Eugene Kaspersky, CEO and co-founder of Kaspersky Lab, has delivered a stark warning about the rising threat of cyber warfare in the contemporary world.
Speaking at the recent 2nd Digital Agenda Assembly in Brussels, Kaspersky welcomed the growing international response to the problems of cybercrime.
But he also outlined a “doomsday scenario” which he believes could have a devastating impact on society – and which can only be reliably prevented with a radical rethink of online security for industrial systems and key infrastructure hubs.
After his speech to a joint session of the European Commission and the European Parliament, Kaspersky commented: “Governments and independent international organisations like UN-IMPACT and Interpol have realised the scale of cybercrime, and started to cooperate in fighting it. That’s the good news. “But the bad news is that software is now also used as a cyber weapon which can damage physical objects as badly as traditional weapons. Industrial, transportation and electrical systems, factories and military sites are in danger.
“It’s scary: one of the worst-case scenarios could throw us back hundreds of years – back to riding horses, reading paper books, snail-mail, and candlelight… The worst thing is that at the moment, it’s impossible to protect against these kinds of attacks. What is needed is a redesign of all the software for industrial systems, which could take 10-20 years, and which is almost ‘mission impossible’.”
The programme of this year’s Digital Agenda Assembly was focused on a secure digital future, seeking to build on growth, innovation and confidence. Discussions sought to prioritise the actions needed in the field of Internet security in Europe, based on analysis of the local and global situation. Another objective was to analyse the role of ICT security innovation in the European digital economy and devise ways to further encourage new ideas.