If you are the head of communications for a big company and one of your executives goes off-script and says something … ill advised … and puts the foot in the mouth, what can you do? You curse the gods for putting you in that job and you long for the days when someone else was in the hot seat, when you have to go into damage control.
What else could the head of Trend Micro’s marketing be thinking when CISO Tom Kellermann basically said Russians are smarter than Americans. Evidently he really said this. I don’t even know where to start and I’ve known Tom for years. He’s not dumb, but that’s a dumb statement. Thereby making a strong argument for his hypothesis: Tom, you see, is an American. The lengths people go to be proven right continue to astound me.
Maybe he means that Russian attackers take a more strategic view of their jobs. And that they view hacking as a national area of focus (like the Chinese). But the money shot, where he states Russians are ‘smarter’ is not a conclusion you can legitimately draw. Not without coming off sounding like a jackass. If we are going to dabble in crass generalizations, it seems like Stuxnet was pretty strategic but didn’t come from Russia. So there’s that.
But let’s be real and understand that kind of statement is bait for every clickwhore. Graham Cluley jumps on it and basically calls it what it is: an idiotic statement.
Though I do take issue with Graham attributing the statement to Trend Micro as a whole, rather than just Kellermann shooting from the hip to hit himself in the head with a shotgun blast. Trend’s research seems to have been focused on Russia’s strategic approach to hacking – not a generic question about the intelligence of the American populace. But I’m sure Graham got lots of clicks for his assessment as well, so the beat goes on…
Photo credit: “profile picture” originally uploaded by vtbrak