Calling cyber weapons the worst innovation of the century, Kaspersky Lab CEO Eugene Kaspersky is calling on world governments to ban their usage in much the same way that chemical weapons have been banned.
Speaking at the recent Kaspersky Partner Conference, Kaspersky says he is making it his personal mission to save the world from the increasing variants of weaponized malware such as Stuxnet and Flame.
Kaspersky says it’s impossible to attribute the source of these attacks to any one government or organized cyber espionage entity with any certainty. Practitioners of cyber warfare have become fairly adept at making it look like the attack they launched came from somewhere else on the Internet.
The biggest potential threat, says Kaspersky, is that no one can be quite certain what kind of collateral damage this class of malware will create. A targeted attack on one piece of critical infrastructure could easily spiral out of control, resulting in damage that would be nothing short of cataclysmic in an age where just about everything relies on access to a network to perform a critical function.
Kaspersky says governments need to work together to stamp out a type by establishing international treaties that would outlaw the usage of cyber weapons.
In the meantime, Kaspersky is advising IT organizations to make sure they have backup systems for all their critical data that are offline. In addition, he says if an organization is running its business, for example, primarily on Windows, it should have a backup system running on UNIX in case an attack is aimed specifically at Windows.
Kaspersky also says it’s a good idea to have a parallel network that can be temporarily pressed into service in the event of an attack targeting your organization’s switches and routers. Finally, Kaspersky says organizations need to better educate end users about how to be more conscious about security while also putting in place standard policies and procedures for emergency response teams to follow.
As is often the case with technology, should it fall into the wrong hands, malware can easily become a weapon of mass destruction. In fact, it’s almost inevitable that some wide-scaled event will soon take place if for no other reason than one country deciding the appropriate response to one threat is to launch a counterstrike that is orders of magnitude greater. For that reason alone, it’s more than apparent now that malware can easily lead to scenarios of mutually assured destruction that are not in the best interest of any nation-state.