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Russians Claim Their Hackers the Best In the World 551

Ant writes "ZDNet UK reports that Russians who once hacked for fun are now teaming up to get rich through cybercrime, according to police. The Russian cybercrime division, known as Department K, has warned that Russian hackers are the best in the world. From the article: 'Everyone knows that Russians are good at math...Our software writers are the best in the world, that's why our hackers are the best in the world.'"
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Russians Claim Their Hackers the Best In the World

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  • Pity... (Score:5, Funny)

    by C10H14N2 ( 640033 ) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @04:39AM (#12192028)
    ...they lost the ACM contest to the Chinese.

    I guess by "best" they mean "second best."
    • Dr Evil: I'm sorry Scott I can't help you destroy Alaska today. Daddy has to compete in a competition with Dr. No and the Russian Maffia to see who is the most evil virus writer.

      Maybe they are just too busy running their evil empires to compete in competitions?

  • Sorry (Score:2, Funny)

    by samtihen ( 798412 ) *
    In the post-9/11 world, Soviet Russians hack you! Sorry.
    • As soon as I saw the word Russia in the title, I knew it was an inevitability. If you didn't do it, someone else would have.

      Therefore, in Soviet Russia, forgiveness for the corny post finds you (!)
  • -1 Flamebait (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DarkHelmet ( 120004 ) * <mark@seventhc[ ] ['ycl' in gap]> on Sunday April 10, 2005 @04:40AM (#12192031) Homepage

    This story should be flagged -1 flamebait.

    I mean, seriously... back in the days of Soviet Russia (must resist), there used to be propaganda that claimed that a Russian invented the lightbulb, and other stuff like that.

    This is no better than American Patroitism. As an American, let me say that we are NOT the best country in the world, and that any time we say that we are, we sound as silly as the russians here.

    Anyway, I'd loooove to hear what the Chinese hackers have to say about this.

    • by PDA_Boy ( 821746 ) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @04:43AM (#12192050)
      Anyway, I'd loooove to hear what the Chinese hackers have to say about this.

      I'm sure we'll find out soon, all over the front pages of Department K's website, along with the strange Chinese term "0wn3d".

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Anyway, I'd loooove to hear what the Chinese hackers have to say about this.

      Probably something like "fuck USA Government - fuck PoizonBOx" only forgetting to close the TABLE tag.
    • by serutan ( 259622 ) <> on Sunday April 10, 2005 @05:06AM (#12192121) Homepage
      Got no time for this crap. I have to rush on over to the computer store and pick me up some quality Russian-made software products. I hear their programmers are the best in the world. Can't wait to get my hands on... uhhhhh... Tetris?
      • by Lars T. ( 470328 ) <> on Sunday April 10, 2005 @05:41AM (#12192238) Journal
        Somebody already installed some on your computer for you.
      • See, for example, Acronis [] products. Far above any alternatives I'm aware of, especially the disk partitioning tool. There are more if you look.
      • Re:-1 Flamebait (Score:5, Informative)

        by Cyberax ( 705495 ) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @06:38AM (#12192360)
        Russian software market is pretty endemic. Ie. you won't know anything about most of quality Russian software. For example, do you know about FAR [] - one of the best file managers in the world? Or how about RAR? And certainly you haven't heard about the superb mailer "The Bat!".

        Besides, lots of software is written in Russia: Microsoft Flight Simulator, IDEA (the best Java IDE) , etc.
        • Re:-1 Flamebait (Score:5, Informative)

          by gr8dude ( 832945 ) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @08:17AM (#12192601) Homepage
          hold on pal, The Bat! is made by RITlabs, it is a Moldovan company. Moldova is NOT Russia.

          Anyway, I know what I'm saying, because the company I work at, has a lot of common projects with RITlabs (their office is nextdoor). I can see the building from my balcony.

          I admit that WinRAR is the a great archiver, and Acronis TrueImage does kick Ghost\DriveImage\etc... but The Bat! is a 100% moldovan product.

          uhhm... here's their contact info:
      • Re:-1 Flamebait (Score:3, Insightful)

        by aralin ( 107264 )
        Damn, on my floor in Oracle HQ, I already cannot hear anything but russian. English became a distant second when you listen to the water cooler chatter. If you think the russians all work for russian companies you are sadly mistaken...
    • Re:-1 Flamebait (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 10, 2005 @05:08AM (#12192131)
      As an American, I'll point out that the Russians are the best (Black Hat) Hackers in the world.

      Why? Simple. They're organized. VERY well organized. There are massive rings of talented hackers who have found ways of cracking into boxes, zombifiying them stealing all the information they can out of them, then using them to send spam and phishing scams. They steal credit card numbers by the thousands.

      For the most part, such hackers in the rest of the world work alone, or in small groups. In Russia, there are numerous and large rings of these hackers, backed by the Russian mafia. Thanks to an astounding lack of law in Russia, that means they're basically untouchable...

      So yeah. I'd say they're the best in the world. Not that there's much pride to derive from that... Just like the Nigerians are quite proficient at e-mail scams...
      • Re:-1 Flamebait (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Technician ( 215283 )
        So yeah. I'd say they're the best in the world. Not that there's much pride to derive from that... Just like the Nigerians are quite proficient at e-mail scams...

        I don't know anybody in the .ru domain, that's why it's blocked at my router. It's a filter with zero false positives.

        My block list is beginning to look more like a white list.
    • Re:-1 Flamebait (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Thomas Miconi ( 85282 ) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @05:09AM (#12192134)
      It is an undisputed fact that the Soviets and Eastern Europeans were superior to the West in mathematics and abstract theoretical physics. The Soviet school built around Kolmogorov is the prominent example of this superiority.

      The fact is easy to explain: mathematics and theoretical physics don't cost much. All you need is a pencil and a sheet of paper. So the Soviets diverted most of their resources to these domains, simply because they could not afford the experimental apparatus necessary for chemistry, physics or molecular biology.

      Now, whether or not this distinction still holds in today's Putinian Russia is another matter entirely...

      • Re:-1 Flamebait (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MemoryDragon ( 544441 ) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @07:05AM (#12192436)
        It is also, how the society in soviet russia treated people in mathematics.

        I wanna give you an example, there is a reason why 90% of the best chess players come from russia. It is not that those people generally are smarter, but over here, if a kid loves math, chess or generally science, it is branded as a nerd or freak and subject to the heavy beating by the other kids. It either drops out of the field and becomes something mediocre (fill in the average lawyer, business crook in here) or follows the path and now faces the situation of getting constant beating by the management in a company which sees their researchers not as assets anymore but more as a cost reduction point which has to be outsourced to another country. It does not matter in the end that the company will run out of new products a few years later, because the management gets the golden handshake.

        Not a good idea to follow this career path, even if you have an enourmous talent.
        • Re:-1 Flamebait (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ph1ll ( 587130 )
          One way or another, there is a lot of propaganda going on.

          I have three Russian friends (ok, so one is Ukrainian ;-) and they all tell me the same thing about their University education. The final mark for the degree is based on a viva and the typical opening lines of your professor goes something like this:

          "You're not an A+ sudent but I can't decide whether you are a B or a C. I guess it depends on what kind of mood I am in today." [The guy extends his supine palm ready for the bribe].

          Now, I know yo

      • Re:-1 Flamebait (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Wudbaer ( 48473 )
        ... simply because they could not afford the experimental apparatus necessary for chemistry, physics or molecular biology.

        This is not entirely correct. Russia also has lots of very talented chemicists, biologists and physicists (if not, noone would be worried of them hired away by rogue states or terrorist groups to build WMDs). There are also some even if small excellent chemical and molecular biological companies which are basically spin-offs of the Soviet Union's old science cities. But they are also o
      • mathematics and theoretical physics don't cost much. All you need is a pencil and a sheet of paper

        Funnily enough, I remember a few years ago when I was thinking about doing a Phd in Physics. The theoretical physics group had an open day, so I went along. The head of the group gave a talk, and towards the end of it he said something like "Now, this is the point where we would show you round the group, but let's face it, there's nothing to see apart from a group of people sat at computers and scribbling on
    • "Russian invented the lightbulb"

      Of course they didn't, everyone knows that. The British did!
    • Re:-1 Flamebait (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 10, 2005 @05:24AM (#12192185)
      The lightbulb was invented in 1854 by Johann Goebel ( .html).

      The phone by some italian i dont remenber the name of, the television by some scot and etc etc etc.
      Yt really shows the power of [american] marketing that product-copying is perceived as innovation.
    • Bullshit (Score:4, Informative)

      by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @06:17AM (#12192313) Journal
      That's, no offense, bullshit. I can tell you first hand that the whole soviet block had a school system which is, sad to say, head and shoulder above anything the western world has to offer.

      Their society had many faults, and their model didn't work in the long run. But it did stuff people with knowledge, and most importantly it motivated them to learn instead of just being the cool dumb jock or the skinny airhead.

      1. Their whole school system was not an exercise in "let's have it at a level where everyone can understand it without effort." The whole school system was a merciless exercise in stuffing people with knowledge that maybe 10% fully understood in any particular subject, and noone could be good in all.

      The eastern block school system had in effect, the same function as speed-binning CPUs in a factory has. They kept cranking up the level to see at which point you break. It was a filter to determine how much each can learn.

      E.g., they never had a watered-down "science class" at any level. They started in elementary school with real physics and chemistry. By the last year of high school, they'd do quantum physics and advanced organic chemistry. And in maths you'd be surprised how early they got dragged into differentials, integrals and matrices.

      Their inter-school contests, called "olympics" for some reason, were supposed to further filter the best of the best. Preparing for a physics "olympics" in high school involved physics manuals from Berkeley and other western universities. Again, they learned that in _high_ _school_.

      2. More importantly, they had a helluva lot of incentive to actually learn.

      See, your place in society was determined by your grades. E.g., at the end of university they'd be sorted by grades and have a go at selecting where they want to work, from a big list of available jobs nation-wide. I.e., if you did well, you could pick a job anywhere you wanted, while if you barely had passed, you'd pretty much be guaranteed to get a job in some forgotten village at the far end of the map.

      Finding a job by personal networking and family friends was a lot harder than in the west. And it was regarded as the blatant corruption and nepotism that it really is. You needed really important friends to pull that kinda thing. (Being drinking pals with a low level team leader didn't even start to count as as a chance. Being a relative of a director or party official, maybe.)

      Also wages were planned by the state, and pretty much determined by how much learning was involved in getting that job. E.g., an electronics engineer or doctor would get a lot better paid than a plumber.

      3. The whole message society gave their students is "being smart is _good_". Being able to do well in that school system was a thing of pride, not a reason to be ridiculed as a nerd.

      And you know why? Precisely because of the above. _Everyone_, including your cool classmates or your girlfriend _knew_ that grades translate directly into salary. The cool jock or the cool prom-queen airhead were cool and all, but everyone knew that they're gonna be the ones who barely scrape a living. (Unless, see above, they happened to be relatives of someone _really_ important. Not many had their luck.) So they had a helluva lot fewer admirers.
      • Re:Bullshit (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Not exactly - in eastern block (maybe not in CCCP itself, but in many "sattelite countries"), there was idea of government being held by "working masses" - so, in fact, janitor was earning more money, than university teacher (and highest salaries were paid to miners) - so, people were not studying for money (if you wanted more money, and didn't mind drinking with other plumbers, you should have gone to shool that was educating plumbers)
        • Re:Bullshit (Score:4, Informative)

          by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @07:37AM (#12192504) Journal
          What you fail to mention, though, is that being a miner was little more than a delayed death sentence. Even working in a mining town or in some heavy industry towns was a silicosis waiting to happen, or other health problems. There were mining towns in Eastern Europe that were _covered_ in black coal dust. Those guys hadn't even started to give a damn about working conditions or ecology.

          Actually going down in the mine... well, let's just say, don't really make much plans about retirement. I.e., there was a helluva lot of incentive to _not_ end up in that kind of a job, money or no money.

          So let'e me ammend what I wrote there. Maybe you didn't get the absolute best salary in a high education job, but you did get the highest overall job quality and life quality.
      • Speed binning people (Score:5, Interesting)

        by new500 ( 128819 ) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @08:40AM (#12192662) Journal
        Just an aside, as i have no direct experience of Soviet school systems (though for the top streams i think you are pretty close) . .

        I was taught at a school here in the UK which effectively speed binned students. You VERY quickly got a layer cake of aptitudes and attitudes.

        Speed binning (I like that phrase you coined for education) is incredibly efficient IF all you want is to showw off with stars. It also creates some very complex characters. We also bombed through high level math very fast, e.g., had fantastic teachers who owere intense, and actually enjoyed it. But you had three distinct strata (gross simplification) - those who absorbed the strain and were pushed more and more until they lacked any social skill at all, those who cruised and tried to game the system (i was one of those, huh, so that's why i read Slashdot :) and those who really couldn't absorb the pressure and were carried along - very effectively - by the overall educational strength of the place. You couldn't be there and not learn, I assure you.

        But i characterise this as the difference between Intelligent, Smart and Proto-Genius. In the last caategory, when 4 "A Levels" were normal, friends of mine took on as many as twelve in the same period. And passed (pass for this place was 85% and above), and thought it quite the regular thing.

        But when it boils down to whether my school prepared anyone for anything outside its walls, I am less sure. That's being diplomatic. I was intimately involved with some of the fallout from that pressure . . .

        Speed Binning people leads to people being in the bin.

        If he wasn't snoring I'd say that to the Russian engineer asleep on my couch right now - a confused casualty i believe of the same approach when he was in school. Well, if you call ending up in advertising a punishment :-)

        To the abovev poster, NO grades do not translate directly into salary. Maybe they do if you exist within a confined and structured path from Grade School through Colledge and recruitment . . . maybe. My experience - some of the "dumbest" (N.B. quotes) guys i went to school with haul salaries that put the Proto-Genii in shame. Sorry, no direct correlation, because you assume all is C.P. Pressure changes characters. The secret to any educational system is to provide the social structure wherein the talented can work together over a long period of time. THAT is crucial to the sucess of the Soviet system - engineers who worked together, lived together, studied together. At least in my brief life i do not think there is such a structure available today. Communism removed many of the barriers to organising such intellectual labor, by removing marketplace constraints and the disruption of commerce on talented employees.

        I think you lack somee understanding of the processes involved, particularly in the Soviet planning system, and maybe should look closer too at how things are where you are. I sincerely hope you can drive a truck through my quickly worded comments, but in my defense this si an area which has touched me and fascinated me, not least because i saw the casualties of speed binning young talent up close, and became fascinated not to make the same mistakes with my kids.

        p.s. just a unfounded thought, but nerds are nerds the world around. i do however have a fairly decent amount of (often anecdotal) evidence that Soviet education created a lot more female (and pretty) nerds than did the UK or US systems. Education is about growing, and that's a LOT easier when you have abunch of chicks you can talk to :-)

        (sorry too lazy to fix typos)
      • Re:Bullshit (Score:3, Insightful)

        by peccary ( 161168 )
        I can tell you first hand that the whole soviet block had a school system which is, sad to say, head and shoulder above anything the western world has to offer.

        Their society had many faults, and their model didn't work in the long run. But it did stuff people with knowledge, and most importantly it motivated them to learn instead of just being the cool dumb jock or the skinny airhead.

        And you say that is an improvement over other school systems, which appeals to the slashdot choir. But that is a reflect
  • ...why does their economy suck so much ass?
    • by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @04:54AM (#12192086) Homepage Journal
      a lot of reasons. one is that the wrong people are good at math, one is that their society pretty much collapsed.

      though, just saying that they're good at math because they're russians is silly. they're good at math because they got/had good schools for that sort of thing(for some of the people). now they have system that churns out some high class computer scientists with low level understanding of the systems.. BUT NO JOBS FOR THEM!!!!

      why would they turn to cybercrime? when you're hungry and can't get a decent job(or even a lousy one) and your family is going hungry as well... and getting caught from small time cybercrime would be far fetched(or you thought that the risk was still worth it).

      of course they're assholes still, but there's reasons for why they're doing what they're doing. personally I'd prefer to be hit by a bit of cybercrime rather than being mugged while visiting moscow.
      • Actually no, that was how things seemed to be, but face it human nature grew in that system as well. You just pointed out the positive sides, but the problem was, and George Orwell pointed that out in animal farm.

        That very soon after the russian revolution new fractions rose above the others (mainly the government people, kgb and military) and those once the system broke down were the ones who basically ran the system even more down with corruption. It is not in the mentality of the russian people to scre
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Because economics closer to politics than math.
    • Because Russian politics is manic-depressive. It's either all liberalism and opening borders, and forgetting laws and letting the crime gangs roam free around the country, or it's all totalitarian, with TV stations shut down, constant Orwellian-type war and positioning itself as world's superpower (in fact, Russian papers are told to consistently call G7 a G8 to create the impression that Russia really belongs there).

      There's no middle ground, no moderation to politics in that country, and it's usually mode
  • hackers or ... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by xlyz ( 695304 )

  • "They realise if you are clever at something then you should use it to earn a living. They are hacking to get rich and uniting over networks."

    The article doesn't seem to say what exactly they are doing to get rich, it mentions DDOSing gambling sites, but no money making schemes used by them.

    It would be doubtful for companies to hire russians who hacked their systems to fix them (kimbel, anyone?) when there already are so many companies in the computer security business
    • Re:hmm (Score:3, Informative)

      by ashkar ( 319969 )
      It's a common scheme of blackmailing a site that you DDOS. You offer to call off the bots if they pay. A lot of companies are having problems with this these days.
    • Re:hmm (Score:4, Interesting)

      by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @05:12AM (#12192139) Homepage Journal
      you pick a shady operation operated by a shady person who doesn't look to be too computer literate.

      typically you would pick an illegal investment schemes site(internet is FULL of these - there's so many that you wouldn't believe all equally illegal and equally shady and equally based on the ponzi principle of paying the first from money the people who came in later 'invested'). then you dos it for a day and ask for small enough sum that they will pay(say, 1000$ or whatever). when they're shady enough they won't even go the cops.

      do it once a week and you could live like a king in russia.

      also, probably a lot of non-russian hackers use russian proxies to cover their tracks.
  • of course (Score:5, Funny)

    by qewl ( 671495 ) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @04:42AM (#12192046)
    'our hackers are the best in the world.'

    A lot of script kiddies claim that..
  • Sure... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Mr Europe ( 657225 ) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @04:45AM (#12192058)
    And the Russian police is the best in the world, in corrupcy !
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 10, 2005 @04:45AM (#12192059)
    Oh, sure, their economy's in the crapper, crime is out of control, Chechen terrorists attack Moscow every now and again, the political scene is split between nationalist authoritarians and communist authoritarians, poverty's no better than under Soviet conditions, and AIDS is ballooning in the nation, but damn it, their hackers are top notch!
  • Big Holes (Score:5, Funny)

    by Fussen ( 753791 ) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @04:46AM (#12192063)
    Yeah ok, I think not enough of your have witnessed the glory of Goldeneye. As Borris clearly demonstrated, "I am inveincible!" And so it is.

    All they need is an IBM computer with 14.400 bps modem 2x cd-rom and and a lot of cigarettes. That's it!

    No no.. I know. You say, what about babe.. but no. The 2x cd-rom is what made it magic.
  • Proper form (Score:2, Funny)

    by Zwets ( 645911 )

    In school you couldn't hack mathematics.

    In Soviet Russia, mathematicians hack YOU!

    (apologies, but it's been a while since anyone observed proper form for Soviet Russia-jokes :-)

    • I, for one, welcome our new Russian Mathemetician overlords!

      No, seriously - it can't be worse than being faced with another choice between cookie-cutter Republocrat/Demican candidates who differ (if at all) only in the question of which corporations they've been bought by, and who spend so much time talking out of their asses that you can't tell whether they're coming or going.

      Former or current Russian leaders I would object to (strongly), but Russian mathematicians? That could be interesting. Heck, I b
  • by Travoltus ( 110240 ) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @04:48AM (#12192067) Journal
    ... Russian Mafia-driven identity/credit card fraud against Americans and citizens of other perceived (note I said "perceived") well to do nations.

    These Russian hackers will get the top dollar from the Russian mob, and second to them will be the foreign call/data center workers who have access to foreign outsourced financial/medical data. The hackers will be much more reliable foot soldiers than call/data center workers.

    Look to the Russian mafia and their hacker flunkies to be in competition with US criminals and Al Qaeda archetypes as the primary causes of global cybercrime. :(

    BTW this isn't meant to be a troll against Russians, Russians as a whole are no more or less cool than the rest of the world... but the Soviet Union did fall apart and their ultra high tech stuff did scatter to the 4 winds, at least 2 of those winds being the Russian Mob...
    • I wouldn't be shocked if one of those 2 winds has nukes too. But that's another story.
    • ... Russian Mafia-driven identity/credit card fraud against Americans and citizens of other perceived (note I said "perceived") well to do nations.

      Any system that relies on combination of 16 digits and the name of the card holder (9 digits and the name in case of SNN) to authenticate the owner of the bank account and give complete access to that account's finances is bound to be broken sooner or later, Russian mob or no Russian mob.
  • I think the whole purpose of this story is as a setup for "In Soviet Russia" jokes.

    -1 meme-bait.

  • Heh. (Score:5, Funny)

    by ggvaidya ( 747058 ) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @04:51AM (#12192075) Homepage Journal
    I bet that article will read "CHINESE hackers best in the world" in a coupla hours :)
    • In China, only old people eat, wait. hackers. uh....huh...huh..huh.
    • Ofcourse they will , however they will never be able to compete with the wests social engineering hackers. To prove this point all I need you to do is send me your credit card details and password for your PC and i can check the list of hacked PCs and stolen credit card numbers to see if your on it and cross reference it with the method that was used to hack it
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 10, 2005 @04:54AM (#12192082) []

    1. Japan 557
    2. Korea, South 547
    3. New Zealand 537
    4. Finland 536
    5. Australia 533
    6. Canada 533
    7. Switzerland 529
    8. United Kingdom 529
    9. Belgium 520
    10. France 517
    11. Austria 515
    12. Iceland 514
    13. Denmark 514
    14. Sweden 510
    15. Ireland 503
    16. Norway 499
    17. Czech Republic 498
    18. United States 493
    19. Germany 490
    20. Hungary 488

  • *sigh* (Score:5, Funny)

    by strider44 ( 650833 ) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @05:00AM (#12192106)
    The geek version of penis envy.
  • Having worked with three Russians, let me assure you that whatever else they are, they're not way-above-average programmers.

    Now, I'm not going to claim they suck. Three isn't a big sample size. But two of the three hard coded their solutions to produce the sample output from the sample test data. They didn't work with any other sample test data... the whole code was a series of ifs and assignments. The third was just a little below average. Mind you, I've been disappointed in nearly every hire in the last

  • by tm2b ( 42473 ) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @05:24AM (#12192188) Journal
    This is Russian law enforcement, that marvel of the 21st century, speaking.

    Their logic is probably that because the Russian Police are so good, the fact that there are so many uncaught Russian hackers must mean that the Russian hackers are the best!
  • This is a result of "former-superforce" sympthom. We were strong (and ugly) and everyone was scared of us. And now nobody gives a damn. It is sometimes scary to see, how many people in Russia think that the main thing for us is too kick the world's ass again (and totally forget about such "small" things as broken economy, personal wealth and Putin's regime). I'm Russian myself, but sometimes I'm so ashamed of beeing one :-( And some facts 1. Majority of best russian programmers / hackers now work abroad
  • by egy ( 764367 ) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @05:33AM (#12192211)
    to take control over the Russian ISP's and russian internet press, I think.

    Opposition in Russia don't have any chance to get into TV, and Internet is the only media space they have. So Russian authorities say, "Look, these hackers are going to steal your money !!! We have to conrol as much as we can to stop this !!!". Nothing new, as for me.

    PS. AFAIK (and I am Ukrainian), professional level of Russian ( and Ukrainian) programmers/hackers/crackers isn't differ too much from world's average. Claiming than "We are the best" is so silly ...

  • .. that said that 90% of programmers think that their programming skills are in the 1% top percent compared to others.

    Cleary the russian don't lack such a hybris ;)
  • ...In Soviet Russia computer hacks you!!

    So no need for criminal to be good at it comrade.
  • Okay, fine, you say that, I'll keep living in a *REAL* first world country making a shit load of money doing what I do.
  • I know plenty of russians that are horrible at math, in fact I know some russians that are horrible at everything other than doing drugs and collecting welfare. Certainly not all of the russians that I know are degenerates, but who would make a statement as stupid as russians are good at math?
  • by baadger ( 764884 ) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @06:20AM (#12192318)
    Isn't most hacking more to do with 'social engineering' and thinking your way around obsticles than actual hardcore programming or math?

    Programmers are common, im sure given enough info any well matured programmer could write an exploitative piece of's finding the holes that's the real
  • by Lispy ( 136512 ) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @06:24AM (#12192324) Homepage
    The best band since the beatles. Yeah, rrright.
  • the Artful Dodger, singing:
    We Are the Best Hackers in the World
  • by Bitscape ( 7378 ) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @06:52AM (#12192401) Homepage
    At least they have the best online music store in the world []. That's got to count for something.
  • by MemoryDragon ( 544441 ) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @06:57AM (#12192415)
    Some of the best comp sci people Ive ever worked with came from Romania and Russia (I am Austrian btw. have been groing up in the west).

    I guess one reason for that is, the prolongued, we have to code lots of stuff in assembler period, which was way over in 1990 in our countries, most of them had to wait until 1995 until the situation was at the point they could afford better stuff.

    The other thing is, that unlike the west, who has been celebrating half criminal business people and even more criminal laywers as heroes and basically has been slamming technical people since the mid eighties as freaks, nerds and whatever, in the old soviet union (which was until 1990) mathematicians and technical people were very highly regarded and it was a good career path (my current girlfriend had a father who worked in nuklear research and a mother who basically was a computer technitian) for both genders.

    Things have changed by now as well, but that those things are still sort of a aftermath of those years. The reason why the SU never took off technically was because of the communists who basically had the researchers but lacked the mentality and the funds to give them a breeding ground for ideas, also my personal guess is that many of them were thrown into jail as well once they started to criticize the system, which always happens with intelligent people (one of the reasons why a downgoing society starts to beat the bright ones, who usually dont have the mentality to fight back, because they scare the ones in power).

    Over here we have different problems, and it sort of is a wonder that we came that far, because the treatment the techies have been given generally is not that good, we probably will see the aftermaths of the current, we dont develop anything we just buy the stuff period in a few years, when the first corporations will crumble because they have become obsolete brands which will be slowly replaced by once outsourcing companies.

    • by milimetric ( 840694 ) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @08:38AM (#12192650) Journal
      heh, how did Romania get dragged into this? I'm from Romania and I can relate my personal experience. I was given my first computer when I was 4 and have been programming and building hardware ever since. I work in America now, I went to Cornell (oooh, fancy) and I am a consultant. What people said about the school system in Russia is true about Romania as well. You were bombarded with information and were constantly competing for the top spots in the class. Intelectuals were very cool and the girls were attracted to you if you were smart. For example, chess and math was a way to get girls (imagine my shock when I came to the U.S.). There were jocks too, and girls liked them as well, but my point is Intelectuals were respected and encouraged. And by the way, in response to an earlier post, "olympics" are actually "olympiads" and you have them all over the world silly, such as the mathematics olympiad which the Bulgarians just won, I believe. This might help make good programmers and hackers, but also as other people said the "best in the world" claims are ridiculous. Best at what? And since when do countries compete against each other at hacking? That being said, one of the most amazing guys I've ever seen is Romanian. I saw this dude stomping out viruses realtime in DOS using the debug program. He works for Microsoft now. In Soviet Russia... Microsoft hacks you!
  • by Julian Morrison ( 5575 ) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @07:20AM (#12192467)
    ...until you have read him in the original Russian!

    (I hear the Klingon translation is also quite good.)
  • Everyone knows that Russians are good at math

    Yup, just like when I was 12 and we had math team competitions at school...

    We dreaded the team with the asian kid in, as we knew they'd get all the questions with fractions in them.
  • by Mr_Icon ( 124425 ) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @08:43AM (#12192671) Homepage
    Government official: "Russia has the ${SUPERLATIVE} ${SKILL}ers in the world! Now, please to be watchink while we're going to collectively ignore this wonderful asset, and instead of introducing initiatives to aide the growth in this area, we're going to stuff our pockets with free money while bickering with our opponents."
  • Russia vs US debate (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @10:01AM (#12192936) Journal
    All I know is one thing in the debate wich country is best at computers. Windows is made in the USA.

    Some of the most fun games of recent times come from old soviet countries while america got EA games.

    Most spam and popups are for american products while the best serials and no-cd sites are in russia.

    Saying that russia has the best hackers is pure flamebait BUT it is not entirely without reason. It reminds me a lot of the argument wich space program was/is best. The americans beat themselves on the chest with the fact they went to the moon and the space shuttle can carry a lot of people while Mir was falling apart. Any sensible person will remark that the moon missions have stopped, that the space shuttle is also the most lethal space vehicle if not the most lethal vehicle ever to be produced in a series and that Mir for all its creakiness stayed up for years and years and never killed anyone.

    A lot of cybercrime comes from countries were the law enforces got better things to worry about then some rich foreigners getting ripped off. Are russians better at it then anyone else? Maybe but that is hardly something to boast about.

    On the other hand we the supposed better west are only hurting ourselves when we laugh of these russian claims. Russian space program is still beating the west even with their ruined economy (how many russians been killed in space since the collapse of the soviet union vs american casualities? Who is currently keeping the international space station up and running?). A whole country whose goverment has no motivation to stop cybercrime is a big threath to the west that want to turn the internet into a big part of their economy.

    • Actually, no. The shuttle has a 2% failure rate. Compare that to the original Soyuz 7K-OK (1 manned flight out of 8 manned failed resulting in death, unmanned ratio similar), or the redesigned 7KT-OK (2 flights, 1 failure resulting in loss of crew). I think of mission failure rates as more important than absolute crew loss numbers, because a failure on a space mission nearly invariably kills everyone; loss numbers are simply a function of how many people are on a given mission. So, no, the Shuttle is by
  • Evil Empire Inc. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @12:07PM (#12193678) Homepage Journal
    If they were really "the best", they'd be getting rich on legit contracts. The legit economy is much bigger than the criminal one (excluding the military/oil biz, but that's bait for a different TrollMod thread ;). Russian cost of living is very low compared to their global competitors, except for India and China. And their infrastructure, at least in European cities, is better. If they were that good, their productivity would be high enough to draw contracts from the rest of the world, yet they are not the first choice of global outsourcers.

    The real difference is that Russia has the biggest, most sophisticated mafia in the world (except see disclaimer above ;). The Soviet empire was a mafia state, and much of that mafia just privatized with its collapse. The Russian economy hasn't improved much (again, those persistently "irrelevant" exceptions ;), except in the crime sector. So the actual talent, though not necessarily "the best", has little legit markets for its labor organized within Russia. Programmers work where managers organize buyers for their labor, and Russian management for programmers can be found largely in organized crime. Such an inaccurate statement as the Department K "victory" claim reflects the Russian government's inability to even officially recognize their economic failures, which of course perpetuates the problem. And cybercops claiming their criminals are the toughest serves to increase cop budgets, and excuse their failures - drawing resources away from investment in the legit economy that would attract these good programmers instead. They believe their own cover story, and there's no way out of their trap. Unfortunately, the rest of us have to live with their crime, too, and without the global productivity we'd get if they went straight.

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