Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Security The Military Advertising Education Privacy Technology

How Russia Recruited Elite Hackers For Its Cyberwar (nypost.com) 236

Lasrick quotes a report from The New York Times (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternate source): For more than three years, rather than rely on military officers working out of isolated bunkers, Russian government recruiters have scouted a wide range of programmers, placing prominent ads on social media sites, offering jobs to college students and professional coders, and even speaking openly about looking in Russia's criminal underworld for potential talent. From the New York Post: "Russia's Defense Ministry bought advertising on Vkontakta, the country's most popular social media site, to lure those who were more talented with a keyboard than an AK-47 rifle. 'If you graduated from college, if you are a technical specialist, if you are ready to use your knowledge, we give you an opportunity,' the ad promised, according to the Times. The ad went on to assure recruits that they would be part of units called science squadrons based at military installations where they would live in 'comfortable accommodation' and showed an apartment outfitted with a washing machine, the Times reported. The Defense Ministry even dangled the chance to dodge Russia's mandatory draft by allowing university students to join a science squadron instead and then questioned them about their proficiency with programming languages, the report said."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

How Russia Recruited Elite Hackers For Its Cyberwar

Comments Filter:
  • What cyberwar? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 30, 2016 @11:35PM (#53583077)

    Someone managed to get access to someone else's email account? EPIC HACKZ0ring!

    • What we see is kind of the pre-pubescent hacking. What is going on behind the scenes is the real stuff.
    • From the article/summary:

      to lure those who were more talented with a keyboard than an AK-47 rifle

      Sigh... The Russian military doesn't use AK-47 rifles anymore, and haven't for a very long time.

      Anyhow, next I'm sure we'll see the story of Russians hacking the electrical grid as part of our coordinated "Russian hacking themed" stories. I just got one more of those stories on a local news site, telling us because of the Russian hacking, we'll soon be forced to change our passwords regularly and use funny characters in them, and stop reusing passwords in order to stay secure. Ho

    • I heart hypocrisy (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Hey guys, did you hear Russia is hacking the US? "No big deal, it's probably just propaganda" Hey guys, did you hear Hillary didn't secure her e-mail server? "OMG SHE'S THE DEVIL SEND HER TO PRISON FOR TREASON!" I love watching you morons try to justify your way out of your own stupidity.
  • Fake news (Score:2, Insightful)

    So is this fake news or not?

    • Re:Fake news (Score:4, Insightful)

      by wasted ( 94866 ) on Friday December 30, 2016 @11:50PM (#53583121)

      I don't know if I would call it fake, but I wouldn't call it news. I have no reason not to believe that the NSA and other government agencies recruit top talent in important fields from college, and I would expect agencies from other countries to recruit top talent in important fields from their colleges.

      • > I have no reason not to believe that the NSA and other government agencies recruit top talent in important fields from college,

        I know they post employment ads just like any other organization who hires people. I would expect they recruit like other organizations - though possibly not as effectively as many companies. I'm in the security field and have been called about jobs for a lot of companies, only one of which sounded like potentially a front company.

        One thing different about their ads is when

      • Re:Fake news (Score:4, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 31, 2016 @12:47AM (#53583303)

        I have no reason not to believe that the NSA and other government agencies recruit top talent in important fields from college, and I would expect agencies from other countries to recruit top talent in important fields from their colleges.

        They certainly try, but there remain a number of factors in the Russian society that make the recruitment offer in Russia more attractive to Russian graduates than similar offers are to American or European graduates:

        1. Military service is still mandatory in Russia, even for college graduates. I know this because several teaching assistants in my computer science classes here in the United States were from Russia and told me that a major attraction of studying abroad as graduate students was the opportunity to defer or avoid the mandatory military service back home. In the United States, military service has not been mandatory since the late 1970s and the jobs available to computer science and other STEM graduates are generally much more attractive than anything on offer from the US government or the military. Some of the European countries still have mandatory military service, but European armed forces are generally small and poorly funded which makes them less able and willing to make attractive offers to high skill graduates. So, a chance to satisfy the mandatory service requirement in relative comfort and with higher pay has the potential to be very attractive to a Russian graduate in Russia.

        2. The private sector in Russia is nothing like what it is here in the United States or Europe. The opportunities are much poorer and therefore less attractive compared with a government position. Especially one that provides benefits that are hard to get and expensive in Russia, particularly for young people, like decent and affordable housing in and around the Moscow area.

        3. The sorts of skills that one learns hacking on behalf of the Russian government are not the sort of things that one can easily learn in school or working for a legitimate American or European business. These skills can be lucrative in the criminal networks and Russia has generally shown a willingness to give the United States and Europe the middle finger when it comes to cooperation in law enforcement among other things. This makes hacking for a living, mostly with impunity, a much more viable career path in Russia than it is in the more law abiding countries of Europe or especially here in the United States where not only is hacking frowned upon, but as Aaron Swartz discovered, severely punished.

        • These skills can be lucrative in the criminal networks

          Heh, that reminds me of a survey where they asked graduating Russian high school students about intended careers (apparently the survey is taken every year). At some point, to some surprise, one of the top scoring careers was "policeman". It turned out that a cop's training and networking opportunities were seen as an excellent preparation for an entry into organized crime.

      • by Agripa ( 139780 )

        I don't know if I would call it fake, but I wouldn't call it news. I have no reason not to believe that the NSA and other government agencies recruit top talent in important fields from college, and I would expect agencies from other countries to recruit top talent in important fields from their colleges.

        The NSA, FBI, and other government agencies have been complaining that the revelations of their recent past misdeeds has damaged their ability to recruit the talent needed for computer security. Various government requirements do not help.

    • I'm sure the Russian government recruits computer talent in the many ways listed in the article. I would suspect the U.S. government does much the same.

      The fake part comes in: Why publish this piece now? Why not, say, during the massive OPM breach [wired.com]?

      Simple: Publishing it during the OPM breach would have harmed Obama, whom the New York Times and it's employees almost universally adore, while publishing it now helps prop up the false narrative [theintercept.com] that the Russians were behind the DNC leaks, not a disgruntled Democ [washingtontimes.com]

  • Hypocracy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Zemran ( 3101 ) on Friday December 30, 2016 @11:36PM (#53583081) Homepage Journal

    A country that regularly invades other country to force a change in government gets its panties in a twist over a theory that someone might have taken an interest in their election. The US does this all the time.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by lucm ( 889690 )

      A country that regularly invades other country to force a change in government gets its panties in a twist over a theory that someone might have taken an interest in their election. The US does this all the time.

      That's just not true. More often than not, there's no invasion, instead of group of puppet opponents are trained and funded by the USA. Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Argentina, Chile, Zaire/Congo, Cuba, Colombia, Panama, El Salvador, Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, Uruguay, Guatemala. Probably many others.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Noishkel ( 3464121 )

      I for one never imaged I'd live to see another red scare come out of a bunch of bhutt hurt liberal media shills. But then again I never thought I'd see the DNC get so low that they'd allow the most corrupt politician in American history be their front runner either.

      Honestly I don't know how you liberals sleep with yourselves at night. Just forget about Trump for a moment. Look at how bad the DNC has come apart thanks to this election. How many times they they have to complete restaff the committee becau

      • The point is that the Russians did a lot of things, including cyber attacks, that would have been worth all these steps at least the last 4 years, but the Obama administration tolerated it. It only became intolerable when the target of the attacks was the candidate who promised to keep Obama's legacy in place. So excuse us for not being so 'patriotic'

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        I didn't realize that the CIA and FBI were now "bhutt hurt liberal media shills", thanks for clarifying that.

        I honestly don't know how conservatives sleep at night, knowing that their system failed badly enough to put Trump in the White House (too many candidates spreading their support too thin, failing to counter his bullshit effectively)... I guess they are just happy that they can now ram through all their policies and are willing to overlook the rest of it.

        They must be terrified over what Russian has o

        • Well, I am not sure about the CIA, but the FBI was doing their job. While the FBI is about investigating national crimes, the CIA has a little different agenda.

          I don't know how liberal progressives can sleep at night when the system allowed someone to even run for the highest office of the nation with the questionable history of their candidate. Granted, the conservatives could very well employ some of the same tactics, they even tried to sabotage his chances to win the candidacy . Some of the conserva

        • I didn't realize that the CIA and FBI were now "bhutt hurt liberal media shills", thanks for clarifying that.

          I honestly don't know how conservatives sleep at night, knowing that their system failed badly enough to put Trump in the White House (too many candidates spreading their support too thin, failing to counter his bullshit effectively)... I guess they are just happy that they can now ram through all their policies and are willing to overlook the rest of it.

          They must be terrified over what Russian has on the GOP though. You can bet that if Putin's man in the White House ever goes rogue there will be some strategic leaks to neuter him.

          What could be worse than a video clip of "...you can grab 'em by the pussy"?

        • I didn't realize that the CIA and FBI were now "bhutt hurt liberal media shills", thanks for clarifying that.

          I honestly don't know how conservatives sleep at night, knowing that their system failed badly enough to put Trump in the White House (too many candidates spreading their support too thin, failing to counter his bullshit effectively)... I guess they are just happy that they can now ram through all their policies and are willing to overlook the rest of it.

          They must be terrified over what Russian has on the GOP though. You can bet that if Putin's man in the White House ever goes rogue there will be some strategic leaks to neuter him.

          Define 'Conservatives' here. Are you talking about the average citizen in Red States who support Republicans election after election, only to be disappointed later? Or are you talking about the talking heads in National Review, Weekly Standard or the American Federalist? If it's the latter, they opposed Trump right uptil the end, until he won the election: after that, they accepted the election results and decided to support him. If it is the former, they overwhelmingly supported Trump in the primaries

      • Well, it WAS her turn since the rebuke from the previous elections. Almost as bad as Jeb stating it was his turn on the Republican side.
      • I never thought I'd see the DNC get so low that they'd allow the most corrupt politician in American history be their front runner

        That's some fine hyperbole there, commentor. Ever hear of "Boss" Tweed, Edwin Edwards, Rod Blagoevich, James Traficant, Duke Cunningham? *coughcough*LBJ?*coughcough*

    • Hypocracy = Hypocritical Democracy? I see what you did there?
    • by ari_j ( 90255 )
      The difference is that Americans have the right to vote without being encumbered by the truth about any candidate.
    • Re:Hypocracy (Score:4, Informative)

      by Freischutz ( 4776131 ) on Saturday December 31, 2016 @07:46AM (#53584077)

      A country that regularly invades other country to force a change in government gets its panties in a twist over a theory that someone might have taken an interest in their election. The US does this all the time.

      Are you seriously pointing at the USA's habit of invading other countries in an attempt to make Russia look like an Boy Scout? Russia has it's own record of invading other countries, installing puppet governments, committing atrocities and imposing a regime of oppression that makes the Americans look like rank amateurs. Just ask the nations of Eastern Europe how much they enjoyed half a century of Russian imposed communism and how much they are looking forward to enjoying a repeat of that experience if Putin succeeds in disassembling NATO and rebuilding the Soviet empire. If I have to choose between living under US Imperial hegemony or Russian kleptocratic tyranny I'll choose the Americans every damn time, even when they, are dumb enough to elect a narcissistic moron with a bad orange comb over and an over active Twitter account who seems to be hell bent on provoking a trade war with China.

    • A country that regularly invades other country to force a change in government gets its panties in a twist over a theory that someone might have taken an interest in their election. The US does this all the time.

      So that's OK, then? I think it is poor thinking to base your moral judgement on what others do, but that's perhaps beside the point. Yes, we all do it, and somewhere it is morally wrongto some extent, but the question here is: Should we worry about it? And I think the answer is yes - not because this is Russia, the old enemy, but because cyber attacks are increasingly dangerous to modern, industrialised nations. In the past we mostly had to worry about he US being a potential threat to the stability of the

  • from Russia (Score:5, Funny)

    by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Friday December 30, 2016 @11:36PM (#53583083)
    with LAN
  • by Anonymous Coward

    If I didn't dodge the draft by other means I would very well have done this program

  • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Friday December 30, 2016 @11:41PM (#53583095) Journal

    That's mildly interesting. As is normally the case, the article points out that the headline is bullshit. College students? That's where you find entry-level programmers, not "elite hackers". Nothing wrong with that, of course, you can train an entry-level programmer to damage computing systems just as readily as you can train them to build secure systems.

    There are a few elite hackers, people who really understand the low-leveling functioning of the system, who write the payloads in assembler. Those elite ones, who write assembler, tend to be older more often than they are college kids. College kids tend to *use* the tools written by the older, more experienced and "elite" hackers.

    • people who really understand the low-leveling functioning of the system

      We calls thems electrical engineers where I'm from.

    • by lucm ( 889690 ) on Saturday December 31, 2016 @12:25AM (#53583217)

      There are a few elite hackers, people who really understand the low-leveling functioning of the system, who write the payloads in assembler.

      Of course. A piece of code in assembler that gets injected on the system via a clever manipulation of the power phase and/or fan oscillation, delivered via Q-spoiling. Once infected, the host system sends an email to the hacker to let him know which version of Wordpress is running on the server so he can know which php file to upload and pwn the organization.

    • There are a few elite hackers, people who really understand the low-leveling functioning of the system, who write the payloads in assembler. Those elite ones, who write assembler, tend to be older more often than they are college kids.

      I'm not one of those guys, but I've partied with some of those guys (and no, not at defcon) and it seemed to me like plenty of them actually are college kids. Is there something mystical about assembler that prevents college kids from learning it?

      • In my experience, a few young people can work at low level, assembler etc, and truly grok it but it's much more common for older people to have learned it. On the other hand, the youngest programmers are more likely to know how to use the framework of month, which is also a good thing to know.

        Multiply the percentage of people in each age group who grok assembly by the percentage that have elite skills that normally come from many years of experience.

        In 20 years of continually learning, I've already

        • In the old days I learned machine language, then assembler and then basic, all from the bottom up , but that was the seventies. Now on pcs assember is rarely needed and when it's used for performance reasons you can still question whether it's really needed. Hacking is different because you're trying to break things, you don't want to respect the interface and its safeties and errorhandling. On custom hardware though like modems I know assembler is used a lot.

      • I was doing assembler in highschool. It was the only way to get decent performance.
      • by Tuidjy ( 321055 )

        I doing plenty in Assembly for the Bulgarian People's Army in the 80s. There was a time I could read and edit in hexadecimal, getting things right most of the time. After the fall of the so called Communist government, I went to college in the US. Nothing mythical about Assembly and college, they mix just fine.

        As a matter of fact, at least in the 90s, MIT had plenty of courses that used Assembly... and a few were you would actually design both a processor (with a very simple instruction set) and write th

        • by Tuidjy ( 321055 )

          Damn, missing 'was', 'were' instead of 'where'... It's funny how these things happen whenever I start thinking about the bad old times, when the only thing that was better was me.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Watch some of the CCC talk videos. There are university students hacking commercial banking systems and games consoles for their dissertations. The games consoles in particular need a lot of assembler and low level work to recover keys, right down to the hardware level.

  • So apparently Russia's nerds have the same problems with personal hygiene that western nerds do...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    because don't pretend the U.S. has not done this for a decade or more. Russia (and China) has got _nothing_ on the U.S. when it comes to staging a cyberwar on the world, as the NSA revelations have proven. This NYT article is a case of the Fake News you've been hearing about.

  • A washing machine? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Saturday December 31, 2016 @01:00AM (#53583343) Journal

    The ad went on to assure recruits that they would be part of units called science squadrons based at military installations where they would live in 'comfortable accommodation' and showed an apartment outfitted with a washing machine, the Times reported.

    Wait a minute, you mean the President Elect chose to pimp out the US to a country that has to recruit tech talent with the promise of a fucking washing machine? A country that's sitting on untold natural resources but has an economy smaller than that of Spain?

    Jesus, Trump should have at least held out for China. We might have actually gotten something out of that deal.

    1. 1. Buy Slashdot
    2. 2. Buy Sourceforge
    3. 3. Place ads for leet haxors, with comfortable accommodation showing an apartment outfitted with a washing machine
    4. 4. Profit
  • You can see some of the dirty russkie's under the table efforts here. http://www.arcyber.army.mil/Pa... [army.mil] We really have to do something about this.
  • Hillary didn't lose because of some "mandate from the minority" or because of perceived corruptions... She lost because she has the personality of a beige jumpsuit.

    Trump won because he's the man you love to hate... Trump is EASILY as corrupt as Clinton, probably more so, but the conservatives can NEVER admit that because he's their backed horse now.

    Just like every other vitriolic conservative personality, they feign outrage, while giving a slight wink and a nod of supporting the very thing they "stand" for

  • by hyades1 ( 1149581 ) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Saturday December 31, 2016 @04:26AM (#53583783)

    Is Trump's connection with Putin purely sexual, or are there US national security implications?

    • Is Trump's connection with Putin purely sexual, or are there US national security implications?

      Odd - I would have modded your post as informative, maybe even insightful. Answer to the first is no, the second is very much yes.

      • Back at ya, my friend! I think if we ever find out how deep Trump's ties to Russia really are, we'll be pretty upset.

        • Back at ya, my friend! I think if we ever find out how deep Trump's ties to Russia really are, we'll be pretty upset.

          It's an almost unreal bit of irony how Russia has finally won the cold war, and they did it in service of the Party of McCarthy and the red scare.

    • by Xyrus ( 755017 )

      Is Trump's connection with Putin purely sexual, or are there US national security implications?

      Money, sex, and power. Putin helped Trump get elected. Power. Putin-Trump puts Rex Tillerson in as Secretary so he can roll back the sanctions blocking the half-trillion dollar oil deal Tillerson had with Putin. Money.

      So now we just need the sex part. All jokes of shirtless Putin and Trump nipple tickling him aside, I'm not sure where that plays in yet. Trump and some of his current and former associates have had plenty of dealings in Russia. Wouldn't surprise me in the slightest that someone like Trump has

      • I always kind of wondered whether the "modelling agency" his wife worked at might actually be something else.

  • Instead of this sham governments could do a real job. For example standardize plugs, sockets, voltage, or say traffic signs for automation.
  • "Russian government recruiters .. placing prominent ads on social media sites"

    Is there a link to the original adverts?
  • A whole lot of "zero evidence" going on
  • The NYT served as the Bush Administration's propaganda organ in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq. Now they are reprising that role for the Obama administration's last-ditch efforts to lie the country into war with Russia.

There is never time to do it right, but always time to do it over.

Working...