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Cyber-arms race escalating, says FireEye

Security trends evolving quickly from petty crime and financially motivated attacks.

Cyber-arms race escalating, says FireEye
Aziz: Cyber-warfare is one of the most profound risks of the 21st century

As nation states increase their involvement in cyber-espionage and cyber-warfare, the beginnings of a cyber-arms race are starting to take shape, according to Ashar Aziz founder and CTO of security vendor FireEye.

Security trends evolved quickly from petty crime to large-scale financially motivated attacks over the last few years, and have since taken the next logical step towards nation state espionage, Aziz told ITP.net. He added that, as the number of conflicts around the world increases, FireEye was seeing an increase in the damage being done by cyber-espionage.

"And as long as you see the conflicts increasing, which unfortunately they appear to be, you will see the use of cyber-weaponry in the context of these conflicts," he said.

"Every modern-day conflict will have a cyber-dimension to it, whether it's North Korea and South Korea, whether it's Middle Eastern conflicts, or whether it's conflicts between the Syrians and the western world."

The fact that it is now easier than ever for governments to get their hands on the sophisticated tools needed to wage cyber-warfare has made the situation worse, Aziz said. And the willingness of governments to use these tools could have dire consequences for any business operating within a country that might be targeted.

"I've gone on record multiple times to say that I view this as one of the most profound risks of the 21st century," he explained.

"The 21st century is uniquely dependent upon a digital infrastructure and cyber-risk is such an important element of that, even for non-cyber-uses such as power, water and communication - you can be affected by any disruption of the digital infrastructure."

Aziz advised anyone hoping to avoid disruption to educate themselves about the threat landscape, and about the next-generation security solutions that protect against advanced persistent threats.

"Knowledge is your first line of defence when you are up against an unknown enemy. Know more about the enemy, know more about their attack structures," he said.

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