Huge-scale cyber-attacks which can result in entire counties being cut off from the internet are on the rise, warns Eugene Kaspersky, founder of international security firm Kaspersky.
Such massive attacks, the likes of which have occurred in Estonia and South Korea in recent years, are likely to increase, argues Kaspersky – and if the UK were hit, it could result in the total collapse of the country's ability to access the internet.
"There are particular hackers who run international attacks – it’s like a civil war on the internet," he told PCR. "Governments still don’t have strong data, but I would not be surprised if some attacks were managed by governments – it’s logical. I’m 90 per cent sure they do it. Now the situation is very dangerous. The global economy depends on the internet. If we had some serious trouble with the internet infrastructure, if the internet were to be switched off, you’d forget about the financial crisis and global warming.
“In 2003 or 2004 there was an epidemic of an internet worm and South Korea was disconnected from the internet. Three years ago Estonia was disconnected because of a targeted attack. Last year there was a ten million computer strong botnet discovered. I called it the world’s largest army. What is it possible to do with ten million computers managed from the same source? Is it possible to stop the UK, to collapse its internet systems? Yes. But fortunately, these guys were just cyber criminals."
Kaspersky has been a strong advocate of boosting international defenses against these sorts of catastrophic attacks he warns of, a position which is being taken more seriously by the UK government.
"We rely on this digital world but we can’t control it; we don’t have to power to make sure everything is ok," he said. "And we depend on these networks like we depend upon electricity. We will see more and more of [the attacks]. Last year I had a very good meeting with a couple of peers from the House of Lords. Now they are taking it seriously.”
To read PCR's full interview with Eugene Kaspersky, click here.