Asian countries at risk from ‘Balkanisation’ in cyber space: Kaspersky

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Siem Reap (Cambodia), Sep 20 : India as well as other Asian countries are vulnerable to the risk of cyber threats from “Balkanisation” in cyber space, warned Russia-based global cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab on Thursday.

Presenting key cybersecurity issues, Kaspersky’s top researchers and executives made the possible threat announcement to an audience of journalists from 11 countries across the region at the firm’s 4th Asia Pacific (APAC) cybersecurity annual summit.

The threat is “due to fragmentation of the world wide web”, they said at the four-day event, with the theme of “Balkanisation”.

Stressing the need to be more cautious about the threat, they said the “security should not be in isolation” and highlighted the possible perils of de-globalisation of the Internet.

Emphasising that “Balkanisation” and the advent of protectionism being displayed by nations around the world, they said it will “benefit no one but the cybercriminals”.

Echoing the warning of Kaspersky’s CEO and founder Eugene Kaspersky, Managing Director of the firm’s APAC region Stephan Neumeier said: “We can clearly see that the utopia of a borderless digital global village is coming to an end.

“With different countries building their local web fences, the initially free Internet is turning into divided and independent patches of online states, which may benefit individual countries to some extent, but will surely be an ace card for criminals aiming to unleash worldwide cyberthreats.”

Demystifying the future of the Internet based on his 13 years’ experience in analyzing malware and the current laws and trends that transform the cyber security landscape around the world, Kaspersky’s Director of GReAT in APAC, Vitaly Kamluk said the “volume of new malware we detect daily has been increasing year-on-year in number, in sophistication, and in reach”.

“The future of the Internet is fragile and, as nations scramble to beef up their defences, we’re giving birth to ‘Balkanisation’.

“However, fragmentation is not the armor we need to face the menace of the Internet of tomorrow. Remember, a divided world is easier to conquer. We need cooperation, collaboration, and mutual trust to effectively thwart these cybercriminals who acknowledge neither geopolitics nor borders,” warned Kamluk.

He said that the Kaspersky’s CEO noted in an article how countries like Brazil and Germany are considering, or may have already kicked off their independent sectors of the Internet which involve building parallel networks, isolated from the Internet, for highly confidential communication exchanges.

Aside from this, Kaspersky’s researchers said, several countries are also crafting policies requiring global tech giants like Google and Facebook to shift their data centres to local locations to curb foreign spying and overseas data intrusions.

In addition to the important debate on the future of the Internet, Kaspersky’s Korea-based senior security researcher, Seongsu Park, explained the sophisticated and infamous online adversary of APAC countries: the Lazarus group.

Park zeroed in on the operations of this notorious, Korean-speaking advanced persistent threat (APT) which has launched fake supply chain attacks in delivering malware to Windows and even “MacOS devices”.

Suguru Ishimaru, security researcher in Kaspersky Global Research and Analysis Team, shared how the methods were used to analyse Android malware and said the recent activities of the mobile malware dubbed as “Roaming Mantis”, a money-motivated attacker, was able to successfully infect Android smartphones in South Korea, Bangladesh, and Japan through DNS hijacking earlier this year.

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