Kaspersky Lab Names World's Top Security Threats

Dennis Faas's picture

Russian security firm Kaspersky Lab has released a list of the top security threats facing the world right now. Leading the pack: ransomware like 'CryptoLocker' and cyber espionage, like the work carried out by the United States' National Security Agency (NSA).

Kaspersky says the past year has seen a number of cyber espionage tools used on the web. Some, like "Red October", "NetTraveler", and "MiniDuke", are sophisticated tools designed to help professional spies and advanced hackers infiltrate government agencies.

MiniDuke was used to steal sensitive data from dozens of organizations and agencies in 23 different countries. (Source: pctechmag.com)

"Everybody is in the Same Boat": Kaspersky

But it wasn't just government agencies that hackers targeted using these tools. Oil and gas companies, research firms, military contractors, even activists lost critical data.

"This year showed that everybody is in the same boat," noted Kaspersky Lab executive Costin Raiu. "Any organization or person can become a victim. Not all attacks involve high profile targets, or those involved in critical infrastructure."

Raiu said that in some cases lower-value targets were used "as a stepping-stone" to reach higher-value targets. (Source: forbes.com)

CryptoLocker Copycats May Not Play Fair

Another major threat identified by Kaspersky: Ransomware. This kind of threat has been in the news a lot lately because of 'CryptoLocker,' a form of attack that blocks off a legitimate user's access to their files.

In this case users are told they must pay a ransom -- usually a few hundred dollars in bitcoins -- in order to retrieve their files.

Kaspersky experts, like many other security researchers, expressed surprise that those behind CryptoLocker have been willing to return access to files once a ransom is paid.

However, they warn that there could soon be copycats who aren't quite so fair.

The dominant theme running throughout Kaspersky's report: the loss of privacy. Looking forward to 2014, Raiu says "Privacy will be a hot subject, with its ups and downs."

That could lead to increased awareness of and interest in encryption, which Raiu says "will be back in fashion". Raiu says that could mean the emergence of "countless new services ... claiming to keep you safe from prying eyes." (Source: forbes.com)

Rate this article: 
Average: 2 (1 vote)