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Don't make assumptions about hackers

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What is your typical perception of a hacker? Do you agree with Jonathan Yarden that Eastern Europe is becoming a hotbed for hackers? Share your comments about the changing face of hackers, as discussed in the Jan. 12 Internet Security Focus e-newsletter.

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Excellent Article

by knaicker In reply to Don't make assumptions ab ...

Excellent Article (Jonathan Yarden), I wouldn't be surprised if someone used this information to write a book or movie script which would be a welcome deviation from the common stereotypical views. I think it delves deep into the history and culture of the electronic age.


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Facts before slapping on a label.

by VytautasB In reply to Don't make assumptions ab ...

Pretty easy to put the problem in a box and label it "Eastern Europe". However I find that criminal activity seems evenly distributed throughout the planet with the exception perhaps of the North Pole and Antartica. I seem to remember some well publicised convictions of hackers that took place in the US not too long ago. I never thought to stereotype the US as as country of criminal hackers. One should avoid stereotyping without first having some facts. I agree with Mr. Yarden that the sophisticated attacks need to be taken seriously but first we must find a way to locate the hacker and build up a body of evidence to start prosecution. Saying that "Many believe that MiMail is the work of..." and pointing the finger at Eastern Europe is not very fair. We should think about motive and analyse the target of the attack. Is the product useful to organised crime or to an intelligence service? What facts can be established?

Mr. Yarden visited the Ukraine but Eastern Europe is a much larger region that includes countries preparing to join the European Union and NATO. Very strict entry criteria was imposed and all are committed to combatting organised and computer crime just as are the other members. The successful fight will require partnership for we are all in this together as far as the internet is concerned.

I probably would not have written this but I suspect that there would be very few comments from Eastern Europe. I was born and raised in the United States and moved to Vilnius, Lithuania 10 years ago so I feel that I have a unique perspective on things "east" and "west".

Vytautas Butrimas

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General characterization OK, but ...

by Gast?n Nusimovich In reply to Facts before slapping on ...

Jonathan is right is his general characterization of the context that might induce a programmer to become hacker.

But you if read between the lines, you may realize that many countries, including India, Vietnam, Egypt, Argentina, as well as Eastern Europe fit the profile that Jonathan portrays so well. So it turns out that Vytautas might also be right on target. I think that the article is correct if the scope of what makes any country a potential incubator for hackers is kept general. Great article, anyway, as is customary in Jonathan.

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Thanks and Agree

by no-reply In reply to Facts before slapping on ...

Thank you for the optimistic info on additional countries joining the fight between 'good' and 'bad'. I was beginning to get a pretty stereotypical view of Eastern Europe; kind of like most have of the middle east, and that I already had of far eastern countries such as Singapore.

Unfortunately, it probably won't be in our lifetime that we're able to "build up a body of evidence to start prosecution" throughout the planet (not including the North Pole and Antartica).

Keith D Commiskey

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Excellent Point & Agree

by CourtMCSE In reply to Facts before slapping on ...

Thank you for your well-thought reply to this article. It is wonderful to hear from an IT professional in "Eastern Europe".

I agree with everything within your reply. But I think the major thrust of Mr. Yarden's article was NOT that all the world's "hackers" (and I use that term with reluctence, as I view myself as a "hacker" who wrote microcode improvements on PDP-8s and DG Eclise series minis and mainframes 25 years ago. The term should be "whackers" or "crackers"...) now live in Eastern Europe, but that the main-stream media's (and by default, most of America's) view that our Internet is under attack by a common stereotype of the young male or disgruntled "lone hacker" is wrong.

This misconception can be dangerous. For some time it has been evident that some of the Internet attacks were directed by organized crime, possibly from Eastern Europe, but also from anywhere the Internet reaches (what of India with their large educated population and propensity for organizaed crime?).

These attacks focus on monitary gain, not disruption of service or destruction of data. It is this form of attack that we should steel ourselves for in the future. It is possible, but as yet unproven, that some of these attacks are terrorists, trying to secure funding for their neferious ends.

What we need to do is educate, educate, educate, everyone and anyone about these types of attacks and hope the IP6 and QoS improvements at our ISPs will feret out the criminals on the Internet.

I lived in West Germany from 1970 thru 1975. Unfortunately, we could not travel to your beautiful Lithuania in those days. Perhaps in the future. In the meantime, thanks for your comments.

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I think its an excelnte article

by eherrerac In reply to Don't make assumptions ab ...

i think its very good this artycle because no one say what really think about and what the expirience of the case

i think this is one of the better ways to really view the reality like that, In ower world we have to much people that makes thinks not only for the ungry more for the cuantity of unemployment and poor that exist on the world

im agree with this article

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Interesting profile of hackers

by emmy.gengler In reply to Don't make assumptions ab ...

I agree with the previous comments that Jonathan does a good job of painting a picture of what a "modern" day hacker could be like, if that was the intent of the article, and if there are really people out there who were still thinking that hackers are loners or disgruntled persons (although I would believe that these persons still exist as well).

Working in Ukraine as I have since 96 and Russia two years before that, my first reaction was that it is unfortunate that you happened to take your trip only to Ukraine and not to any other Eastern European countries. However, as was pointed out in another comment, the situation in Ukraine is available in other countries as well.

Software piracy rate is mentioned, and I realize and will acknowledge that Ukraine has come out on the top of the list from the Foreign Commercial Services office in May of last year as being the country to watch and it has come out near the top of other lists, however, has there ever been a correlation made between software piracy rate and "hacking"? Last year I talked with the Business Software Alliance to find out if they correlated software piracy to industrial espionage, and they did not. Therefore I would doubt that they make a correlation between piracy and the level of "hacking". Having said that of course, the rate does need to come down, and other changes need to be made and are in the plans as Ukraine moves towards accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

As is mentioned in the article, the hardware available in Ukraine is indeed the same as in the West, giving opportunities for jobs. What would have been good, to give another perspective of the market, is if you would have spoken with companies which are successfully providing IT Services in Ukraine for US and European companies, therefore putting that hardware and telecoms capabilities to good use. Ingersall-Rand, Motorola, Delta Airlines, Air France, Genesys Telecommunications, Rabobank, Wells Fargo, etc., are some of the clients of Ukrainian firms. If you would like to talk with any of those companies I would be happy to introduce you on your next trip to Ukraine.

Following on with the title of Jonathan's article, "Don't assume you know where hackers are coming from", we probably do not want to get in to the same trap and assume all hackers come from Eastern Europe.

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