Hacking threat soaring as countries fail to unite, cybersecurity leader warns

Cyberattacks are going to get worse, and such vital civilian infrastructures as electricity, telecommunications and transportation will be a new battleground for cybercrime as nations fail to cooperate effectively to block the threat, Russian cybersecurity expert Eugene Kaspersky warned.

“Before we fix cyberspace, making it inherently safe and immune to attacks, the security situation is likely to get worse with all the myriads of vulnerable devices and systems being developed and produced every day,” the 51-year old CEO of Kaspersky Lab said in an email interview ahead of the opening of his firm’s new offices and R&D center in Jerusalem on Wednesday. “The worst-case scenario is a successful attack on critical infrastructure. I’m afraid the risk of an attack like that remains high.”

Kaspersky’s warning comes amid reports that malicious software dubbed Crash Override or Industroyer was responsible for a 2016 power outage in Ukraine. The two firms that discovered the Crash Override software — ESET, a Slovakian anti-virus software maker, and Dragos Inc, a US critical-infrastructure security firm — warned that the malware could be easily modified to harm critical infrastructure operations around the globe, Reuters reported on Monday. The Ukrainians have pointed the finger at Russia for the 2016 attack, although Moscow has denied any wrongdoing.

“Achieving a very high level of security is possible, but requires serious efforts,” Kaspersky said in comments emailed earlier this week, before the Crash Override discovery was publicized. “Operators of critical infrastructure should be constantly updating their security systems by using cutting-edge threat intelligence and technologies. I would recommend having periodic audits of security.”

The security of these systems should be “a matter of national priority, because their protection is a matter of national security,” he said, adding that “Israel is probably one of the most advanced countries in the world when it comes to building cyber defenses on a national level.”

Kaspersky Lab, a global cybersecurity company set up in 1997, has over 400 million users, of which 270,000 are corporate clients using its services and technologies to protect their businesses and infrastructures.

The firm’s work has come under increased scrutiny from regulators in the US over concern that hackers might seek to use Kaspersky software for the purposes of spying or sabotage, as Russia has been blamed for meddling in the US elections through cyberattacks on the electoral system.

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Source: The Times of Israel