With the growing number of connected devices and with cyber attacks getting more frequent, the need for cybersecurity is ever more important. But cybercriminals keep coming up with new methods and tactics to escalate their attacks.
According to Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of cybersecurity firm Kaspersky, cybersecurity today has gone beyond just protecting endpoint devices. He believes that what is really needed is to develop an ecosystem where everything connected is protected and ensuring that all systems are secure by design. In other words, Eugene believes we need to move from cybersecurity to “cyber-immunity”.
Speaking to reporters in Cyberjaya, Malaysia, during the launch of Kaspersky’s first transparency centre in Asia Pacific, Eugene explained the way forward globally is for companies to evolve from cybersecurity to the wider umbrella of cyber-immunity.
During his presentation, Eugene divided cybercrime into three categories, which are general malware, sophisticated targeted attacks and IR4.0. General malware today makes up 99.9% of cyber attacks. He also pointed out that from 50 new viruses being detected in one day in 1998, Kaspersky now detects over 380,000 new ones in a single day. And the only way to prevent cyber attacks is by education and using good security for both internet and devices.
He said the threat actor landscape today consists of more state-sponsored actors than ever before. While he admits that Kaspersky is best in finding and fighting targeted attacks, they can’t really find who the attackers really are. What they can do though, is narrow down the attackers to specific demographics like location, time zone and spoken dialects.
“Cybercrime, unfortunately, is still a profitable business. And there are only two types. If they want money, they’re criminals. But if they want anything else, it’s considered espionage. The main threat actors in espionage speak native English, native Russian and simplified Chinese.”
He jokingly added, “Russian software engineers are the best, and Russian cybercriminals are the worst. They come from the same university. Even if they are not in Russia, they have a Russian background.”
Looking at connected devices and IR4.0, Eugene said more physical systems are needed as there is a need to be connected to the customer. If a business connects to a customer, they will survive; otherwise, they will lose their business, he said.
But with threats growing, Eugene pointed out that industrial cybersecurity is now equipped with incident response and threat intelligence. They are able to learn and improve with training and awareness, and through endpoint network protection. But the risks are unpredictable.
“With cyber immunity, the systems are immune if the cost of an attack is more than the cost of possible damage. It means attackers need to invest more than the damage they will cause.”
In other words, if cybercriminals would end up having to come up with more funds to attack, and the returns are not so lucrative, this may reduce attacks eventually. If the value of data is lowered, cybercriminals will not find a need to steal data, though this is least likely to happen. But by making attacks more expensive, it can have an impact on cybercriminals.
By ensuring devices are built to be immune to cyberattacks, the risks can be lowered. And Eugene believes the only way to secure IoT devices is to design them securely. This includes having a microkernel architecture and a security layer isolating all modules for thrust behaviour.
Kaspersky OS, Eugene explained, is built to provide IoT immunity. It is the result of an immune-based approach that allows any IT system to perform its functions in an aggressive environment without additional security features.
Separately, during the press briefing, CyberSecurity Asean asked Eugene on his views of 5G and how this will affect cybersecurity and cyber-immunity.
“This is the next stage of our evolution. With 5G, the cloud will manage your life. It will be the mediator for our personal lives and mediator for industries together with its self-learning algorithms (AI). Self-learning algorithms will analyse the data for results, simulate scenarios and assist or even make decisions for us. This will build scenarios, and we will have all the free time.”
He explained further using the simple example of a driver and a car. Previously, he said we would look at a map and plan our routes when driving. Today, when we enter into a car, we just follow the navigations given and don’t think so much. This same thing is happening today when it comes to 5G and technology. Eugene said we are just following and letting technology lead the way for us.
Eugene believes 5G will bring more demand for math, algorithm learning and software engineering, and less dependent on people to do their jobs. At the same time, he also believes that with 5G, everything will be done for us.
“If we don’t build it on an immunity platform, one day it will kill us.”