Kaspersky Lab's look ahead: The cyber war of 2013
ICT security specialist shares its view of the cyber landscape for the year ahead
Kaspersky Lab has spent much of 2012 telling us that a cyber war is raging, and escalating, all around us.
In particular it has reminded us that the hitherto unthinkable scenario of real-world influence of cyber attacks on critical infrastructure has recently come to pass with the advent of the Stuxnet worm.
In mid October, during the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Telecom World 2012, conference, which was hosted in Dubai in parallel with GITEX Technology Week, CEO Eugene Kaspersky wrote in his blog of a planned operating system that would secure critical systems.
Since then the ICT security company has continued to share research addressing concerns such as the lack of belief in the cyber threat at C-level and the greater share in spam volume by cyber criminals.
As a particularly eventful year in the IT security sector draws to a close and security firms look forward to industry analysts' predictions of a profitable 2013, Kaspersky shares its view of the coming year and the shape it expects the cyber war to take.
"In our previous reports we categorised 2011 as the year of explosive growth of new cyber threats," said Costin Raiu, director of global research and analysis, Kaspersky Lab.
"The most notable incidents of 2012 have been revealing and shaping the future of cyber security. We expect the next year to be packed with high-profile attacks on consumers, businesses and governments alike, and to see the first signs of notable attacks against the critical industrial infrastructure. The most notable trends of 2013 will be new example of cyber warfare operations, increasing targeted attacks on businesses and new, sophisticated mobile threats."
Targeted attacks on businesses have only become a prevalent threat within the past two years. Kaspersky Lab expects the amount of targeted attacks, with the purpose of cyber-espionage, to continue in 2013 and beyond, becoming the most significant threat for businesses. Another trend that will likely impact companies and governments is the continued rise of "hacktivism" and its concomitant politically-motivated cyber-attacks.
State-sponsored cyber warfare will undoubtedly continue in 2013. In fact, during 2012, Kaspersky Lab discovered three new major malicious programs that were used in cyber warfare operations: Flame, Gauss and miniFlame. While Flame was the largest and most sophisticated of the cyber-espionage programs, its longevity was its most prominent characteristic. Being at least a five-year-old project, Flame was an example of a complex malicious program that could exist undetected for an extended amount of time while collecting massive amounts of data from its victims. Kaspersky Lab's experts expect more countries to develop their own cyber programs for the purposes of cyber-espionage and cyber-sabotage. These attacks will affect not only government institutions, but also businesses and critical infrastructure facilities.