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Eugene Kaspersky: Ukraine conflict hurts enterprise security

With governments occupied, criminals could capitalize

Eugene Kaspersky in Sydney

As governments around the world continue to wrangle for a peaceful solution to the political tensions in the Ukraine, cybercriminals could catch governments off guard with online attacks, warns Kaspersky Lab CEO Eugene Kaspersky.

Speaking at a summit in San Francisco, the Kaspersky Lab cofounder and namesake expressed concern that governments are shifting attention away from potential threats posed by criminals in order to focus on civil unrest and armed conflict.

"It is good news for the local IT projects, but the international projects will have less budgeted," Kaspersky said.

"When the governments don't talk to each other and cooperate, that damages traditional industry and economies, but also cyberspace."

The security icon also noted that such conflicts can cause governments to become more insular and enact stricter controls on web access and IT infrastructure, again helping to weaken the collective defenses against potential attacks.

As for the unrest in the Ukraine Kaspersky said that the company, whose presence in the region includes an office in Kiev, has for the most part seen cyberattacks in the region as the work of small hactivist groups rather than full-scale cyberwarfare waged directly by government organizations.

"Some or most of it looks like hacktivists, it is not the governments fighting each other. They are not high profile," Kaspersky told reporters.

"Of course there are attacks that look like espionage, but we don't have any proof that the governments are behind it."

Kaspersky himself, meanwhile, is declining to take sides or advocate a position on the conflict one way or the other, an understandable position for the Russian-born CEO to take. ®

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