Cyber-weapons are cheap, democracy is dying, and social media is dangerous – the dark prophecy of Eugene Kaspersky
World governments need a cyber-weapons convention like those for chemical and nuclear arms, warned Eugene Kaspersky during his opening keynote speech at the CeBIT Australia conference that started in Sydney today.
He also highlighted social media manipulation as an emerging security threat, and predicted that democracy will be dead in two decades, unless citizens are provided with safe mechanisms to vote online, reports Australian website ITwire.
Kaspersky Lab, headquartered in Moscow, is the largest developer of cyber-security and threat management solutions in Europe. The company’s products and technologies provide protection for over 300 million users and more than 200,000 corporate clients worldwide. The charismatic founder of the company Eugene has become a notable spokesman for the IT security industry, recently lashing out against free antivirus vendors and Apple’s iOS.
In his speech, Kaspersky mentioned the Stuxnet worm as an example of a cyber-weapon that was capable of damaging physical infrastructure. He said these modern weapons were “a thousand times cheaper” to develop than conventional bombs or missiles, and as such, were even more dangerous.
An even scarier prospect would be for someone to develop cyber-weapons with unintended bugs, which could wreak more havoc than planned. “Cyber weapons are the most dangerous innovation this century,” said Kaspersky.
Countries like China, Russia, the UK, the US and Japan are currently spearheading cyber-weapon development. Another round of cyber war games between US and China is scheduled to run sometime this month.
Kaspersky also warned CeBIT delegates that unless young citizens were provided with safe and reliable ways to vote online, democracy as we know it could be dead within 20 years. He predicted that in time, younger people would stop going to physical polling booths, which, in the absence of an alternative voting method, could lead to a political crisis.
Kaspersky also highlighted social media manipulation as one of the most challenging issues with regard to future Internet security. “If the wrong people have a good strategy (for social media manipulation) it will be dangerous for…global security,” he said.
According to Kaspersky, there were two choices before governments – either a free, but dangerous Internet, or a policed version, which would at least be safe. “I’m afraid I have no scenario in between,” he concluded.
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