IT security expert warns cybercrime to continue to grow

Low chance of getting apprehended makes cybercrime attractive

Who says crime doesn’t pay? A leading international IT security expert has warned that cybercrime will continue to flourish because the chances of getting caught are so low.

Natalya Kaspersky, chief executive of InfoWatch and formerly co-founder and CEO of anti-virus security software firm Kaspersky Lab, also said politicians should start looking beyond Russia as the source of high-profile cybercrime attacks.

Ms Kaspersky is one of the most influential figures in the Russian IT industry, and also one of the wealthiest with an estimated net worth of between $40 million and $50 million.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Ms Kaspersky said the ease with which criminals could obtain money, combined with the low chance of being apprehended, made it increasingly attractive.


“Cybercrime remains an easy way to get money. Criminals are very interested in it because there is a 90 per cent probability that they will not get caught. That’s very good motivation.”

Ms Kaspersky's comments come as the EU's law enforcement agency Europol last year warned of a "relentless growth" in cybercrime acts. It said in a report issued in September that cybercrime was growing at an unprecedented rate, with some EU states reporting that such criminal acts may have surpassed more traditional crimes,

Weak spot

Ms Kaspersky said the recent Wannacry attack had shown how humans remain the weak spot when it comes to IT security, and warned that the threats coming from attacks using Internet of Things (IoT) devices could outweigh the type of attacks seen to date.

She said the Mirai botnet attack, which took down Twitter, Amazon, Spotify and Netflix last October, was the shape of things to come. "There are a massive amount of IoT devices that are open and could be potentially used by someone."

Ms Kaspersky, who was the Russian finalist at this year’s EY World Entrepreneur of the Year awards, also said that rather than seeking to blame Russia for cybercrime attacks, such as interference in the last US elections, it would be better if politicians reached out to Russian IT professionals to work together against common threats.


“I think the impact of Russia is exaggerated. I cannot judge how much the country is involved in these incidents because there is no real way to uncover who it behind the attacks unless they leave traces. It would seem to me though that if these hackers are so clever that they can carry out all these attack successfully then it is odd that they would be so stupid as to not cover their tracks.

“It is very easy to change things so that you can point the finger at someone else but in the end it is irrelevant. While we may have political differences we should be looking to work together on things that we have in common, such as fighting terrorists, financial fraud and drug distributors,” Ms Kaspersky said.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist