By Daniel Hunter

Eugene Kaspersky, CEO and co-founder of Kaspersky Lab, is urging greater collaboration between the UK government and the private sector to address the very real and potentially devastating threat of cyberwarfare and the consequent risks posed to critical infrastructure.

In a speech last night (Thursday 25 April) to a select gathering of UK government officials, including Adrian Leppard, Commissioner of the City of London Police; Stephen Harrison, Chief Executive of the National Fraud Authority; and other peers of the realm, Eugene Kaspersky outlined the nature of today’s ever advancing cyberthreats and what needs to be done in response to them.

The event, held in the iconic Churchill War Rooms, was also attended by a number of CSOs from British enterprise, including HSBC, Unilever, Vodafone and Barclays. Key British businesses — together with the government — Kaspersky believes are pivotal in the fight against serious cyberdangers.

In his speech, Eugene highlighted the most pressing issues facing the cyberworld — and by extension, the physical world today;

“Today, sophisticated malicious programs — cyberweapons — have the power to disable companies, cripple governments and bring whole nations to their knees by attacking critical infrastructure in sectors such as communications, finance, transportation and utilities. The consequences for human populations could, as a result, be literally catastrophic.”

Kaspersky Lab currently analyses around 200,000 unique malware samples every day, compared to just approximately 25 per day in 1994, 700 in 2006 and 7000 in 2011. Some of the most significant recent sophisticated cybertools include Red October, Flame, MiniFlame, Gauss, Stuxnet, Duqu, Shamoon and Wiper.

Kaspersky Lab believes that a new, proactive approach needs to be actioned to tackle serious cyberthreats, which must start with government and industry cooperation and incorporate universal standardisation and policies;

“Greater investment in education from both government and industry is needed to ensure a continuous flow of talent rising up through the ranks.

“The Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership (CISP) and its Fusion Cell are needed for the UK and of course the EU is moving ahead with its European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) and plans for establishing a network of Member States’ NIS bodies and CERTs, but that mustn’t stop individual nations taking the lead with their own measures to raise their cyber-resilience.

"But regulation needs to be at a global level. The CISP and ENISA need to cooperate together, data and expertise sharing can only be advantageous in the on-going fight against cyberthreats of increasing sophistication.

“But why should state intelligence and defence bother cooperating with the private sector? In the words of Francis Maude, Minister of the Cabinet Office, ‘We need to team up to fight common enemies but the key to cooperating, in a spirit of openness and sharing, are guarantees to maintain the confidentiality of data shared.

“The private sector — particularly IT and security related industries, and also certain key critical industries for which IT security has long been at the top of the agenda — has a wealth of front line cyber-battle experience which state bodies will greatly benefit from having access to. This benefit should then dovetail back to the advantage of the private sector, through the added muscle of state bodies and the enhanced, overall visibility of cyberthreats provided by the private-public partnership.”

Eugene’s speech came hot on the heels of a recent announcement from INTERPOL and Kaspersky Lab that they are entering into a partnership of technical cooperation. Kaspersky Lab will be sending its top experts to INTERPOL’s Global Complex for Innovation in Singapore once it opens, and will also start sharing cyber analytics with the global crime fighting organisation on an on-going basis.

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