Disastrous cyber-war attacks that could be life threatening are not far off if the government and businesses do not take action soon, security experts warned Wednesday at the Kaspersky Cyber-Security Summit in New York City.
"It's not the question of if a major cyber warfare attack will happen — it's an issue of when and how bad it will be," said Eugene Kaspersky, founder and CEO of the security firm Kaspersky Lab, at the event.
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"Some enterprises are facing thousands of attacks a day, while others wonder if they are going to be hacked or not. This will occur across all industries and infrastructures, and we have to think and accept that as a reality. We live in a dangerous world."
Because cyber weapons are much cheaper than traditional weapons, terrorists and criminals are adopting cyber arms at an alarming rate. These cyber weapons can be used to attack critical infrastructure like power plants, financial institutions, and transportation systems.
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One source of entry for potential cyber threats on corporations stems from employees using their own devices to access company information, or as those in the industry call it BYOD.
Employees increasingly wanting to access work data from their own devices can cause security issues for the company if the company's information is not properly protected, said Lawrence Oran's, a Gartner research director.
Education is a key part of keeping systems safe from cyber attacks, said Howard Schmidt, former cyber-security coordinator of the Obama Administration, at the event.
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"Business schools today need to be teaching this to the future CEOs," Schmidt said.
Kaspersky, a Russian-based antivirus vendor, is also taking advantage of increasing cyber threats against businesses.
The company launched an endpoint security system for the enterprise market on Wednesday to help businesses ward off possible attacks.
The firm has historically targeted the consumer market, but Kaspersky — whose company slogan is "Here to save the world" — sees an opportunity to expand into the business sphere, Kaspersky said.
"First, we made the world's best antivirus virus engine, second we made world's best consumer product, now we have world's best enterprise product," Kaspersky said.
Despite the firm's plans to expand its market though, Kaspersky said they have no plans for an IPO.
"I think for an IT security company we are in an aggressive time of a faster changing threat landscape. We must stay private because we must be as flexible, as free to make decisions, in decision making, as possible," he said. "To be a public company...it is more bureaucratic...it is not possible to make serious decisions quick enough."
Being private enables its security experts to keep pace with the enemy, Kaspersky said.
"We must fight at the speed of the Internet," he said.
"Cyber threats are mostly made by private companies, and the government," he added half-jokingly.