When it comes to the internet, countries are constantly attacking each other, and cybercriminals are in every single nation. That’s according to Eugene Kaspersky, the Russian founder and CEO of IT security company Kaspersky Lab.
Speaking to Moscow daily Kommersant on Tuesday, Kaspersky explained that not everything should be blamed on ‘Russian hackers’, but they are some of the most skillful cybercriminals.
“In fact, everyone is attacking everyone,” he said. “The main victims, of course, are developed countries because there is more to steal. But there are cybercriminals everywhere – some places have more, some have less.”
In particular, Kaspersky noted that there are very few American hackers because of the competence of the FBI. However, other countries, such as China and Russia, have a very developed cybercrime industry.
“The attacks have a national specialization. For example, Chinese-speaking cybercriminals specialize in botnets,” he explained. “In Latin America, the Spanish-Portuguese-speaking scammers are mostly into finance, credit card and account fraud. And cryptojacking is the specialty of Russian-speaking criminal groups.”
Cryptojacking is the term for using software to infect computer systems and steal power to make money by mining cryptocurrencies, usually without users’ knowledge.
“When it comes to the level of complexity and sophistication of attacks, Russian-speaking hackers come first,” he continued, noting that the country’s technical education generates a lot of talented and competent engineers, who often become some of the world’s best programmers.
“That is why we have an office in Moscow,” he said. “You won’t find that many competent engineers anywhere else. You can still find them in Israel and Silicon Valley, but the cost is different.”
Last month, US President Joe Biden accused Russian hackers of targeting the Colonial Pipeline oil transport system in the country’s southeast and taking the network down for almost a week. It was eventually restarted when CEO Joseph Blount decided to pay a $4.4 million ransom to the cybercriminals. While the hackers were said by US authorities to be located in Russia, Biden revealed that there was no evidence of Kremlin involvement.
However, in 2020, a major attack on America’s federal administration was pinned directly on the Russian government. In what has been dubbed the ‘SolarWinds Attack’, cybercriminals targeted many parts of the US government by exploiting bugs in various computer programs to steal mass amounts of data, including emails and other documents. The US has imposed sanctions on Moscow over the hacking.
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