In a report entitled 'Peter the Great vs. Sun Tzu', Tom Kellermann, vice president of cyber security at Trend Micro, compared hackers from the two regions. His conclusion — the Eastern Europeans are far more insidious and strategic.
While East Asian groups tend to work for other organizations interested in their skills, hackers from Eastern Europe generally operate in small, independent units, and are focused on profit. Their infrastructure tends to be developed by them specifically for their own use in attacks.
"They (Eastern European groups] tend to want to be in control of their entire infrastructure and will routinely set up their own servers for use in attacks, develop their own DNS servers to route traffic and create sophisticated traffic directional systems used in their attacks," according to the report. "If they do go outside, they will carefully select bulletproof hosters to support their infrastructure. It is their hallmark to maintain control of the whole stack similar to the business models pioneered by Apple."
"In general, the East Asian hackers are not at the same skill level of maturity as their East European counterparts," Kellermann concluded. Comparing the two to real-world military tactics, Kellermann added that East European hackers act like snipers when they launch campaigns, whereas the East Asian hackers tend to colonize entire ecosystems via the “thousand grains of sand approach”."
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