and is the reason why she continues to maintain her African colonies through financial control by means of the Central and West African Francs, as if she loses control over those nations, she will be impoverished and, having no means of expanding her economy, stand helpless at the mercy of her neighbors in Europe, most notably the Germans. In that sense, France is an “ally” of Russia in that her alliances and relationships with her serve as a check on German influence for the same reasons that Germany and Turkey have allied with each other since the days of antiquity in order to combat the tremendous and powerful Russian influence in the northeast of Europe.

Russia has a history of using pornography and “honeypot” type traps to blackmail people too. Given the nature of this virus and how it works, as the article notes, it provides an ideal situation for blackmailing people.

Is there direct proof of Russian involvement in this? Absolutely not, and the above observations are not a substitute for it. However, patterns of history are not an accident, and while there is usually no direct “repeat” of the past, history is a song that rhymes, and when certain rhythms or rhymes are heard, one can only suspect that the things which happened before are preparing to happen again, this time just with difference faces and a few different tools and emphases but with the same potency.

In the meantime and for the sake of one’s soul, it is better to stick with “food porn”, such as cooking and eating delicious varenyky, of which one savory variant of such is below:

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