InfoSec 2016: Watch Out For The Professional Cybercriminal, Warns Mikko Hyppönen

F-Secure’s Mikko Hyppönen tells us why businesses need to be aware of increasingly professional cyber-criminals

Online crime is evolving to become more business-like and professional, a leading security expert has warned.

Speaking to TechWeekEurope at the recent InfoSecurity Europe 2016 event in London, Mikko Hyppönen, chief research officer at F-Secure, said that the enemies facing both consumer and business interest today has changed immeasurably over the past few years.

“I’ve been fighting cybercrime for 25 years, and during that time we’ve seen massive technical shifts in how the attacks work…but the biggest shift has been in the enemy itself,” he said.

“We used to be fighting teenage kids fighting viruses for fun, and today the enemy could not be more different – we’re fighting organised crime, making hundreds of millions of pounds with their attacks every single year.”

All change

Hyppönen noted that there is now “tons of competition” amongst online criminals to attract new customers – especially in ransom Trojan groups, which are increasingly offering professional functions such as customer support and ticketing customer services to show how serious they are.

“We clearly see online organised crime groups thinking about their return on investment – they really think about their work as something that they invest work and effort in to, and they want to get a return on it,” he said, noting that the fight against these evolving criminals is a significant challenge.

“It’s hard to beat them – but that’s what we’re trying to do. We monitor their work very closely (and) we have infiltrated many of the cyber-crime forums where these guys do their business”

“The situation isn’t getting better – it’s actually getting worse, which is quite weird as our technical safeguards are getting better all the time!”

“If you look at the kind of security level we have in our systems now, compared to what we had ten years ago, it’s like night and day – but we’re not fighting the enemy from ten years ago, they have evolved, and that’s why we still have problems, and we will continue to have problems in the future as well.”

Check out the full video interview with Mikko below: