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Kaspersky Warns UK Government Of ‘Catastrophic’ Cyber Attack

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

Kaspersky chief warns of the potential harm that could come to UK citizens from a cyber attack

Government officials have been warned of the “catastrophic” consequences of a cyber attack on the UK population, by Eugene Kaspersky, chief of the Russian security firm that carries his surname.

Kaspersky, who recently told TechWeekEurope he backed calls for a non-proliferation treaty covering cyber weapons, said code could be used to “disable companies, cripple governments and bring whole nations to their knees by attacking critical infrastructure”.

Kaspersky fears catastrophe

Eugene Kaspersky“The consequences for human populations could, as a result, be literally catastrophic,” Kaspersky said at a dinner with Home Office Minister James Brokenshire, in front of various dignitaries, including Adrian Leppard, commissioner of the City of London Police, and Stephen Harrison, chief executive of the National Fraud Authority.

He urged greater investment in collaboration across public and private sector, as well as in education – something many believe the industry has failed to effectively promote thus far.

“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 frontline cyber-battle experience which state bodies will greatly benefit from having access to,” Kaspersky added.

“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 cyber threats provided by the private-public partnership.”

His comments came just a day after the head of information security at the Ministry of Defence (MoD) Adrian Price said a cyber attack could lead to the fall of the UK government. He told TechWeek he was not over-hyping the threat either.

The government has been accused of over-hyping the cost and consequences of cyber attacks in the past. It sponsored a piece of Detica research which put the cost of cyber crime to the UK at £27 billion a year and continues to cite the figure, even though other sources say the actual cost is far lower.

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