Tuesday

6th Dec 2022

Russian anti-virus guru predicts future passports for internet access

A global internet police force, digital passports in order for users to go online, cyber crime as an 'integrated part' of virtual reality - this is how Russian anti-virus expert Eugene Kaspersky sees the future of the online world.

"It is not possible to eliminate cyber crime just as you can't eliminate football hooliganism without forbidding football or forbidding humans," the 45-year old CEO of Kaspersky Labs, which produces anti-virus software, said Tuesday (14 June) at a cyber security conference organised by the Business Software Alliance, a Brussels-based lobby group.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Russian anti-virus expert Eugene Kaspersky wants to see an 'internet police' go into action (Photo: BSA)

A contested product in the cyber security world, anti-viruses detect only known and rather simplistic bugs, but are incapable of preventing targeted attacks or sophisticated infiltration schemes.

Kaspersky admitted that his programme cannot offer complete security for internet users, but maintains that many of the people behind a computer screen - even highly trained ones - can often become victims of very simple malware.

Trained in the late 1980s at an institute for computer science and cryptography, which was co-sponsored by the Russian ministry of defence and the sceret srevices, the then KGB, Kaspersky likes to provoke his audience with jokes and ironic comments about the state of cyber crime around the world.

"The last five years have been a 'golden age' for cyber criminals. They have expensive cars and highly valued property - at least those who have been caught and that we know of," he said, noting that the talent of Russian hackers gives them the upper hand in exploiting vulnerabilities of mostly Western-designed software.

"They don't see it as a crime. I often read their blogs and they say they only target people outside the country, which means that the profits are some sort of an 'investment' in the local economy," he said.

Asked how he assesses the Russian government's attitude towards cyber crime, Kaspersky said: "The Russian government has oil and gas. They're not after cyber crime. And judges still don't understand the cyber world, which makes cyber police very frustrated when they see someone whom they put a lot of effort in catching walk away with three years on probation."

He claims that his vision - global policing, uniform laws and online passports which can be revoked for abusive users - will one day become reality, since "crime is integrated in the cyber world just as much as it is in the real one."

His view of crime and of police dominating the internet is rather simplistic, experts say however.

"There is no doubt that internet security has to be based on international co-operation of law enforcement. But I would be very cautious when asking for a passport to access the internet. Increasing identification brushes against privacy, a fundamental principle in the EU," said Chris Gow, a privacy policy officer with Cisco Systems, a US giant in computer technology.

Jesus Villasante from the EU commission, also present at the conference, replied that while Kaspersky is focusing on cyber crime only, "we are just at the very beginning and have no idea how technology will evolve in 20-50 years."

"Twenty years ago there were no mobile phones. So technology will drive changes," he added.

On the passport issue, Villasante noted that while traditional IDs contain the name and birth date of a person, digital passes already exist when it comes to someone access to a bank account or to a secure communication line.

"My identity on the internet will not be so much about name and address, but rather about what I do, what services I use, whom I talk to, what books I read. And legislation will have to reflect this," he said.

Phone spying scandal exposes 'impotent' Europe, says lead MEP

Democracy in Europe is being undermined by alleged government-led spyware on citizens, journalists and politicians, says Dutch liberal MEP Sophie In't Veld, who is lead report writer for a European Parliament probe into the abuse.

Cyber-risk from Internet of Things prompts new EU rules

With evermore connected devices on the market, new EU rules aim to minimise cybersecurity risks from innocuous household appliances and industrial operating systems — amid concern over the increasing number of cyberattacks and their cost for companies.

EU parliament spyware inquiry eyes Italian firms

An investigation by Lighthouse Reports and media partners including EUobserver found Italian firms Tykelab and RCS Lab were using surreptitious phone network attacks and sophisticated spyware against targets. The findings have spiked the interest of MEPs already probing spyware abuse.

Investigation

NSO surveillance rival operating in EU

As European Parliament hearings into hacking scandals resume this week, an investigation led by Lighthouse Reports with EUobserver, Der Spiegel, Domani and Irpimedia reveals the unreported scale of operations at a shady European surveillance outfit.

Opinion

Serbia now has no choice but to join EU sanctions on Russia

Vladimir Putin himself is somewhat suspicious of Serbia's leader, as are most who deal with the opaque Aleksandar Vucic. The Russian president has preferred to keep his Serbian counterpart compliant, via a tight rein of annually-reviewed gas pricing.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  3. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  4. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  5. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos

Latest News

  1. EU countries struggle to crack Hungary's vetos
  2. Frontex expanding migrant route-busting mission in Balkans
  3. EU ministers in fresh battle on joint debt, after Biden subsidies
  4. EU: 'We'll see' if Moscow actually stops selling oil over price-cap
  5. Bad Karma
  6. Serbia now has no choice but to join EU sanctions on Russia
  7. Hungary's funds showdown in focus This WEEK
  8. EU must break Orbán's veto on a tax rate for multinationals

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Committee of the RegionsRe-Watch EURegions Week 2022
  2. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  4. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  6. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us