October 25, 2016

As a Russian myself, I couldn’t help but follow the recent news about a huge DDoS attack on many prominent popular sites in the US (and more). I suspect that a lot of my colleagues would do a better job explaining the entire situation and suggest prognoses for the resolutions, and hence, my unique value proposition to this topic would be to talk from my Russian experience. Why are Russian hackers always the first to blame?

I am a Russian, and yes, there are plenty of hackers in both my homeland and the entire post-soviet union space. The socioeconomic environment dictated the vast of my teenage years to be spent wandering around on the internet – life was not yet pretty outdoors, but indoors most Russian families could already afford a simple PC with a dial-up connection. Personally, developing websites from scratch used to be my favourite pastime and a good reality avoidance mechanism. A lot of my good friends absolutely loved hacking for the same reason. 

Hacking small web servers, social media profiles – anything that sounded fun to them. Moreover, this community of “hooligans” grew thanks to the support of equally curious pals. Very popular websites like Хабрахабр (habrahabr) are among many of the proofs that IT is a very common Russian hobby. So what prompts these young people to hack everything around them?

Fun. Or the perceived power over the government in a space where the politics matter the least. A contemporary philosopher, Slavoy Žižek, has a perfect metaphor about a Mongolian warrior, poor man and his wife (better be Googled) describing the situation. In short, Russian younger generation prefers to feel they have control at least over one very sensitive part of their life, which are in full controlled by and dependent on the government. Slavoy, nevertheless, suggests to “cut the dusty balls of capitalism”, but again, I will leave you alone with this reference better explained by Žižek himself.

A side note: E-businesses are not so popular on the RU.net. This could be partially attributed to the fact that the internet is a way less trustworthy space there, given the vulnerabilities that can be easily exploited by my 15-year old neighbour. Security is a fortress to build still unknown to many, whether I mean security on the internet or security and stability in the lives of my friends and family back in the motherland.


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