According to cybersecurity guru Eugene Kaspersky, the Internet needs more regulation. And it needs more and better regulation especially on the use of government-sponsored cyberweapons like Stuxnet and Flame.
At an event in New York today, Kaspersky, the head of Russian antivirus giant Kaspersky Lab, said that the online world is a more dangerous place than ever. “There are different types of threats in the cyberspace,” he said. “There are criminals, hacktivists and cyberweapons.”
According to Kaspersky, governments have gotten better at understanding and fighting cybercrime, but cyberweapons are still something they don’t get. And that’s dangerous because, as he said, “we depend on IT systems.” These systems control everything from power plants and the power grid to factories and even prisons. In other words, he said, “they are everywhere.”
In the last couple of years, analysts at Kaspersky Lab uncovered the first known cyberweapons. In 2010 they detected Stuxnet, which is probably the most sophisticated cyberweapon ever. Stuxnet was designed by Israeli and American engineers to infect Iranian computers and wreak havoc by overloading the centrifuges of their uranium enrichment facilities. Then, this year, they found Flame and Gauss, two other sophisticated digital espionage tools.SEE ALSO: Meet the ‘Gauss’ Virus, Stuxnet and Flame’s New Cousin
For Kaspersky, this indicates a quick escalation in the cyberweapons arms race. That’s why he thinks that regulation needs to happen “sooner, better.” And that’s why he’s been traveling around the world in the last few months, lobbying several governments and the United Nation’s International Telecommunications Union (which Internet Freedom advocates are afraid wants to take over control of the Internet) at a conference in Dubai in December. His goal is to have governments agree on an international treaty limiting the use and creation of cyberweapons, very much like what has already been accomplished with nuclear warheads and chemical and biological weapons.
In the past, he has also advocated for tighter regulation against cybercrime, regulation that would entail the creation of some sort of e-passport to control citizens’ access to certain websites as well as government control of social networks, which he thinks are dangerous tools that fuel social unrest. Kaspersky told Wired that there’s “too much freedom” in social networks. “Freedom is good. But the bad guys — they can abuse this freedom to manipulate public opinion.”
His active role as an advocate for online regulations and his alleged connections with the Russian government have put his objectivity, and his self-appointed role of cyberspace guardian, into question. A critique Kaspersky doesn’t accept at all.
After Wired‘s article, Kaspersky quipped in his blog that he only provides “expertise,” much like Indiana Jones. Noah Schachtman, editor of Danger Room and author of the profile, wasn’t too convinced by Kaspersky’s defense.
Asked if he can see a future in which companies like Kaspersky Lab, as well as U.S.-based McAfee and Symantec, will be faced with conflicts of interests as their governments develop and unleash malware over the net, Kaspersky answered without hesitation: “We protect the cyberspace. We are like the iron detector, it doesn’t matter who is wearing the gun,” he said. “We will detect it anyway.” He did admit, though, that this is “a new game and still there are no rules of this game.”
Kaspersky was also somewhat elusive when asked about the new Russian law against child pornography that, according to opponents, could force Internet Service Providers to use invasive monitoring techniques like deep packet inspection and, potentially, give the Russian government too much power to censor the Internet. “There are almost [the] same [regulations] in other countries … not just China, but Europe as well,” he answered, implying that Russia gets more attention for its actions. “But there are not so much news about that,” he added.
While repeating that he supports regulation, Kaspersky also wanted to note that it needs some restraints as well. “I support regulation but I’m afraid some governments, they can go too far.” Also, he warned, no matter the regulation and how much governments can agree on joint measures, there will always be bad guys. “I’m afraid governments will agree but, anyway, there will be powers in the cyberspace that will attack.”
Article source: http://feeds.mashable.com/~r/Mashable/~3/3vJbc6L0UuM/