Kaspersky CEO: "With the vetoes of the United States only criminals win"

Let's be honest. Cyberattacks and Russia are two concepts that very often appear linked in the press. Therefore, to be able to chat with the CEO of Kaspersky, the largest seller of Russian cybersecurity and the second in retail sales of software in the United States and Canada (they are IDC data in 2019) has its morbidity. Moreover, if we think of soap operas as controversial as the United States veto to Huawei of which they, to some extent, were precursors. Why? Because in 2017, the US president, Donald Trump, banned (and remains in force) federal agencies from using the products of the Russian company for suspected cyber espionage that have not been argued. Although Eugene Kaspersky, founder and top manager, clarifies: "It is not the same story, but similar. And it's an unfair competition".

"Who benefits from this whole situation?" Asks the CEO of the Russian giant in an interview with INNOVATORS. His answer is clear: "Criminals, hackers, because we we have the safest products and they are locked", he regrets. In his opinion, it is more than evident the use that from governments such as Trump's is made of such a delicate issue as cybersecurity, which becomes a throwing weapon with which to hide economic interests.

In the summits and meetings between leaders of countries like China, the United States and Russia is a word that always appears in the minutes, says Kaspersky. And that, in his opinion, is a mistake, because it means not understanding the real dimension that cybercrime has today, and that will go further. "Governments understand the size of the problem, but do not understand that in cyberspace there are no borders. To save it there must be close cooperation between different nations, but with this geopolitical situation so unfriendly that is not possible, "says the creator of the firm, which criticizes that a few years ago information and concepts were exchanged between the different administrations, but not today. "Within Europe, yes, because Europol works very well, but if it comes from outside, no. "

And this is a double mistake, he says, because in the end the attacks and risks faced by each country are very similar to those already suffered by others. "There are nations that are ahead in working to protect themselves from attacks and others that are in a position to learn what is already underway. And that's good, because a cybersecurity strategy can be similar for different countries, "he says.

Public administrations, critical infrastructure and public and private services that are decisive in the life of any citizen such as health, finance, energy and water are in the spotlight of the Russian company as the most vulnerable elements. But how do you go from protecting personal computers with a disk that installed an antivirus on each PC to ensure the security of such important issues? It is part of the change in the business model that the sector has experienced in the heat of the expansion of the internet of things, a logical and necessary step. "We no longer only protect physical infrastructure"says Kaspersky.

Moreover, it doesn't matter how new or old that container hardware is, but the update of all its systems. "If you think of an electric station or a nuclear power plant, it is probably an old space built decades ago. But in all of them there are fewer and fewer workers and more computers, so we have to protect and update all those systems." And, hence, the business leap.

What happens then with small businesses? Are they also in their field of action? Yes, because in the era of servitization and computerization of systems, size does not matter. "The question is not whether companies are larger or smaller, but how much critical infrastructure do they use"." We can think of a very large company, in a supermarket for example, but that infrastructure is not critical, so the concern is not so great. On the other hand, there may be a small startup that controls processes related to transport or water ... that is critical and requires a greater concern, "explains Kaspersky, for whom the aspiration of his company is that all these critical infrastructures" be immune from your own design. "

What consequences will the hatching of the 5G that starts to start have in this whole panorama? None outstanding, says the president of the company. "With or without 5G it is equally easy or difficult to carry out a cyberattack", he explains, what does change is that there will be more vulnerable targets while the fifth generation of networks will generate a larger volume of data traffic.

The real risk, Kaspersky explains, is to let hackers attack what he calls "the GPS of our life", in allusion to the technological dependence that grows and grows in our life. And he gives as an example the driving: we used to go from one place to another guided by memory and intuition. Today, although we dominate the road, many of us put the GPS just in case. "In the future that will happen in almost all areas of our lives," he says, and we will increasingly depend on virtual assistants for everyone.

"The clock will tell you what you have to do every hour and you will follow the navigator of life," he says. "What would happen tomorrow if the GPS of our cars stopped working? Well, we would survive, yes, but for a period of time collapses having to do it all again without help. "The risk, he says, is that the same thing happens with our daily activities. And that is a global threat.

Hacker's profile

How can we avoid it? Your recipe happens because every internet device of the things we connect to our lives is secured from its initial design and that there are more and more controls and more collaboration to stop cyber attacks. Knowing who these criminals are hiding in the network is also important.

"In general they are men, of background technician, between 15 and 40 years old and software engineers, "Kaspersky says. But they are not alone: ​​they also employ" street criminals "to perform" minor "tasks such as cash withdrawals at ATMs.

And the controversial issue, where do they come from? "I don't want to point out nationalities," Kasperksy apologizes. In your case, you prefer to point to the languages ​​that your researchers detect and the time zone in which they are. "Really we don't see where they come from, we can only recognize the language in which they speak, "he says. The most widely used is native English in the Atlantic time zone. The next, Russian in Moscow time. And finally, simplified Chinese." I do not want to point to specific countries, because there may be people who write in Russian from Israel, "he says. And an anecdote: of all languages, Japanese is the least used language, while it is difficult to pronounce on cyber attacks 'written' in Spanish because its researchers often They confuse it with the Portuguese.


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