In this article we will learn about The Most Hacker-Active Countries.
Section 1. Introduction
The protagonists of computer-related cybercrime, hackers and their networks, regularly explore and exploit weaknesses in computer systems. Hackers are intelligent and highly skilled and organize cyber-attacks targeting various objects of great importance, such as banking, government and healthcare institutions, secret databases and social media. These activities have twofold implications.
On the one hand, the “hacker culture” promotes IT development and advances in cyber security. As Robert Moore states in his book Cybercrime: Investigating High-Technology Computer Crime, “individuals who claim to be hackers today claim that real hackers are interested in promoting computer security and that those who do not conform to this belief system are not hackers. the true meaning of the word.”
On the other hand, hackers threaten security on a personal and national level by committing crimes related to identity theft, financial crimes, and leaking confidential information from government institutions.
Motivated by a variety of reasons such as challenge, financial gain, threat, revenge or excitement, hacking communities are active all over the world. According to statistics, in Q4 2014, cyber attacks originated from 199 unique countries/regions. The main sources of outbound cyber attacks were China, the US, Taiwan, Russia and Turkey.
This article will look at the countries most active for hackers in terms of the intensity of outbound attack traffic. More specifically, this post looks at hacking communities, the sanctions applied for cybercrimes, and the response of governments to hacking attacks in these countries. The following six most hacker-active countries will be discussed in two parts of this article. Part I will study China (Section 2), the USA (Section 3) and India (Section 4). Part II will examine Russia (section 5), Turkey (section 6), and Taiwan (section 7). Finally, a conclusion is drawn (Section 8).
Section 2. China
Currently, China is the largest Internet user in the world with more than 640 million people who connect to the Internet frequently. The period since 1994, when the global computer network and Internet access was made available in China, has been marked by China’s tremendous economic development and active participation in Internet-related processes.
In addition to being an economic giant, China is also a world leader in cybercrime. In 2014, 41% of all global cyber attacks originated from China. That’s three times the offensive traffic coming from the United States.
Despite the growing number of companies providing cybersecurity services for government and corporate institutions, hacking in China is still a lucrative job opportunity for experienced IT professionals.
According to a New York Times report on the state of hackers in China, IT programmers receive considerable support from the government. For example, China’s Ministry of Education works with Chinese universities to host hacking competitions to distinguish the best professionals in the field.
The same report reported that the Chinese government not only supports hacking, but also employs skilled IT professionals for covert missions. A former prominent Chinese hacker, in an interview with the New York Times, admitted: “I personally provided services to the People’s Liberation Army, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of State Security. If you are a government employee, there may be secret projects or secret missions.
The media constantly reports on cyber attacks and espionage operations supported by the Chinese state. For example, last year a group of Chinese hackers assigned to Unit 61398 of the People’s Liberation Army were accused of stealing trade secrets from American companies. A massive hack in 2015 that attempted to steal the files of about 4 million US federal employees is also suspected to have originated in China.
In the People’s Republic of China, cybercrimes are not dealt with by a single law, but rather by a set of regulations, such as (1) Articles 285-287 of the Criminal Law, (2) the Computer Information System Security Protection Regulation. , (3) Administrative Penalty Provisions Regarding Public Safety Management, and (4) Decisions to Maintain Internet Security.
In 2009, China added the term “hacker” to its criminal code to legally combat hacking. Under Chinese criminal law, hacking activities carry a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison. It is used when a hacker intervenes, deletes and alters computer information systems.
Illegal disruption of computer information systems, which affects the field of state administration, construction of defense equipment, science and technology, is punishable by imprisonment for a maximum of three years (Section 285 of the Criminal Code).
In order to crack down on cybercrimes more forcefully, in 2011 China’s Supreme People’s Court and Supreme People’s Procuratorate issued a legal interpretation on cybercrimes stating that individuals who hack into 20-100 computers or steal information from 10 to 50 online payment accounts, will be punished with 3 years in prison. Hackers who commit major crimes will be sentenced to up to 7 years in prison.
Despite the aforementioned legal threats to cybercriminals, hacking in China thrives in various areas within the official, criminal and corporate worlds. Due to the huge influence and exceptional status of hackers in China, hacking is not a strictly secret domain, but an openly discussed topic in universities, Internet forums and trade fairs.
According to Wen Weiping, an associate professor at Peking University’s Department of Information Security, overseas hackers often use China’s hacker-friendly reputation to hide the location of non-Chinese cyber attacks. The professor notes, “hackers usually launch attacks by controlling other computers, making it very difficult to locate the source of the attacks.
Section 3. U.S.
The US, one of the main targets of foreign cyber attacks, regularly experiences attacks targeting critical infrastructure such as the Pentagon, the White House or the Capitol. In the US, cyber security is championed by the FBI, which works with public and private partners to investigate cyber terrorism, espionage, computer intrusions and major cyber fraud.
According to the Internet Crime Report submitted to the FBI, in 2014, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received approximately 22,000 Internet crime complaints per month. IT security experts distinguish two emerging trends in Internet crime, namely (1) stealing personal data from social media platforms (via click-jacking, doxing, and pharming) and (2) exploiting vulnerabilities in virtual currency systems. Other commonly reported online crimes in the US include auto fraud, impersonation, email fraud, intimidation/extortion, real estate fraud, trust fraud, romance fraud, etc.
Despite the legal measures against hackers taken by the US government, the potential of highly skilled IT specialists is recognized and often used in the creation of state-sponsored hacking groups. The National Security Agency is involved in international cyber warfare with a unit called Tailored Access Operations (TAO), which employs about 1,000 military and civilian hackers.
TAO focuses on monitoring, infiltrating and gathering information about foreign computers. According to information provided by Foreignpolicy.com’s confidential sources, TAO has been penetrating Chinese computer networks for 15 years, generating intelligence on various processes inside the People’s Republic of China. TAO applies a similar employment strategy to that used by China. Potential squad members, a generation of highly skilled IT specialists, are hunted at major US hacker conferences.
The main laws relating to cybercrimes and prohibiting the practices of hackers at the federal level are found in the 18th United States Code (USC). For example, USC subsection 1029 “Fraud and related activity involving access devices” prohibits unauthorized access to computer systems. Subsection 1030, “Fraud and related activity involving computers,” prohibits unauthorized access to a government computer network. Additionally, each US state is permitted to implement additional substantive criminal laws to regulate computer use at the state level.
Also Read:The Hacker Methodology 2023
Because the scope of cybercrimes varies, so do the potential penalties in the US for cybercriminals. While minor cyber crimes can be punishable by a fine, more sophisticated cyber attacks can result in significant financial penalties, probation and up to 20 years in prison.
In one of America’s major cybercrime cases, a hacker has been sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined $25,000 for stealing 90 million credit and debit card numbers from major U.S. retailers. Peaceful original crimes are accompanied by serious punishments. A hacker was sentenced to 10 years in prison after he got into the personal email accounts of Hollywood industry stars such as actresses Scarlett Johansson, Mila Kunis, singer Christina Aguilera and published their personal photos on the Internet.
Section 4. India
When a number of Facebook groups such as “Hire Professional Hackers in India” promise to provide services such as hacking email passwords or spying on partners and employees, it can be assumed that hacking is not a secret in the IT superpower country.
Despite the fact that Indian grassroots hacking groups (e.g. Cyber Army) have been carrying out politically motivated cyber attacks against Pakistan and Bangladesh for years, Indian hacking culture has a lot to do with white hat hacking. Although ethical hackers are widely discussed among internet security specialists, their reputation and knowledge of cyber security vulnerabilities are very popular in India. Indian websites publish lists of India’s best ethical hackers, and major figures such as Ankit Fadia or Rahul Tyagi have great influence in IT communities. They publish books on network security tips, host TV shows, and train future ethical hackers and information security specialists.
However, not all hackers in India are ethical. Global IT security specialists rank Indian hackers next to China’s cyberwarriors, signaling their involvement in international espionage and intellectual property theft.
Indian hackers were accused of international cyber espionage when a series of cyber espionage attacks dubbed “Operation Hangover” were conducted against civilian corporations as well as objects of national security interest such as Porsche Holdings, Delta Airlines, The Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Norwegian Telecom. Telenor, US law firms and Pakistani targets. The hacker group operated for three years and organized phishing attacks.
At the same time as the number of online transactions in India is increasing, concerns about network security are becoming more relevant. As a result, the Indian IT industry is expanding and requires more skilled computer security specialists. Indian information security companies invite highly qualified IT professionals by offering attractive remuneration. Currently, the annual salary of information security executives ranges from $20,000 to $130,000, while the income of ethical hackers is $3,000-$24,000 per year.
Despite the fact that India’s political leaders publicly announce concerns about cyber security, the legal basis related to cyber crimes is limited and punishments are mild. Under Section 66 of India’s Information Technology Act (2000), the commission of computer-related offenses is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with a fine which may extend to two lakh rupees (about US$3,000), or with both.
Books and Academic Articles:
- Carr, Jeffrey. Inside cyber warfare: Mapping the cyber underworld. O’Reilly Media, Inc., 2011.
- Engebretson, Patrick. The Basics of Hacking and Penetration Testing: Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing Made Easy. Elsevier, 2013.
- Holt, Thomas and Schell, Bernadette. Hackers and Hacking: A Reference Handbook. ABC-CLIO, 2013.
- Jordan, Tim. Hacking: Digital Media and Technological Determinism. John Wiley & Sons, 2013.
- Schema, Mike. Hacking Web Apps: Detecting and Preventing Web Application Security Problems. Newnes, 2012.
- Simpson, Michael. Hands-On Ethical Hacking and Network Defense. Cengage Learning, 2012.
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