back to article Ruskies behind German govt cyber attack — report

Russia is the chief suspect in the recent hack of the Bundestag, according to esteemed German mag Der Spiegel. Officials within the German government are still refusing to publicly point the finger, but sources close to the Bundestag’s tech department have told El Reg that all indications point to a state-sponsored attack. …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh, Really?

    First of all, last 10 times I was having technical discussion about software with Israelis we did it 100% in Russian (financial and managerial would have been in Hebrew, but technical... why use English when you can use the real native language of the software developers). Israel is an extreme example, but it is not alone to that respect - last time I flew the NewArk-Boston route I ended up being seated on United in between two Russian mobsters (or to be more exact "Odessa mob" from what is todays Ukraine) and behind their 2 computer geeks which were quite happily discussing how to disguise key loggers thinking that nobody understand them. They are everywhere too. Just walk down one of the more expensive streats of Kensington and Chelsea and look around.

    So to start with, Russian diaspora and especially the diaspora from the georgaphical area where Stalin singlehandedly created the Odessa Mob through his version of "apartheid" (*) is spread far and wide.

    Second, if you need a hack to order which is _NOT_ on Russian territory the place where you can purchase the most high quality code is Russia and today's Ukraine, other places like China, India, etc are way behind technically. You can also order it via the local mob "rep" :)

    In either case, the "fingerprints" on the code will look Russian, but it will not be "state sponsored". It will also be _HIGHER_ quality than "government sponsored" code as it will be written by people who do that for a living.

    (*) The quota system for Soviet universities as well as degree-required jobs was rigged i a way that Jews were mandated to use their "minority" quota (supposedly a privilege and a minority right) resulting in them being unable to get into higher education with anything but a perfect straight A* record. So the Mob suddenly got a source of brains to complement the cheap Russian cannon fodder which it always had in the first place.

    1. Bloakey1

      Re: Oh, Really?

      Exactly.

      I am sitting in a hotel in Cyprus hearing similar conversations, one notable conversation was a pair of women talking about control servers and zombies.

      They are everywhere, add to the pot Bulgarians and others from Eastern Europe and you have a well educated bunch of ne'er do wells doing advanced contract work in a field they have made there own.

      One of my favourite tricks that their lower orders have is of gassing villas and robbing the incapacitated residaents or filling the air spaces around cash points with combustible gasses and blowing them up thereby turning the cashpoint into a projectile.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oh, Really?

        "One of my favourite tricks that their lower orders have is of gassing villas and robbing the incapacitated residaents or filling the air spaces around cash points with combustible gasses and blowing them up thereby turning the cashpoint into a projectile."

        I'm familiar with that methodology. There are trivial and effective countermeasures for that that are also low tech. :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh, Really?

      Guess if you're able to speak Russian so well you are also very close to Russia itself... which explains also your post very well. Especially since you don't know what evidences lead to Russia...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh, Really?

      AC, it's simple and can be explained in three letters. RBN.

      The Russian Business Network.

      A group that the Kremlin claims are criminals, but interestingly participated in the South Ossetia war, with highly precise timing of attack duration, initiation and curtailing just as military efforts ended.

      Sorry, but if looks like a polecat, smells like a polecat, it isn't a fucking cow.

      TTP's matched 100%.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How exactly did the Germans obtain the *source code* to software developed by the Russians to spy on the Germans. Presumably by spying on the Russians!

    Spies Spy. It is their job.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "How exactly did the Germans obtain the *source code* to software developed by the Russians to spy on the Germans."

      That, compiler tags, disassembly, decompiling, etc.

      And spies.

      Here's the good thing: Spies keep everyone honest.

  3. James 51

    Is this sort of thing happening to the Russian government so do they keep it quiet?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      what, like hacking the Russian government?

      This has NEVER happened, doesn't happen, never will. And because they're so confident in their security, they make it a state secret to punish those who reveal that the hacks don't happen.

      1. Richard Altmann

        Re: what, like hacking the Russian government?

        The Kremlin does not use computers wherever avoidable. No network, no hacking. On the Upper Floors its still typewriters. No maleware, leaks or an EMP smart bomb can disable Mr. Putin´s reign.

        A Igor Snowden might have some difficulties hauling truckloads of secret documents out of Russia.

        No networks, no computers, no USB slots to siphon information from.

        To give Edward Snowden a residence permit for Russia proofs Mr. Putin´s sense of humour.

        btw: Der Spiegel is a weekly, not a daily.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: what, like hacking the Russian government?

          "The Kremlin does not use computers wherever avoidable. No network, no hacking. On the Upper Floors its still typewriters. No maleware, leaks or an EMP smart bomb can disable Mr. Putin´s reign."

          Not *quite* true. Logistics and sending orders requires data networks.

          Or response is delayed by days to weeks traversing the vast Russian Confederation.

          1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

            Re: what, like hacking the Russian government?

            "Logistics and sending orders requires data networks"

            Why? We did it for a century using voice networks.

    2. Tom 13

      Re: Is this sort of thing happening to the Russian government

      If you aren't another government power and you hack the Russian government, the Russian government actually does what all you Brits think the NSA does: they send out a wet works team to eliminate the problem. If you are another government power it's a calculated risk whether on not they send the team.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is this sort of thing happening to the Russian government

        "If you aren't another government power and you hack the Russian government, the Russian government actually does what all you Brits think the NSA does: they send out a wet works team to eliminate the problem."

        Save that the NSA has no wet work teams. That's the CIA's job.

        The NSA is the "puzzle palace", decrypting encrypted things, figuring out new encryption, listening in on any communication that they can, analysis of "captured" devices in those lines.

        The CIA, on the other hand, does retain "wet work teams".

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The future of software begins in Russia

    Virus writing is an art even higher than compiler writing - you have to not only understand the hardware at a deep level, but understand the software that runs on top of it - the whole stack - hypervisor, OS, application processes and anti-virus processes. You have to be able to detect virtualization, obfuscate your own binary, encrypt communications, search for patterns, limit resource usage, replicate, mutate, and on top of that provide an API for your main mission objective.

    It's truly a holistic form of software development light years ahead of what Microsoft, Google, and Facebook are doing, and it's being done on a shoestring budget - yet the bang for the buck is absolutely astronomical.

    Good for them, the software industry is ripe for disruption.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: The future of software begins in Russia

      Malware is actually difficult to write because of its need of infiltration and hiding, but it's still a "little" piece of code doing "limited" functions. Developing large, complex applications is another hard task, just on a different level.

      There are "excellent" virus writer which would never be able to write a large, complex application, and vice versa. Different skills for different tasks.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The future of software begins in Russia

        "There are "excellent" virus writer which would never be able to write a large, complex application, and vice versa."

        *Real* virus authors use assembly language, then encapsulate it.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does anyone else think this story attracted a couple pro level Russian trolls?

  6. O RLY

    First, Der Spiegel is a weekly, with some daily website updates.

    Second, they're usually very well sourced and have a history of pissing off their own governments as well as foreign, so not likely to be the route of a false-flag alert. From the 1962 Spiegel Affair to the Snowden disclosures, Spiegel has had a long run of publishing unpopular truths.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And yet the EU continues...

    ...to do business with Russia on many fronts - all in the lust for money. Some folks will sell their soul for money. While Russia arms rebels who shoot down commercial airliners full of innocent people and Russia slaughters thousands in their Imperialistic moves into the Ukraine, the world sits by and does little except impose some financial hardships that only impact the common man, not the criminal government staff.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: And yet the EU continues...

      OK, you don't like sanctions.

      Now how do you propose the West can impact on "the criminal government staff" without starting a war?

      1. Wzrd1

        Re: And yet the EU continues...

        "Now how do you propose the West can impact on "the criminal government staff" without starting a war?"

        Not without it going thermonuclear within less than a week.

  8. Sleep deprived
    Alert

    Were code variables named in Russian?

    Better switch to a proper compiled language.

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