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Kaspersky founder “afraid” of imminent cyberterrorism threat

A major cyberterrorism attack could be imminent after one of the world’s top voices on cyber security spokes of his fear that an attack could bring down power stations or transport systems.

Related: The reality of cyber-war hits home: Israeli road system taken down by Trojan

Eugene Kaspersky, founder of the company that bears his name, told The Guardian that watching the film Die Hard 4.0, which chronicles a wide spread cyber attack, brought it to the fore and meant that the cat was out of the bag regarding attacks of that nature.

“We came to ideas on these type of attacks years before it happened, and well before Stuxnet we were talking about attacks on critical infrastructure to governments,” explained Kaspersky. “The next day after seeing Die Hard 4, I came to the office and said ‘guys, now we’re free to talk about cyberterrorism to anyone’.”

Kaspersky admitted that a remote attack on critical infrastructure such as power stations and transportation systems is already something that could be carried out and he and his researchers have been discussing it for some time.

“I’m really afraid of terrorist attacks. I don’t know when or where, but I’m afraid it is going to happen,” Kaspersky stated.

The three levels of attack that Kaspersky thinks could be deployed to maximum effect against a country are either a distributed denial of service attack, an attack on critical data, or damage to a country’s infrastructure.

Stuxnet remains the one time that a cyber weapon has been successfully deployed to malicious ends when it caused real damage to Iranian nuclear facilities and grew from humble beginnings back in 2009, according to Kaspersky.

“I’m afraid that Stuxnet and all these cyber weapons are a very bad innovation,” Kaspersky said. “They can be easily copy-pasted; it’s easy to employ engineers, easy to develop very similar weapons, and there could be some very, very bad guys somewhere in mountains who have zero clue about the technology they have, but they can pay and employ people to create it.”

The solution: “Governments have to be advocates and sponsors for the industrial sector, for transportation, for everything, to enable enterprise to upgrade their computer systems to the most safe platforms. Unfortunately that’s very complicated and very expensive, because they need to redesign all the software."

Related: “How to protect from a Stuxnet attack? Simple.” Eugene Kaspersky speaks at CeBIT 2014

Until that happens Kaspersky will continue to be worried about the threat posed by cyberterrorism and the very real possibility that an attack could cause widespread disruption and destruction.