Hacking in a Foreign Language: A Network Security Guide to Russia (and Beyond) presented at BlackHatUSA 2005

by Kenneth Geers,

URL : http://www.blackhat.com/presentations/bh-europe-05/bh-eu-05-geers-up.pdf

Summary : Has your network ever been hacked, and all you have to show for your investigative efforts is an IP address belonging to an ISP in Irkutsk? Are you tired of receiving e-mails from Citibank that resolve to Muscovite IP addresses? Would you like to hack the Kremlin? Or do you think that the Kremlin has probably owned you first? Maybe you just think that Anna Kournikova is hot. If the answer to any of the above questions is yes, then you need an introduction to the Gulag Archipelago of the Internet, the Cyberia of interconnected networks, Russia.
Do not let the persistent challenges of crossing international boundaries intimidate you any longer. In this briefing, we will follow several real-world scenarios back to Russia, and you will learn valuable strategies for taking your investigations and operations one big geographical step further. A brief introduction to Russia will be followed by 1,000 traceroutes over the frozen tundra described in detail, along with an explanation of the relationship between cyber and terrestrial geography. Information will be provided on Russian hacker groups and law enforcement personnel, as well as a personal interview with the top Russian cyber cop, conducted in Russian and translated for this briefing.
Quick: name one significant advantage that Russian hackers have over you. They can read your language, but you cannot read theirs! Since most Westerners cannot read Russian, the secrets of Russian hacking are largely unknown to Westerners. You will receive a short primer on the Russian language, to include network security terminology, software translation tools, and cross-cultural social engineering faux-pas (this method will apply to cracking other foreign languages as well).
Hacking in a Foreign Language details a four-step plan for crossing international frontiers in cyberspace. First, you must learn something about the Tribe: in this case, the chess players and the cosmonauts. Second, you must study their cyber Terrain. We will examine the open source information and then try to create our own network map using traceroutes. Third, we will look at the Techniques that the adversary employs. And fourth, we will conquer Translation. The goal is to level the playing field for those who do not speak a foreign language. This briefing paves the way for amateur and professional hackers to move beyond their lonely linguistic and cultural orbit in order to do battle on far-away Internet terrain.