The progress of science and technology has always had a dark side to it. Kaspersky Lab’s security solutions have always given our customers — both individual consumers and large corporations — the ability to have full confidence in their computers, to trust them completely, at every stage of cyber threat evolution.
The Securing Smart Cities project was rolled out to identify the weaknesses of urban infrastructure and come up with recommendations for city managers
The past two decades have seen a rapid rise in cybercrime, ever since personal computers became a mass-market commodity. Over time, messing with other people’s data has become more sophisticated technologically and has taken on different, more sinister aspects. It started out as a game and a means of rebellion, but by the middle of this decade, online malicious activity had become a multi-billion dollar industry. So how did this happen?
Back in 1995, only about 1% of the global population — around 44 million people — had access to the Internet, which was infested with around 4,500 computer viruses («virus» was a blanket term for all kinds of malware back in the 1990s). In the same year, Microsoft released its first web browser, Internet Explorer 1.0, an application for viewing web pages. Hackers went to work right away looking for (and finding) vulnerabilities — errors in the way software runs that can put the user in the harm’s way. Very soon, hackers had discovered and exploited the vulnerabilities of all the main user applications offered by Microsoft, which dominated the market: MS Office Word, Excel, Access and PowerPoint.
While early Internet users who first connected to the net in the 1990s were mostly tech-savvy, an army of newbies, the eponymous «dummies» of the famous book series, discovered the Internet in the 2000s. For this category of users, a personal computer was nothing more than an appliance, an office tool or an entertainment system. More than 300 million people surf the Internet, most of whom are unaware of even basic security rules. Gullible users get caught even by very basic ruses. Millions of people run viruses they receive with email attachments in emails with subject lines like «ILoveYou» or «Anna Kournikova», causing viruses to spread. Overloaded email servers crash, causing losses of tens of billions of dollars. However, the only thing cybercriminals get out of this is bad guy Brownie points, the satisfaction of hurting someone, because they can. There is no financial gain in it.
Mobile phones are no longer just phones, becoming mobile computers. Software developers create special operating systems tailored for this purpose. Criminally minded coders respond with mobile worms, self-propagating viruses. The first one of them — Cabir — was written in 2004 for the Nokia Series 60 phones (it displayed the word «Caribe» on the screen of an infected cellphone). From that point on, the number of new mobile worms has grown exponentially, swamping the industry like an avalanche. Kaspersky Lab discovered nearly 200,000 samples of malicious code between 2004 and 2013. In 2014 alone, the company identified 295,539 new pieces of mobile phone malware. In 2015, the number went up to 884,774.
A piece of computer software causes physical damage to facilities for the first time. The Stuxnet worm was developed specifically to sabotage the uranium enrichment process at nuclear facilities. More than 17% of all industrial systems have been targeted by advanced persistent threats (or targeted attacks) to date, according to Kaspersky Lab, and the number is growing every year.
Heartbleed, a security bug in data encryption software, created a threat of leaking user data (logins, passwords, and credit card information) for 500,000 business websites. A loophole known as ShellShock enabled cybercriminals to install malware to compromised systems running on Linux, Unix, Apple OS X, and Android.
As many as 58% business computers countered one or more malware attacks in 2015. A small family business stands to lose, on average , about 40,000 USD from a successful attack, while a corporation can lose, on average , more than 500,000 USD. Corporate networks leak millions of dollars and Gigabytes of confidential data: intellectual property, trade secrets, and more.
In 1Q 2016 alone, about twice as many users had their data encrypted for ransom as in the whole of 2015. Nine new types of ransomware appeared in January — March 2016 (user data is generally locked by encryption), nearly as many as in the preceding 12 months. Ransomware caused losses of 209 million USD in 1Q 2016 alone — that was the amount corporations paid to retrieve their encrypted data, according to the FBI. Ransomware brings its owners as much as 1 billion USD annually.
As many as 3.5 billion people use the Internet on a regular basis around the world.
Cybercriminals commit around 3 million attacks every day.
Online malicious and criminal activities are currently causing losses approaching 1 trillion USD annually.