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The Internet Censorship

Russia Weighs Going Cyrillic For DNS 223

An anonymous reader writes "The Guardian reports that the Kremlin may start an alternate top-level domain, .rf. According to the story, .ru in Cyrillic translates to .py, the top-level domain for Paraguay, which the Russian government claims leads to confusion. This is similar to a move by China, which has their own .net and .com top-level domains in their native character set along with .cn, .com, and .net in ASCII." Hindering Paraguayan hackers may matter less to the Russian government than establishing greater control over a walled-off Internet.
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Russia Weighs Going Cyrillic For DNS

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  • by mr_mischief ( 456295 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @02:04PM (#21897528) Journal
    You can't really translate between 'r' and rho. It's a character set issue. It's a straight equivalency of sounds. Cyrillic is based on the Greek alphabet and the English alphabet is based on the Latin alphabet. It could be confused with Paraguay because of the character encoding, but it's not really the same letters.
  • Re:Great!!! (Score:2, Informative)

    by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) <{akaimbatman} {at} {gmail.com}> on Thursday January 03, 2008 @02:07PM (#21897584) Homepage Journal

    It's great that nations can use their own languages instead of being forced to use alien Latin-English characters.

    In this case, the characters are exactly the same. It's just that 'p' (pronounced 'pee' in English) is the letter 'er' in Russian, and 'y' (pronouced 'why' in English) is the letter 'oo' in Russian. So .ru to us is literally .py to them.

    Cyrillics has a number of Greek letters sprinkled in, but in this instance it is of no help.
  • Re:Great!!! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 03, 2008 @02:21PM (#21897900)
    No, the characters only look the same to a human eye. To a computer they would look quite different:

    English "py" is keycode U+0070, U+0079
    Russian "py" is keycode U+0440, U+0443

    Of course, the whole internationalization issue wouldn't be an issue if ICANN didn't have their head up their collective ass.
  • by El Lobo ( 994537 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @02:22PM (#21897918)
    The problem is not that they are not the same or even different charsets. The problem is that they are near enough for the naked eye to confuse a russian user. Lets say they have a real bank with the address www.baHk.py (baHk = bank in russian but I'm not using cyrillics here so use your imagination). A pisher could easily setup a domain www.bahk.py (using latins py = paraguay) and this should be very difficult for a naormal user to catch the error.... This is a phishers wet dream, actually.
  • by jacquesm ( 154384 ) <j@NOspam.ww.com> on Thursday January 03, 2008 @02:24PM (#21897974) Homepage
    minicity spam
  • by Cctoide ( 923843 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @02:38PM (#21898200) Homepage
    I'm not sure what you're asking, but I've always heard of conversion between scripts (i.e. writing systems) being called transliteration.
  • Re:Great!!! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Arthur B. ( 806360 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @03:03PM (#21898642)
    The characters are not displayed in the same way, I cannot paste cyrillic in slashdot, but the difference between the y and the russian u is visible, the tail of the y is rounder.

    Of course, it leaves room for phishing attack, but they are not the same character. Not historically, not linguistically, not in encoding, not in display.
  • Re:Great!!! (Score:3, Informative)

    by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) <{akaimbatman} {at} {gmail.com}> on Thursday January 03, 2008 @03:16PM (#21898896) Homepage Journal

    The characters are not displayed in the same way

    As I said, it depends on your font. In Arial, they are pixel for pixel. In Courier, they have slightly different shapes. Either way, it doesn't really matter. Very few people will notice the font differences. Why? Because they are the same characters. The fact that a computer provides two copies of the same character, actually causes as many problems as it solves.
  • Re:Great!!! (Score:3, Informative)

    by ajs ( 35943 ) <ajs.ajs@com> on Thursday January 03, 2008 @03:23PM (#21898986) Homepage Journal

    Slashdot is lame like U**x in 1980 and ate the characters you typed.
    Actually, Slash (the engine behind Slashdot) does exactly the right thing, converting any out-of-latin-1 characters into HTML-encoded characters such as &#041F;

    However, it also eliminates these from display because of the confusion that people use them to inject (e.g. mis-spelling a domain name with Cyrillic characters so that when someone cuts-and-pastes it, their session can be hijacked). It's a specific security feature used on MANY sites which are intended for English-language discussion.

    Actually one of big advantages of Microsoft was internalization.
    MS jumped on the internationalization bandwagon VERY late in the game, but they were the first to incorporate Unicode into the filesystem which made up for a lot of their delays... better late than never, I guess. Prior to Unicode the approach was typically to have multiple versions of the text associated with an application, in multiple character sets which would be loaded on-demand. These features worked in Unixes that I was using as early as 1987.,

    I could use national characters without any problem in 1994 on NT.
    "Use" is an interesting term. Most uses of Unicode outside of a Word Processor in vintage NT would result in system crashes and/or corruption.

    Good luck with Linux or most of Unices then.
    Well... Linux didn't really exist as a commercial OS at that time, so I guess you're right by default. What's more, the Unicode standard had JUST been published in 1991. It took years for most software to adapt to using Unicode, and even longer for the interoperability features to be worked out. Even today, new releases of, for example, Gnome continue to adapt to the ways other cultures use the desktop and OS with their native characters (e.g. with vertical or RtL script).

    You seem to have this rosy view of the world that involves Microsoft products solving the hard problem of internationalization from day one, and everyone else staring dumbly... this is far from the case.

  • Re:Great!!! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Maimun ( 631984 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @03:27PM (#21899060)
    They ARE the same. Trust me, I am Bulgarian and we also use the Cyrillic alphabet. The Cyrillic alphabet was created in the 9th century by Constantine, a Byzantine friar (I dunno if this is the correct term) serving the emperor in Constantinopol. The church name of Constatine was Cyrill, that is where the name of the alphabet came from. At that time, both Rome and Constantinopol were trying to convert the Slavic states to Christianity. The Eastern Roman Empire, a.k.a. Byzantia, was more flexible than the Catholics: she offered Christianity in the native Slavic languages, while the Catholics insisted on using Latin. The Cyrillic alphabet was introduced precisely for that purpose. It was modified Greek alphabet (Greek was, of course, was the language of the East Roman Empire) with symbols added for those Slavic sounds that had no Greek equivalent. Intially it was adopted in Bulgaria and after about a century or two it was adopted by the Russian proto-state -- in contrast to the Russian myths that the Cyrillic alphabet was first introduced in Russia and even invented in Russia.

    The initial Cyrillic alphabet looked quite different from what is used today in Russia and Bulgaria; the appearance of the modern Cyrillic alphabet is due to a reform by Tzar Peter I of Russia. Peter I imposed visual style similar to the one of the Roman font.

    BTW, the Cyrillic alphabet was not the only creation of Constantine-Cyrill. He had invented another alphabet to be used by the Slavs which was called "glagolitsa" and visually was totally different from the Cyrillic one. This radical design was not very successful, although I've heard it had been used in Croatia until 2-3 centuries ago.

    Here is a four-column table of the original Cyrillic alphabet [wikimedia.org] and the Glagolic one ("glagolitsa"). The first column is the name of each letter (yes, each one had a name; if the names are read sequentially they form a saying, quite deep and meaningful at that), the second is the cyrillic glyph, the third is the glagolic glyph, the fourth is the numeric value.

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