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Trend Micro Commentary on Global Hackers

Trend Micro Incorporated Opinion Piece, September 2012 – Peter the Great Versus Sun Tzu

  • “Due to the competitive nature of the environment, East European hackers create customized malware, often with all capabilities internally hard-coded with no external third-party tools. Trend Micro threat researchers noted that robust anti-debugging techniques and complex command and control (C&C) are hallmarks of East European design. East European malware are not always innovative but often incorporate several exploits designed by others in creative ways. An East European hacker is only as good as his last successful job. East European malware are so elegantly crafted, they have been dubbed the “Faberge Eggs” of the malware world. This is due in part to the long history of high-quality science and math education in the former Soviet Bloc. With the fall of communism and the free market chaos that ensued, East Europeans with strong math and science backgrounds turned to the skills developed to help fight the Cold War and started using them to put food on the table by selling them to the highest bidder. In addition, computer scientists in the former Soviet Bloc had to make do with simpler, less sophisticated computing resources, which instilled in them a discipline to make every line of code count. These were combined to yield a pool of expert craftsmen able to build high-impact, small-footprint malware. Probably the best recent example of this is in the new Tinba malware—a well-crafted piece of malware that is optimized for size and capability and used in Trojan banker attacks targeting Turkey.”
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