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Education Programming United States

Why So Many Top Hackers Come From Russia (krebsonsecurity.com) 263

Long-time Slashdot reader tsu doh nimh writes: Brian Krebs has an interesting piece this week on one reason that so many talented hackers (malicious and benign) seem to come from Russia and the former Soviet States: It's the education, stupid. Krebs's report doesn't look at the socioeconomic reasons, but instead compares how the U.S. and Russia educate students from K-12 in subjects which lend themselves to a mastery in coding and computers -- most notably computer science. The story shows that the Russians have for the past 30 years been teaching kids about computer science and then testing them on it starting in elementary school and through high school. The piece also looks at how kids in the U.S. vs. Russia are tested on what they are supposed to have learned.
Fossbytes also reports that Russia claimed the top spot in this year's Computer Programming Olympics -- their fourth win in six years -- adding that "the top 9 positions out of 14 were occupied by Russian or Chinese schools." The only two U.S. schools in the top 20 were the University of Central Florida (#13) and MIT (#20).
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Why So Many Top Hackers Come From Russia

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  • by Tuidjy ( 321055 ) on Sunday June 25, 2017 @06:52PM (#54688455)

    I've been watching a lot of Russian language media lately, because I have been trying to restore my language skills. Hackers in Russian movies are much more realistic than in American ones.

    One gets asked whether he can get in a secure system? He does not boast, he answers "I will certainly try."

    He does not mash the keyboard while he is getting a blowjob, he deploys an arsenal from 'Flashka' or from a alphabetical soup URL.

    He examining an air-gapped system, looking for a way to get at the hardware, and mumbling about which patches seems not to have been applies.

    He gets asked to get some video records? He asks "Do I have an hour and a half"?

    Etc... And that is from police shows, where the staff hackers are not necessarily named characters, and definitely not the focus of the series.

    This tells me that that the population at large has some idea about IT... you would not make a movie in the US where the driver will shift three times while driving backwards, would you? I mean... Uh, you get the point.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      ... you would not make a movie in the US where the driver will shift three times while driving backwards, would you?...

      US films are usually about making money via drama and "entertainment" (whether or not you're entertained is subjective). So yes, we most certainly would, assuming the scene was intense, dramatic, put viewers on the edge of their seats -- all with hopes of making tons of cash at the box office.

      The last glimpse I saw of accurate "hacker" portrayal in the US was in the 1992 film "Sneakers".

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Razed By TV ( 730353 )
        To GP: Your post is frightening and enlightening.

        To anon parent: GP's comment, possibly half tongue-in-cheek, was alluding to American's being focused on powerful cars and high stakes driving, and it being reflected in movies that will accurately portray skillfully driving expensive cars. The Fast and the Furious moviegoer will not, in fact, expect the driver to shift three times while driving backwards, because there is only one gear for going backwards. (For the record, I have not seen a Fast and t
        • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Sunday June 25, 2017 @11:41PM (#54689405) Homepage Journal

          there is only one gear for going backwards. (For the record, I have not seen a Fast and the Furious movie).

          You have not driven a recent Mercedes with a 7G-Tronic transmission either. They have two reverse gears, R1 and R2, with different ratios.
          And older Mazda rotary engine cars like the RX3 could run the engine both ways - if you rolled backwards, turned off the engine, put it in first and dropped the clutch, it would start in reverse mode, and you could now use all gears.

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            My car can do 96 MPH in reverse. No gearbox. Just saying.

          • I'm assuming you haven't driven a Telsa which can go in reverse just as quickly as forward without needing silly mechanical shifting or even messy and leaking explosions under the hood like those antiquated caveman cars.
            • by arth1 ( 260657 )

              I'm assuming you haven't driven a Telsa which can go in reverse just as quickly as forward without needing silly mechanical shifting or even messy and leaking explosions under the hood like those antiquated caveman cars.

              You're right. I have never driven a Telsa...
              But the GGP was about shifting while driving in reverse, so it's about as relevant as whether you can walk backwards.

        • In all fairness, that scene was offensive in its unrealism to a lot of US movegoers also. What a load 'o' crap that film was.

      • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
        Re "all with hopes of making tons of cash"
        In Russia you study to become veterinarian.
        In Capitalist West cartoon about horse doctor entertains you.
        • Nice. It did shock me to discover that most Vets don't make more than your typical office worker though.
      • > US films are usually about making money via drama and "entertainment" (whether or not you're entertained is subjective).

        This is my new favorite phrase for the week.

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Sunday June 25, 2017 @09:44PM (#54689055) Homepage

      You sir nailed it on the head.

      In the USA we coddle the idiots and the stupids. WE tell them they are special and make sure hard things are not hard for them.
      Elsewhere the coddling does not happen, they create TV shows that support intellect and thought... instead of the US Where We have basically "ow my balls" , "dancing with ow my balls", and "thinking is hard news channel"

      This is the difference. you treat a populace as if they are highbrow they get embarrassed if they dont understand and aspire to learn. If you cater to the lowest common then you get everyone degenerated to that.

      • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Monday June 26, 2017 @12:05AM (#54689465) Homepage Journal

        This is the difference. you treat a populace as if they are highbrow they get embarrassed if they dont understand and aspire to learn.

        This may well be a factor. In the US, few people seem to be ashamed of being ignorant.
        Just last week I mentioned to someone that I'd like to visit Malta again, and he said "Where's that? Africa?". It's not that he didn't know, but that he had no embarrassment or shame whatsoever. If I didn't know where a country was, I would have looked it up before opening my mouth, or at the very least have apologized for my ignorance instead of flaunting it.

        Before Internet took off, most people also had an encyclopedia in the bookshelf; even if they couldn't afford Encyclopaedia Britannica, at least a small one. Except Americans, who at most would have a Scrabble dictionary. This perplexed me - didn't people want to find out things? It took me a while to accept that no, in general, they don't, and they were not the least bit ashamed of that either.

        • ... they were not the least bit ashamed of that either.

          Sometimes I get the impression that Americans are proud of being ignorant - or at least pretend to be proud of it (and I say this without malice). I wonder if it is because of the general mistrust in anything to do with government and 'city slickers' that seems to have been a feature of much of American culture - the sort of sentiment that seems to be crystallised in Sam Cooke's song, "Don't Know Much About History". Bookish knowledge and education is something that can feel as if it is dictated by some au

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            I always thought it was because children are encouraged to ask questions and learn constantly, and not be embarrassed about it.

            Should people be embarrassed that they don't know something and have asked about it? Seems to me like they are trying to improve themselves. I'd be more inclined to think they were an idiot if they seemed not to know and not to be interested in finding out.

            I think it's not so much pride in ignorance, it's that people have been convinced that their opinions matter. There was some pol

            • "faced with actual data and solid evidence"

              Yes, but in fairness massaging that data and evidence to suit a position has become so much an art that nobody really trusts anything unless it reaffirms what they suspect already or are neutral toward.

              One I often point at is "gun crime" statistics where guns are more readily available. Of course "gun" crime goes up when guns are more readily available, but "gun crime" was only labeled and categorized separately so someone could have a statistic which implies, but
        • by r0kk3rz ( 825106 )

          In the US, few people seem to be ashamed of being ignorant. Just last week I mentioned to someone that I'd like to visit Malta again, and he said "Where's that? Africa?". It's not that he didn't know, but that he had no embarrassment or shame whatsoever.

          To be fair, 'Africa' is not a bad guess. Malta is a tiny island located between continental Africa and Italy.

          As a counter-anecdote, last week I was in France for a music festival, and one of the bar staff there was clearly american. I'm not french and so she wondered where I was from, I answered and her immediate response was; 'I have no idea where that is, my geography is terrible, I'm from the states'.

          So apparently being American is a sufficient excuse for being ignorant about stuff, I don't think she was

          • by arth1 ( 260657 )

            To be fair, 'Africa' is not a bad guess. Malta is a tiny island located between continental Africa and Italy.

            That he seemed surprised when I told him it was an island country south of Italy, my suspicion is that he was thinking of Mali. I could be wrong.

            What I would have expected if someone didn't know was to apologize for having forgotten (because there's just no feasible way to have missed not just school geography, but all other references that would have one look it up, like Maltese dogs, The Maltese Falcon, the Blue Lagoon, Maltese Cross and crusaders, WWII operations and the recent independence).
            Not announc

            • by ranton ( 36917 )

              because there's just no feasible way to have missed not just school geography, but all other references that would have one look it up, like Maltese dogs, The Maltese Falcon, the Blue Lagoon, Maltese Cross and crusaders, WWII operations and the recent independence

              I do remember school geography, and I'm sorry to say Malta didn't even make the cut when we were tested about European countries and their capitals. We also didn't learn about Andorra, Liechtenstein, San Marino, or Monaco. Vatican City was mentioned, but only because it was the smallest. I believe Luxembourg was the smallest country we learned about in any detail. Perhaps European countries learned about these more obscure countries in school, just like some obscure American geography and history is probabl

        • I certainly hope you enlightened him with a surprised look and an answer like "Where Malta'd Milk comes from, of course..."

        • by thomn8r ( 635504 )

          In the US, few people seem to be ashamed of being ignorant

          In the US, the ruling class wants everyone to be stupid, which is why they're trying so hard to eviscerate public education. That is, except for their own kids, who get sent to Ivy-league schools. A dumb electorate is a more malleable electorate. So you need skilled workers? Import them - they're cheaper and more easily controlled.

        • by guises ( 2423402 )

          Just last week I mentioned to someone that I'd like to visit Malta again, and he said "Where's that? Africa?". It's not that he didn't know, but that he had no embarrassment or shame whatsoever.

          This is the worst possible example I can think of for your point. The ability to be open about one's ignorance, and to ask a question to rectify that ignorance, without embarrassment or pretending to know something about which you know nothing - that is a strength.

          You're right that we have a problem with glorifying ignorance, but this is not a good example. Unfortunately, most of the good examples are political so maybe that's why you were avoiding them...

        • "It's not that he didn't know, but that he had no embarrassment or shame whatsoever."

          Why should be ashamed? Everyone is ignorant so there is no shame in it. He immediately took action to cure his ignorance by asking the question. Literally every question asked by anyone is a declaration of ignorance. The only time it is shameful is if you are wasting someone's time looking for easy answers you should be puzzling out for yourself but for the purpose of having context in the middle of a conversation geography
          • by arth1 ( 260657 )

            I have to wonder, is there something about Geography in particular you think makes it shameful?

            No, it was an example. What it was about is irrelevant, the point was that professing ignorance does not appear to cause any qualms for most Americans. It doesn't matter what it is, but the sentiment I get is:
            European/Asian: I lack knowledge, this makes me slightly uncomfortable.
            American: I lack knowledge, cool, who cares!

      • by radarskiy ( 2874255 ) on Monday June 26, 2017 @01:03AM (#54689575)

        'the US Where We have basically "ow my balls" '

        Have you ever seen Japanese game shows? Half are basically "Ow My Balls" with a hyperactive announcer and scrolling text on all four edges of the screen. The other half are basically "Ow YOUR Balls".

        '"dancing with ow my balls"'

        See Eurovision, which is basically "Dancing with Ow My Balls" with bribery.

        • I think the lesson to be learned is that the educational value of TV is relatively poor and that stupid TV knows no borders. People who watch less and work on other hobbies are often smarter than those who devote many hours each day.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        In American, you fucked around with lead in fuels and are still stupid enough to have lead water pipes and just to ensure mass stupidity like to fire lead bullets, at rifle ranges basically mainlining lead in huge doses (gun nuts are gun nuts because sucking on lead bullet exhaust is a national pass time). Yep, you poisoned your population and are continuing to do so because greed, unlimited greed, more greed, more (continuing to do so in the most flabbergasting stupid fashion). Don't want to understand it,

      • by Maritz ( 1829006 )

        In the USA we coddle the idiots and the stupids.

        You coddle a handful of them. You put them in charge or stick them on the Kardashians and worship them like demi-gods.

        Actual people with educational difficulties who would improve with the correct kind of care? Nah. You do fuck all with those except give them a red hat and tell them to vote.

    • by asifyoucare ( 302582 ) on Monday June 26, 2017 @12:09AM (#54689475)

      Nah, it's the Russians winters - its either chess, vodka, or hacking for entertainment.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 25, 2017 @06:55PM (#54688473)

    Maybe the Russians aren't wasting time trying to figure out what bathroom a student should be allowed to use or letting some precious snowflake change the language because he doesn't like to be called "he"?

    Maybe the Russians tell the violent kids they're fucking violent and kick their asses out of school, and don't care how it might correlate with racial statistics?

    Maybe the Russians have an education system that isn't run by a union intent on playing politics with every damn thing?

    • And you know why? No communists!

    • by Maritz ( 1829006 )

      Maybe the Russians aren't wasting time trying to figure out what bathroom a student should be allowed to use or letting some precious snowflake change the language because he doesn't like to be called "he"?

      Ethics go great with gaming journalism, don't they? SJW SJW!!!

      The Russian education system does what Dear Leader Putin says to the letter, just like every other cowardly agency in the glorious Russian Kleptocracy that Trump is so fond of.

  • by johanw ( 1001493 ) on Sunday June 25, 2017 @07:01PM (#54688495)

    In the US, there is an extreme risk-averse culture. Not risk-averse as in "start a company and it might fail" but as in "don't even think about trying to beat the system, someone might sue you for it". So the very thing that causes many of the most succesfull companies to be founded in the US is actively suppressed when it comes to hacking skills.

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      Want a secret to being a raging success at work? have the balls to make a decision and own it.
      So many executives are spineless pussies that refuse to make a decision. Be a underling that makes decisions owns those decisions and takes the credit when you are right and the blame when you are wrong, you will stand out dramatically against the scared pussy-willows of the rest of the corporation that the ones that matter will notice.

      And you will piss off the ones that dont matter.

      • Want a secret to being a raging success at work? have the balls to make a decision and own it.
        So many executives are spineless pussies that refuse to make a decision. Be a underling that makes decisions owns those decisions and takes the credit when you are right and the blame when you are wrong, you will stand out dramatically against the scared pussy-willows of the rest of the corporation that the ones that matter will notice.

        And you will piss off the ones that dont matter.

        OR..
        The existing 'spineless pussies' will own your successes (and will make absolutely sure you do not get the credit), and will blame you for the failures. So that is not a universal secret to success, although it is a good thing to aspire to.

        The true secret to success is to be good and your job (including making decisions about your work), AND find a company that values and rewards that. Truly great companies have decision makers at all levels, or don't even have levels (eg Buurtzorg who have 10,000 emplo

        • If you have to be at the top to make a meaningful decision, move on!

          Good advice if I ever heard it. It's even making its way into business administration textbooks, with numerous studies citing "agency" (having some autonomy in your work including being able to make decisions) as a major factor in job satisfaction.

          • --If construction was anything like programming, an incorrectly fitted lock would bring down the entire building...

            Hmmm, interesting analogy. I don't think I agree. If construction were like programming, many buildings would have corridors that wind through the building with no entrances, it would have others with one way doors that you enter on the ground floor that take you through corridors with no exit to the top floor and exit through a one way door into thin air, it would produce buildings intended

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        ... secret to being a raging success ...

        There are 2 rules to success:

            1. Never tell anybody all the rules.

  • So the title should have read:

    Why So Many Well-Known Top Hackers Come From Russia

    Really good hackers don't get caught, and don't even leave a clue that they were there at all.

    The really interesting top technical hackers . . . well, we haven't heard of them yet, and probably never will, if they are that good.

    Wherever they are . . . or, better said, "are not" . . .

    • There are plenty of companies that pay good money for red team exercises, and even have their own red teams (Microsoft has a very highly rated one for example). So if breaking in to systems and networks is what interests you, you can do it legitimately, make good money doing it, and even get sponsored training doing it. SANS has a whole track of courses for red team training.

      Thing is, you don't get called a hacker in popular media when you do that since the term "hacker" is used to mean someone breaking the

    • The really interesting top technical hackers . . . well, we haven't heard of them yet, and probably never will, if they are that good.

      Pull the other one, it's got bells on.

      We all know they come from North K0|Â&87'@... #'#io
      *& ,m,;l
      no carrier

  • by p51d007 ( 656414 ) on Sunday June 25, 2017 @07:33PM (#54688609)
    Has been going on for a little more than 30 years. How many "person on the street" interviews have you seen where young adults, heck, even some older adults Can't find their own state on a map, can't tell you who the president is, can't tell you which side won the civil war and on and on. Is it any wonder the government (both R&D's) have been able to strip away rights, bloat the government, encroach on your every waking minute?
    • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Sunday June 25, 2017 @08:35PM (#54688833)
      To be fair, I suspect that if you did this (i.e. conducted an experiment that polled random people on the street about such topics) you'd find that the overwhelming majority could answer perfectly fine. If however, you're running an entertainment program or a news show (which is kind of an entertainment program now-a-days anyhow) you probably toss out all of the correct results and only show the clips from the people who get it wrong or act like complete duffusses for the camera. If you only actively highlight the stupidest people you can find, of course things seem worse than they are.

      I'm not terribly worried about poor schooling as IQ scores have been trending upwards over the past century since we started measuring intelligence. People will succeed and figure things out despite shortcomings in the educational system, just like people largely manage to overcome shitty or sub-optimal parenting and turn out to be decent. People tend to look back at the old days through a rose colored lens and focus on the good without looking at the bad. Somewhat recently I was talking with a relation of mine who recounted his years in high school and how much of a joke it was as one of the teachers was a drunk and taught them next to nothing and another would pass anyone on an athletic team no matter how poorly they did.

      If today's world seems so horrible it's only because we have access to news media from all around the world. I can spend all day reading about bad things happening from half way around the world, whereas 30 years ago that was practically impossible even for government intelligence agencies. Once again, if you only put the worst on display, it leads one to make incorrect assumptions. Things in general are getting so much better, maybe not as quickly as everyone would like, but the trend line is moving in a positive direction overall.
      • by arth1 ( 260657 )

        To be fair, I suspect that if you did this (i.e. conducted an experiment that polled random people on the street about such topics) you'd find that the overwhelming majority could answer perfectly fine.

        In the US tech company I have worked with, I think a majority of employees would fail basic questions about computer topics. That includes most of management, which is unsurprising, but even a fair number of people in tech positions.

        Many would likely see basic questions as advanced, because their concept of computer proficiency is if you can hit Reply All in Outlook and use Excel as a table formatting tool instead of a as a spreadsheet.

        But simple questions like how a stack works, what endianness is, or what

        • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

          Most executives will fail at "plug in the monitor"

          • Most executives will fail at "plug in the monitor"

            Only because they are still trying to find the Monitor Fluid that someone told them was causing the problem.

      • To be fair, I suspect that if you did this (i.e. conducted an experiment that polled random people on the street about such topics) you'd find that the overwhelming majority could answer perfectly fine.

        Uh, unfortunately not [washingtonpost.com].

    • what's been happening is we've let more and more people partake of higher education. Partially to keep them out of the job market since we don't really need them. Most of them don't make it past year of college. A few get liberal arts degrees. On a whole the increase in education still makes society a better place since they've got better critical thinking skills than they otherwise would have.

      Recently folks have been hard at work to reverse that trend. Religious leaders don't like that the kids with all
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 25, 2017 @07:42PM (#54688639)

    My wife grew up in the Soviet school system. She told me all about math training there. People from the former Soviet Union are sought out everywhere as math tutors. American schools just flop around when it comes to math and send students up a grade even if they don't have the skills.

    • by davecb ( 6526 )

      I worked with a Russian-born testing theorist: she and they were really really good and worked insanely hard at anything that was amenable to an academic approach.

      --dave (hey, Safia!) c-b

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Cool story. The answer is still no, Dave. Stop calling me.

    • You can thank the absolute bullshit like common core for screwing things up as well. The ye olde by rote system we learned oddly ~30 years ago worked just fine, then they decided to start fucking around with it. And...scores dropped, then they screwed around more, and more. Welcome to the present. The US isn't the only case either, this is what's happening in Canada as well. Though we're only ~15 years behind the US in following this.

      It actually get's a bit worse up here because they've also pushed the entire curriculum to be "female friendly" and those changes over the last 12 years have dropped male scores between 1.40pts and 3.80pts(ratings are on a 10pts scale the provincial average is 6.1/10 - some districts have seen male students as low as 2.20pts while female in the same school are 7.18pts) depending on the school district. You can read about [theglobeandmail.com] the absolute shitshow going on here if you want. [nationalpost.com] And it is a shitshow, one so bad that a province once known for having some of the top students in north america for math have lost it in a decade.

      • To teach K-12 in the US, you need a degree in 'Education' which is for the most part a cultural indoctrination.

  • by plopez ( 54068 ) on Sunday June 25, 2017 @08:08PM (#54688735) Journal

    The ones with the most newspaper clippings? Or the ones who never get exposed?

  • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Sunday June 25, 2017 @08:13PM (#54688757) Journal
    Education has value. The schools teach. People want to learn.
    Exams are passed on merit to get into a really great university.
    So the math skills are created.
    Also consider a long history of maths and science. Computer access and later faster network access.
    Other nations tried to do the same over the years. What did Russia get right and so many other nations totally fail at?
    The UK had its BBC Micro https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] for education and a lot of very poor people all around the UK got so see and use a computer.
    Given the funding and early access to computers the UK should have been a very advanced computer nation?
    If it was only about hardware the early attempts at computer education would have allowed the UK to advance.
    The USA educated generations in science after the 1950's with more funding. That provided a good selection of very good US teachers for the next generations.
    The USA filled some of its schools with new computer labs, books, networks, educational software, robot kits and teachers who could teach. A lot of equipment and books got offered to different schools all over the USA.
    Some parts of the USA got vast amounts of new funding for very poor students, per student. Did any of it help or change results? Not as much as expected per generation per student when tested given all the new spending.
    If it was only about computer access, the best teachers and funding the USA on average would be very advanced given the amount of funding per student in some US states and cities..
    What was the difference?
    Passing exams, staying with real merit advancement. In Russia getting good grades and knowing things is seen as a good thing.
    A culture of math, science, art, languages, music, sport, faith and education is encouraged and supported.
    A pride in culture, art, engineering, maths, Russia is passed to each generation who want to learn and study.

    For people in the USA trying to get a wide picture of history try Gymnasium (school) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
    Not much on Russia but it shows a different way of approaching education that has shaped different nations.
    On Russia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
    The key is the exams and the need to pass on merit. The USA and UK selected very different educational systems over the last decades and per student funding.
    The results of such very different failed methods show decades later over entire nations.
    Too much social promotion https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] in some nations and not enough low cost passing tests only on merit.
  • Another good indicator is how many so called "geeks" on Slashdot vehemently oppose teaching computer science before university or even high school.
  • Russian Engineers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by west ( 39918 ) on Sunday June 25, 2017 @10:10PM (#54689131)

    In much of the West, crime doesn't pay, or at least pay well. Your average street thug probably makes less than minimum wage. Sure, there are a few that make a lot of money, but it's like trying to make a money as a rock band. Only the 0.1% make a middle-class income, and only the 0.001% make the money you see in movies. Plus, you're likely to wind up dead or in jail.

    Consequently, for the most part, only the badly educated or stupid become criminals. There's the odd smart criminal, but having a legit job (if that's available) is simply superior in every way.

    And then you have the former Soviet Union, with a ton of really smart, very well-educated, very talented engineers, with virtually no decent job prospects at all, but still fairly good virtual contact with the West.

    And suddenly, given a lack of options, you have smart criminals.

    And that is a recipe for total disaster.

    As a matter of survival of the Western world, we need to open immigration from Russia so that these smart, talented engineers can find decent jobs that benefit us before they find ill-paying jobs that cost us terribly.

    (Many of my most capable co-workers have been Russians who were able to leave, and man, we their talent working for us, rather than against us, for both our sakes.)

  • Not just education (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dmpot ( 1708950 ) on Sunday June 25, 2017 @11:19PM (#54689349)

    It is true that Russia places a much greater emphasis on teaching math, physics, and CS than the West. However, it is only possible because of Russian culture puts more value on knowledge of those subjects. Their knowledge means both more social prestige and better prospect of finding a well-paid job.

    BTW, many Russians tend to preserve this attitude to math even when they emigrate to the US. As result, their children do better in math on average than American kids. For example, Sergey Brin has never attended any education institution in the Soviet Union, but he was successful in math and CS. Similar, many Asian kids do well in math, because of their parents.

    Anyway, Russia has a large pool of young well-educated people, but Russia does not develop as much software as it could given human resources that it has. As result many young people cannot find a legal well-paid job, and some of them get attracted to the dark economy. Usually Russian authorities will not go after them as long as they choose their targets abroad.

  • they want money in a shitty country
    they don't really care if they offend any morale bounds because they are 17 in suicide rates.
    they know their present justice system won't care if it's abroad.

  • deficit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by batukhan ( 4849151 ) on Monday June 26, 2017 @04:59AM (#54690065)
    As a former-soviet-state citizen, I think it's because of "deficit". A very well known word for soviet people. You couldn't get anything. Food, clothes, household items. Everything was in deficit. And it came in batches, so you needed to go on hunting trips around town to find some new item in a shop. So naturally, computers were a deficit when I grew up (20-30 years ago). You didn't go to a shop to buy new one. You got an old one from an institution and made do. You got bits and pieces and hacked something together. Software: obviously piracy. Who pays for software!? With piracy comes lots of little hacks and cracks, you get to know and learn the systems. You don't have a support line which caters everything on a silver platter. I don't know. It just feels like this hacking and cracking mentality is coming from that.
    • I was actually going to same much the same thing (although as a Brit, I have no direct knowledge at all). My take on it was that during the soviet era (and even for a few years afterwards), things like CPU resource were so scarce or expensive that if you wanted to write code, you had to be super-efficient at it. To do that meant thinking around problems in unusual ways.

      Western programmers could just import a huge code library they didn't understand and have their 486+FPU run it quickly. Meanwhile, Soviet/Ru

  • "Compared to the United States there are quite a few more high school students in Russia who choose to specialize in information technology subjects."

    Because of the jobs. When you see people being showed the door because their IT job is being filled by H1B Visa holders, you tend not to want to gravitate to their professions.

    It has nothing, repeat nothing to do with education. It's about choice about professional career and right now IT is being ravaged by H1B Visa holders. So why on earth would yo
  • by bezpredel6 ( 1796620 ) on Monday June 26, 2017 @01:56PM (#54692869)
    I am a product of post-soviet education of past 20-30 years, from a reasonably large city, and I can tell you that my generation (from which a lot of those hackers seem to come) was not "taught" any computer science, or tested on it, not on highschool, and certainly not in elementary school. Whatever my friends and I have learned was from playing with things on our own. The educational system, however, did provide us with very solid math foundation, geared towards multi-step problem solving, logic, and at least some critical thinking. In my opinion, the abundance of russian hackers is due two a combination of lack of consequences and lack of other as-lucrative economic opportunities. In US, one could easily end up in a world of legal trouble for experimenting with hacking. In post-soviet space, the worst that can happen is one would have to share profits with some thugs (from the government or otherwise).

All this wheeling and dealing around, why, it isn't for money, it's for fun. Money's just the way we keep score. -- Henry Tyroon

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