International anti-virus, online security and cybercrime expert Kaspersky Lab kicked off their annual Security Analyst Summit in Budapest, Hungary on Tuesday morning. With a focus on Middle East, Turkey and Africa, the summit is being held in Hungary as the country is one of the safest in terms of online security, according to Kaspersky Lab.
Sergey Novikov, Deputy Director of Kaspersky Lab’s Global Research and Analysis team, said that the company currently has over 300-million users worldwide, serves about 200 nations and employs thousands of workers. Kaspersky Labs focusses on critical infrastructure threats, banking threats and sophisticated cyber-attacks.
In terms of malware, Novikov said that in 1994 there was one new virus a day, but in 2014 the situation is very different – there are 315 000 unique malicious files detected every day by Kaspersky Lab.
“Cybercrime can be divided into layers. The majority of cybercrime is about stealing money and identity, while there will also be a significant growth in economic cyber-crime. At the top of the pyramid is State vs State attacks. A good example of that is the Stuxnet threat – but that is only about 1%. The internet is still the number one source of threats, with more than 40% of Eastern Europe infected.”
For infection levels in Africa, South Africa is currently at about 33%, while the vast majority of the African continent is between 42% and 55%.
Novikov also explained during the opening keynote that the biggest culprit in terms of vulnerability is Oracle’s Java. He said that if users don’t update their software when prompted by Oracle, cyber criminals exploit Java in more than 90% of the cases. Internet Explorer is responsible for about 1% of breaches.
And even though Microsoft has discontinued their support for the Windows XP operating system, Novikov said that more than 25% of Kaspersky Lab users are still on Windows XP, while 22% still make use of Windows 7.
But mobile phones still – and always will – pose the biggest threat. “New mobile samples of malware are increasing exponentially and Android systems are still the most vulnerable with 99% of the attacks targeted towards it. These malware apps are still stealing money, used to dial premium numbers and stage DDOS attacks.”
In terms of the future outlook for mobile malware and cyber-crime, Novikov explained that Kaspersky Lab believes that Ransomware and Cryptolockers will increase in frequency, while Android devices will always be targeted first.
He added that as cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin become more popular, there will be an increase in the attacks on Bitcoin pools and Bitcoin stock exchanges. To combat cyber-crime, Kaspersky Lab estimates that sophisticated web protection services such as VPN Tor and local encryption for users will also increase.
“We could also see the possible fragmentation of the internet where countries shut themselves off from others to combat threats or just impose their own security online. But at the end we have to ask if the Darknet will become the only truly World Wide Web,” Novikov concluded.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor