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Cyberwar : East Asians Versus Eastern Europeans

Estonian’s have started teaching kids to code from age 6 and up:

Just look at Estonia, the tiny Eastern European nation (population 1.3 million), where a new project is being put in place with the ambition of getting every six year old to learn coding at school.

The “ProgeTiiger” scheme, according to reports, will begin pilots this year with the ambition of getting school kids of all ages to start coding. There’s no suggestion yet that the classes will be mandatory, but the organization behind the move the Tiger Leap Foundation, says it wants to produce more creative computer users.

Some Eastern European countries definitely have a strong computer culture.

China does as well, but that is usually wrapped around the purpose of gaining trade secrets. The industries and team sizes are quite different.

In a report entitled ‘Peter the Great vs. Sun Tzu‘, Tom Kellermann, vice president of cyber security at Trend Micro, compared hackers from the two regions according to their focus, organization and the sophistication of their malware and infrastructure. His conclusion – the Eastern Europeans are far more insidious and strategic.

..

On the other hand, fewer anti-debugging techniques are used by East Asian hackers, who are more interested in speed and productivity. Backdoors also tend to be simpler, he noted, stating that “East Asian malware is thrown together quickly using already-existing components.”

“East Asian hackers on the other hand tend to use cheap, hosted infrastructure usually from mass ISPs that are easy to set up and manage,” he said in the report. “They are not necessarily concerned with being identified as the attacker as they do not go great lengths to hide their tracks like the East European hackers do.  This was shown in the recent LuckyCat incident which was traced back to Sichuan University which is a known training school for East Asian military.”

While East Asian groups tend to work for other organizations interested in their skills, hackers from Eastern Europe generally operate in small, independent units, and are focused on profit, he wrote. Their infrastructure tends to be developed by them specifically for their own use in attacks.

“They (Eastern European groups] tend to want to be in control of their entire infrastructure and will routinely set up their own servers for use in attacks, develop their own DNS servers to route traffic and create sophisticated traffic directional systems used in their attacks,” according to the report. “If they do go outside, they will carefully select bulletproof hosters to support their infrastructure. It is their hallmark to maintain control of the whole stack similar to the business models pioneered by Apple.”

“In general, the East Asian hackers are not at the same skill level of maturity as their East European counterparts,” Kellermann concluded. “The East European’s are master craftsmen who have developed a robust economy of scale which serves as an arms bazaar for a myriad of cyber munitions and bulletproof hosting infrastructures,” he said. Comparing the two to real-world military tactics, Kellermann added that East European hackers act like snipers when they launch campaigns, whereas the East Asian hackers tend to colonize entire ecosystems via the “thousand grains of sand approach”. Link

The OP is here

Here is a study of the LuckCat incident

3 responses to “Cyberwar : East Asians Versus Eastern Europeans

  1. Drama September 20, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    And the Americans in all this are……oh nevermind the tv is telling me something, gotta go.

    • Eric Patton September 20, 2012 at 7:07 pm

      America has a strong hacker subculture, if that’s what you are asking. Though I would venture to guess that more of them are involved in grey and white market activities, and the black market hackers tend to go legit as time passes.

      Russian hackers, for instance, don’t have a whole lot of job opportunity. East Asian hackers and some Eastern European hackers operate with at least a wink and a nod from their governments.

      • Drama September 20, 2012 at 10:34 pm

        I meant really how most Americans haven’t got a clue.
        That everything is electronic these days and the Chinese have legions of computers manned to siphon as much of that information away.

        Typical of China though. They don’t care what anyone thinks. Hacking, seizing disputed territory, currency and trade manipulation, and not concerning themselves with the opinions of other nations.

        They’ve got a mind set on winning that’s for sure.

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